Maintaining Proper Drainage In The Garden

When the spring weather comes rolling in, you expect to see beautiful flowers and sprouts for some of your veggies鈥 but there鈥檚 nothing. Chances are good that if your plants fail to thrive it has something to do with the drainage in your garden.


Too much water is just as bad as too little water. If you don鈥檛 properly maintain the drainage system in your garden your seeds could wash away or drown. In addition, improper maintenance of your garden can cause damage to the rest of your yard. In fact, soil swelling occurs when your drainage falls into disrepair.

In order to properly maintain the drainage in your garden consider adding a rain garden to accommodate for extra water. You may also want to consider thinning your soil to help accommodate for extra water.


A few other things to keep in mind:

Location, Location, Location:

Before you plant your garden, choose a spot that isn’t likely to flood or hold onto water. Make sure you observe your yard after a heavy rain or two before planting. You鈥檒l be able to get a lay of the land and identify areas that are prone to flooding or absorbing a lot of water.

If you don鈥檛 want to wait for a rainy day, dig a 1-foot deep hole and fill it with water. Let the water completely drain out of the hole and immediately refill the pit. Measure how deep it is using a ruler, wait 15 minutes and measure again. Take the loss (example: it drained a half inch in fifteen minutes) and multiply that number by 4 to see how much drains in an hour. If the total is less than 1 inch per hour, it鈥檚 likely that that section of land will hold too much water for your plant. If the number is more than 6 inches in an hour, the soil may not hold enough water to keep your plants alive.


Look at the dirt:

Dig up a bit of dirt and take a look at what it looks like. The color can tell you a lot about what types of plants will work and which ones may not get enough drainage. Dark soil is great for nearly any plant. The dark color indicates a high level of organic matter. Brown/red soil usually has enough air and water for most plants. Blue-green or grey dirt probably has too much water content to be healthy for most plants. Yellow soil means that it unevenly drain and streaking means that there are seasonal draining problems.


Check every season:

Once you’ve planted your garden, make sure to check the drainage frequently to ensure that your plants remain healthy. You鈥檒l also be able to fix problems faster and reduce damage if you pay close attention to how your plants are draining.

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