Why should you not work garden soil when it is wet?

I've always heard that I shouldn't work my garden soil when it's wet. Why not?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Avoid working or walking on garden soils when they are wet because you'll contribute to compaction. Digging in or walking on wet soil destroys the soil structure, squeezing out some of the air spaces, or pores. When the soil is dry, the air spaces provide cushioning that allows the structure to spring back into place afterward. But if you've ever stepped in mud up to your ankles, you have a feel for just how different soil is when it is saturated. If you must walk on wet ground, distribute the force of your step over a large area by walking on a sheet of plywood or a heavily mulched area to reduce compaction. Stay on permanent pathways to keep the compaction confined to the walkway.


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