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Does snow and ice compact the soil? Toplef10Does snow and ice compact the soil? 1zd3ho10

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Does snow and ice compact the soil? I22gcj10Does snow and ice compact the soil? 14dhcg10

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Does snow and ice compact the soil?

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Does snow and ice compact the soil? Empty Does snow and ice compact the soil?

Post  Sunsanvil on 5/7/2019, 11:20 am

I know we talk about how SFGs dont need tilling because we never walk on the soil and it never compresses. But does that hold true for those of us whose gardens get 4 feet of snow and ice piled on them in the winter?

I've always fluffed mine up with a hoe at the start of each season. Anyone else have a take on it?
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Does snow and ice compact the soil? Empty Re: Does snow and ice compact the soil?

Post  OhioGardener on 5/7/2019, 11:53 am

Such a loaded question, Sunsanvi!  LOL

Seriously, though, it largely depends on how the garden beds are prepared for winter. If the soil is left bare, some compaction will take place and the top couple inches need to be loosened before planting.  But, if the soil had a cover crop or a heavy mulch cover over the winter, compaction will be minimized.  With cover crops, such as Winter Rye, the roots keep the soil loosened by their continued growth. Heavy mulch will spread the weight of the snow over a greater area and keep the soil from bearing the full impact. But, regardless of how it is left over the winter, if the soil has a active Soil Food Web (lots of microbial activity), they will continue "cultivating" the soil for us. "Fluffing it with a hoe" or shovel destroys a lot of that microbial activity, especially the fungi, so I don't do it unless absolutely necessary.

As for my gardens, I plant cover crops in the fall and let it grow all winter long. In spring I cut off the cover crop at the soil level and leave the cut off plants as mulch on the soil. After a couple weeks of allowing the mulch to dry, I plant among the mulch for this year's garden. I even did this during the few years I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, and never had to till the garden.

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Post  Turan on 5/7/2019, 2:17 pm

No. Generally the opposite happens.  Freezing water expands, loosening the surrounding soil. Think of the phenomena of frost heaves pushing up a road bed.

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Post  trolleydriver on 5/7/2019, 5:02 pm

@Turan wrote:No. Generally the opposite happens.  Freezing water expands, loosening the surrounding soil. Think of the phenomena of frost heaves pushing up a road bed.
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Post  sanderson on 5/12/2019, 2:14 pm

Good answers.

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