Q: I have a garden bed that repels water. What can I do? A: First check to see if the surface has become compacted which often happens if it is walked on or if large water drops hit the surface regularly, and sometimes just as the bed ages. In this case, just dig down with something like a hand fork and gently loosen the top few inches. Try not to mix up the soil as that can mess up the habitat for beneficial microorganisms. If the soil dried out at some point so much that it is repelling water molecules, you can try loosening the soil a bit and then wetting the surface gently just to the point of runoff, waiting a few hours, and repeating this several times. If there are a lot of small, dry, broken down leaves or stems covering the ground, they may be repelling the water before it reaches the soil so try removing them from an area and see if that helps. Over time, the fungi that normally break down thick layers of wood mulch can clog the air pockets so you might alternate types of mulch. Compost or other soil amendments can help to add material that attacts water too, and of course you can dig out the bed and replace the soil. Commercial soil surfactants or detergent solutions can have adverse effects so should only be used if nothing else works and then cautiously.