Helping Plants to Need Less Irrigation

Dry though the maritime Northwest summer is, we enter the growing
season with our full depth of soil at field capacity. Except on
clayey soils in extraordinarily frosty, high-elevation locations, we
usually can till and plant before the soil has had a chance to lose
much moisture.
There are a number of things we can do to make soil moisture more
available to our summer vegetables. The most obvious step is
thorough weeding. Next, we can keep the surface fluffed up with a
rotary tiller or hoe during April and May, to break its capillary
connection with deeper soil and accelerate the formation of a dry
dust mulch. Usually, weeding forces us to do this anyway. Also, if
it should rain during summer, we can hoe or rotary till a day or two
later and again help a new dust mulch to develop.

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