Drip, drip, drip. Our third snow has melted. This coming spring will be a wet one and those of us who remember the last drought appreciate mud. This is a good thing. It means we have moisture deep in the soil and plants will not be stressed coming into the growing season.
The only real downside is that you can’t dig and muck about when it’s wet because you’ll destroy the structure of the soil, smooshing all the air out of the pockets between the particles. It will turn to goop and not recover well. So don’t do it. Resist the urge to tramp around on bare soil especially out in the vegetable garden or to dig planting holes until the soil drys out to a crumbly – not sticky – texture.
While you’re waiting for the winds of March to do their work, you can start clearing all the fallen trees and branches that are littering the landscape. With last summer’s derecho wind storm and the last two heavy snows, there’s more bio-mass on the ground than I remember seeing before. With soil moisture high, many trees just tipped right over and giant saucers of roots dot the hills and roadsides.
Fortunately here in the hollow we don’t have anything as big as our neighbors a few miles away, though we do have a couple of small trees that tipped out and quite a few large trunks and branches on the ground. The walnut, hickory, black cherry and tulip poplar will be good for firewood after it seasons. We’ll use twiggy branches to layer along the steepest sides of the creek where erosion is worst to catch more organic debris to build up the banks over time.
The rest we’ll burn. I expect it’ll be a season of bonfires all through the countryside this year as people try to deal with all this wood!