Planting in the rain?

topic posted Tue, May 16, 2006 - 8:40 AM by  Unsubscribed
It's time for me to start planting my early crops. But it's supposed to rain all week. Is there a danger to me preparing the soil and planting in the rain? (to the plants...obviously the danger to me is getting wet ;-)

Note: I will be planting seeds, not only seedling plants are tomatoes and its not time to put them in the ground yet.


posted by:
  • Unsu...

    Re: Planting in the rain?

    Tue, May 16, 2006 - 9:46 AM
    I had so few days off this spring at all of my planting has been done in the rain! I found it extremely fun to get so muddy and accomplish so much on a day that I would have otherwise spent inside! I planted Brocolli, Beets, Carrots, Spinach, Lemon Balm, Catnip, Eggplants, Melons, Peppers and Tomoatoes. Some of the seeds migrated into clumps and the spinach came up further down the hills. I have been separating the masses when they are strong enough for trauma.
    So far so good - probably 90% successful germanation - with the exception of the melons. Only two out of twenty have broken the surface.
    Good luck and Have fun!
  • Re: Planting in the rain?

    Tue, May 16, 2006 - 11:21 AM
    You tend to get more soil compaction if you are in the garden when it is wet.

    You will also get more of a crust over your seeds if you disturb the soil while it is wet, which can keep some seedlings from being able to break the surface.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Planting in the rain?

      Tue, May 16, 2006 - 1:50 PM
      i also read that is changes the soil structure if it is too wet and you dig, plant, etc....

      but if its the only time you got, i say go for it!!

      • Unsu...

        Re: Planting in the rain?

        Tue, May 16, 2006 - 2:02 PM
        sorry, I'm a new gardener, soil compaction? soil structure?
        are these good or bad things? ;-)
        sorry i'm a bit confused...should I loosen the earth more because its wet?
        thank you very much for the info!!! :-)
        • Unsu...

          Re: Planting in the rain?

          Tue, May 16, 2006 - 2:52 PM
          soil compaction is bad because the roots need air to breath and grow. think of garbage in a trash compactor. originally trash has lots of air, when compacted, no air and about 1/2 the size.

          a good soil structure also allows for good aeration and water retention characteristics and will be resistant to erosion.

          basically, you want pretty loose soil with lots of ammendments (compost, manures, etc) depending on the plants. veggies like mushroom compost for instance, or steer manure.

          blueberries like chicken manure....
          • Unsu...

            Re: Planting in the rain?

            Tue, May 16, 2006 - 2:56 PM
            oh and to answer your question... .if you try to losen your soil when wet, it actually makes it more compact. i know, sounds crazy, but its true.

            i just thought of another thing... when soil is compacted, therefore less air in it, beneficial microbes are killed due to the anaerobic environment (no oxygen)

            soil is too dry if it is loose and will not hold its shape after being squeezed in your hand or you cannot get a shovel in at all (like clay soils)

            it is too wet if it sticks to your shovel when digging.
        • Re: Planting in the rain?

          Wed, May 17, 2006 - 1:32 PM
          Jessica seems to have already answer your questions pretty well.

          By the way, I would add that if you still have to plant in wet soil, do all you can to only step in the same spots again and again. The greatest percentage change occurs in the first times an area is compacted, after that it has less to lose so you are better of keeping the damage to a smaller area.

          A neat trick I sometimes use is to set up my garden so that it has two rows close to each other and then a gap for walking, then two more rows. You plant them so that the plants almost overlap, and it helps keep out weeds too.

          Then you can cut a piece of carpeting or better yet a piece of wood, or even thick cardboard, and lay that down as you work and it will greatly spread out the force and thus reduce the compaction.

          IF you have more material you can cut more pieces and lay them down in rows.

          It works really well if you have a lot of cardboard and can lay down a double or triple layer down the entire lenght of the rows you set aside for walking and the cardboard holds moisture, acts as mulch, and keeps the weeds down while turning slowly into fertilizer and good fiber for soil structure next year. You just till in the old rotten cardboard next spring. The worms love it.

          Be sure to take any tape or staples off of any cardboard you use.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Planting in the rain?

            Wed, May 17, 2006 - 5:15 PM
            Wow thanks James. that really helps.
            I need you on speed dial. Will you be my guru?
            I'm new to gardening and this will be my first full blown vegetable garden (as it where) and I'm a little (a whole lot) nervous.
            I'm trying to set it up according to the guidelines of veganic gardening.
            Thanks for all your help. Everyone!!!
            This is an amazing tribe!!!
            • Unsu...

              Re: Planting in the rain?

              Wed, May 17, 2006 - 5:19 PM
              gardening is all about experimentation, seeing what works and what doesnt. dont be nervous!! we only know this stuff probably because we have made mistakes in the past! :)

              a good book to check out is by john jeavons called 'how to grow more vegetables (than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine)

              i actually did coursework with this book and it is amazing for beginners and advanced gardeners, too!

              good luck!
              and remember to have fun!

            • Re: Planting in the rain?

              Wed, May 17, 2006 - 8:05 PM
              Glad to help, just stuff I picked up from having a lot of farmers in the family.

              Anyway, Jess did a lot of the answering, I just added to it.

              Happy hoe-ing. :-)
              • Re: Planting in the rain?

                Thu, May 18, 2006 - 11:06 PM
                Oh, wow, this is great stuff. Hey, James.
                planting in the rain reminds me of the conditions here last year. In fact, I planted, tended, weeded, composted, fertilized, staked, raked and cried in the rain last year! If I'd have been gardening for only my family, I'd have quit much earlier. As it was, most turned out great, there were far too many weeds for the likes of some of my pickier garden members but all in all-not so bad.
                Soil compaction: this is one of my most difficult messages to get across to people. Some just don't know the where-abouts of their feet. I've seen many a carrot patch shrink because of shoe marks. So, when I read a book (so sorry, bad memory, but it's probably out of print) about wide-row planting, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Most things are planted in a single row, and then and foot or so walking row, then a single row. Like, James, I like to get more bang for my buck. When preparing the soil just before planting, in dry soil, I take the back of my rake (tines toward the sky) and make a foot wide swath, and leveling out the soil at the same time. In wet soil, put the tines down and drag them along the row, making a foot wide swath. Sprinkle the seeds (this works with carrots, beets, lettuce, seed onion, anything that would't mind a bit of crowding-just sprinkle according to package directions for distance apart) and cover with whatever depth of soil they like, with the back of the rake. With wide row, the amount you get out of the same amount of space planted single row is amazing! Plus, they mulch eachother when big enough, and help decrease soil compaction. As you thin, eat! Baby lettuce, spinach, carrots and green onions are all the rage.
                • Re: Planting in the rain?

                  Fri, May 19, 2006 - 8:57 PM
                  Thanks Mag, I appreciate it as always.

                  You are quite right about the wide swath. It works great for certain plants. I would add chive to that list as well by the way, and chive is great for keeping the white moths away that cause the caterpillers so prone to eating up the members of the cabbage family.

                  I like my broccoli intact thank you. I had heads 18 inches across last year using purely organic methods.

                  Anyway, it is really nice how many things like to grow fairly close to others of their some species or companion species that you interplant.

                  I like the latter case too because you don't get so much of a monoculture arrangement and that helps with your pest control problem more.

                  Not usually an issue for small patches but as you get up towards and acre or so it becomes and issue. You probably plant a few acres at least from what you have said before. I am limiting myself to just 3 acres this year.
                • Re: Planting in the rain?

                  Tue, May 17, 2011 - 3:41 PM
                  I don't know about the book, but I saw mention of wide row planting at Makes sense, wonder if this was a precursor to "square-foot-gardening"? Thanks for your information on planting in the rain, too - we're going to have another week of it and the carrots need to sprout!
  • Re: Planting in the rain?

    Fri, August 26, 2011 - 1:29 AM
    Hello everyone, My friends Robert and Terese have a few hundred acres up the river. They have an irigation licence and can irrigate whenever they like. They have observed however that the crops grow better after natural rain which they think might have something to do with the low pressure. I often scatter pasture seed when it is rainy (because it will settle in and possibly take) BUT I don't go near my vege patch because of my clay soil and danger of compaction.(If you have sandy soil gardening in rain should work well.) I have also found that cold rain is bad for plants like peas. Hot weather rain here is never a problem except for flooding. Cheers max