The Q&A Archives: Soil Crusting

Question: I am having a problem with soil crusting. This is the second year of my vegetable garden; last year I worked in a lot of compost and had few problems. Earlier this year I worked in some compost (not as much), and I planted my starts a couple weeks back. With the recent dry weather the soil has formed a top crusted layer. In retrospect I probably worked on the soil too early , but now how do I fix the problem without damaging what I've already planted?

Answer: It's possible that you worked the soil when it was too wet, resulting in texture that's hard to keep moist. You can wait until rainfall thoroughly rewets the soil, then add a 2"-3" layer of organic matter over the soil surface. The mulch will keep the sun from completely drying out the top of the soil. An added bonus is that the mulch will suppress weeds and provide nutrients as it decomposes. At the end of the season remove plant debris and work the organic mulch material into the soil. Good luck with your veggie garden!

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