Heavy rains in East Texas result in soaked soils, delay in planting for gardeners

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - According to agriculture experts at Angelina County's Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, the recent heavy rain, combined with the East Texas region's clay layer, could make soil water logged and prevent plant growth.

Virginia Welch, a gardener on her land since the late 60s, said the soil conditions are about the worst they've ever been.

"Haven't started any gardening yet due to the water we've had," Welch said. "I should have already had my potatoes in the ground about maybe a couple of weeks ago."

This might seem like just a momentary issue, but Welch said that this delay will cause bigger problems down the line.

"You know, if we can't get the seed planted and everything done that we need to do right now, our crop is going to come in so much later," Welch said.

Water is obviously needed to grow plants, but, according to agriculture experts, like Cary Sims with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, too much of a good thing can really have a negative effect.

"A big part of the soil should be air," Sims said. "And, when you get as much rain as we've had, sometimes those seeds or potato pieces will just rot."

The red and grey clay soil types, native to parts of East Texas, can also add to the soaking of soil by being too close to the surface.

"It's fine to have clay below, but we want to have a good bit of distance," Sims said. "We want, again, that water to percolate down through."

Experts advised raising up garden beds to lift the plants away from the water.

"We stand in a shower and a lot of water hits us, but it runs right off of us," Sims said. "Compare that to a bath tub, and plants don't want to stand in water."

For Welch, the waiting is hard.

"I love doing this," Welch said. "It's the thing I've always enjoyed doing. But, it is a disappointment."

But, she understood, from past experience, what planting in wet soil produces.

"We were planting our tomatoes and didn't get anything at all," Welch said. "I don't think many people did."

You can also expect a slight delay in watermelon crops since they grow little in poorly drained soil.

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