Garden – What to do when the soil is too wet

Extreme weather conditions have affected many gardens this summer. For many, the problem is drought, but what if it rains?

In some gardens, water is stored on the surface of the ground or left to cool for a few hours after the rain stops. Then the best advice is to move your garden to a better place.

But you really want to keep your garden.

OK, then plant the yellow flag iris, sweet flag, marshmallow, swamp marigold and other plants that love the swampy soil.

But really, they want to grow tomatoes, roses, and marigolds in that sunny spot.

OK, it can be done. But you need to put some air into the air – that is, provide drainage – so that the roots of these plants can breathe.

Work pit

One approach is to drain the water to a lower level. The easiest way is with a well, or if your garden is large, a few holes. Of course, you need a low point where the well can flow.

There is a lot of clay in the soil, and many wells are needed to drain the water.

Drainage should not be large. The backyard is large enough for a garden. As the well sinks, the depth of the well-drained soil will be greater, so dig at least 18 inches deep. At any length of water, about 100 feet[100 m]below sea level, it gradually drains downward.

Pits that cross your garden do not cause eye strain or discomfort. Imagine a garden with flat rocks and a bridge over canals. The whole system can be a beautiful “character” of water.

Although in the latter case the long narrow waterways are used to bring the water to the plants, they do not remove it, the result may be similar to that of the ancient Persian garden.

Pipe dreams

Use a perforated pipe to drain water without changing the appearance of your garden.

Dig a hole as described above, then lay it in a 4 inch diameter black plastic tube. Available in home and construction stores, the hose is easily folded and has a hole for water to enter. To remove dirt and gravel, cover the pipe with a cloth soaked in water, then refill the soil.

Make sure the outlet at the bottom of the pipe is open or in a bed of gravel in the ground.

Like drinking water, the bottom is needed to drain the water.

Raise the roots

Instead of lowering the water level below the roots of your plants, you can raise the air above them so that you can breathe. Trees and shrubs can be planted on raised hills. The roots must be large enough to allow the roots to expand. The size depends on the size of the plant.

For vegetables and flowers, raised beds provide well-ventilated soil. Build wooden or stone slabs for each bed, then a truck in enough soil to fill each bed to a depth of one foot or more. The higher the surface of the bed, the greater the depth of the well-mixed soil.

Stone caves can carry you to ancient Persia on a carpet, the design of high beds, and the materials used for their sides and paths can transport you to medieval Europe. Eat bean pebbles for the roads, especially if the edges are cracked.

Or place the beds with heavy-cut logs and straw or crushed oyster shells on the sidewalks, and instead imagine a horse loading a post outside this colonial American garden.

You don’t have to choose between pools and raised beds to improve soil drainage – why not do both?

In order to elevate them, they can resemble Aztec gardeners in Shokomilicho from their garden beds. Their gardens were actually built in the water, and boats closed the “roads.” Plant many popular marigolds in Xochomilicho to give authenticity to such a garden.

Lee Reich regularly writes for the Associated Press. He authored a number of books, including the “Weed Garden” and the “Trimming Book.” He blogs at It can be reached at

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