Saving a wet corner of my garden



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Hello,
I'm going into the third year with my vegetable garden here in Ithaca, NY, and I've got a serious issue I need to deal with -- one corner of the garden floods.
I started the first year with a plot about 9 feet wide and 18 feet long, and everything went swimmingly. Roto-tilled in peat moss and compost. The next year I extended the plot by about 5 feet (now 14x18), roto-tilled in peat moss and compost. There is a slope to the plot, but it didn't affect the lower end of the original plot. Unfortunately, the new corner floods -- I can get an inch or two of standing water there in the slightly lower pathway (I raised the bed around it). Damned if I didn't plant my favorite heirloom tomatoes in that very corner. Still managed to get a small yield. Spent a lot of last year's rainy summer bailing it out.
This year I want to fix things. I'm planning to redistribute the soil around the garden a little to build up that end, but there's not that much soil I want to move. I'm thinking of other ideas -- but need the solution to be cheap, or free. Here's what I know I have at my disposal:
*My own compost, although there isn't much, or enough, of it *I have heard there is a huge pile of rotting horse manure on one of the Cornell equestrian lots that people available for public taking *Compost is available from the City of Ithaca, what I think is a pile of the brush they clear each year and let decompose. It is also free.
My question is, what is the best way to improve drainage and build up that end of the garden that won't damage the soil by being too rich? If, say, I get compost from the City, should I mix it with peat moss and the existing soil as far down as I can dig? Or is there another way to raise the soil height and improve drainage that I'm not thinking of?
I am not at all interested in a water garden, swamp garden, or backyard bog!
Any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Chris
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<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>Saving a wet corner of my garden</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> <FONT FACE="Arial"><SPAN STYLE='font-size:12.0px'>Hello,<BR> <BR> I'm going into the third year with my vegetable garden here in Ithaca, NY, and I've got a serious issue I need to deal with -- one corner of the garden floods.<BR> <BR> I started the first year with a plot about 9 feet wide and 18 feet long, and everything went swimmingly. Roto-tilled in peat moss and compost. The next year I extended the plot by about 5 feet (now 14x18), roto-tilled in peat moss and compost. There is a slope to the plot, but it didn't affect the lower end of the original plot. Unfortunately, the new corner floods -- I can get an inch or two of standing water there in the slightly lower pathway (I raised the bed around it). Damned if I didn't plant my favorite heirloom tomatoes in that very corner. Still managed to get a small yield. Spent a lot of last year's rainy summer bailing it out.<BR> <BR> This year I want to fix things. I'm planning to redistribute the soil around the garden a little to build up that end, but there's not that much soil I want to move. I'm thinking of other ideas -- but need the solution to be cheap, or free. Here's what I know I have at my disposal:<BR> <BR> *My own compost, although there isn't much, or enough, of it<BR> *I have heard there is a huge pile of rotting horse manure on one of the Cornell equestrian lots that people available for public taking<BR> *Compost is available from the City of Ithaca, what I think is a pile of the brush they clear each year and let decompose. It is also free.<BR> <BR> My question is, what is the best way to improve drainage and build up that end of the garden that won't damage the soil by being too rich? If, say, I get compost from the City, should I mix it with peat moss and the existing soil as far down as I can dig? Or is there another way to raise the soil height and improve drainage that I'm not thinking of?<BR> <BR> I am not at all interested in a water garden, swamp garden, or backyard bog!<BR> <BR> Any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated!<BR> <BR> Chris</SPAN></FONT> </BODY> </HTML>
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Any chance for a small ditch ?
Bill
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can you buy a load of loam?
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On 3/27/07 11:44 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com, "beecrofter"

This'll sound like a dumb question, but where does one buy a load of loam? Agway?
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Ask around at the Agway, somebody will know who sells topsoil and loam or you can leave a card on their bulletin board - it's usually full of spring lamb and chicks and ducks ads by now. Or look in the phonebook under "backhoe service" or "Ecavation "
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says...

You "heard" some unconfirmed rumour about it? Frankly, that sounds like a bunch of horse-shit.
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On 3/28/07 12:16 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@nntp.aioe.org,

It does, doesn't it? But this isn't a my-cousin-knows-a-guy rumor. It's the real poop.
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Just remember: shit in, shit out.
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Man--ure all creating a big doo-fuss!
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All in all, I'd rather be fishing... for crappies.
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wrote:

Ha........good one. I was trying to find a way to fit that one in........ didn't think of adding 'pies' to it
But I really think everyone is being rather fecestious. Now.....SCAT!!!!
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I had to go anyway. I'm making cowpies for supper.
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Oh, Yummy! But you know, they'll just go to waste. I worked out in the garden all day today. There is a lot to clean up. Now I am pooped!!
Emilie who actually did work in her garden, cleaning up, pruning, and mulching, and getting ready to get the tomato plants in the ground. The lilacs are blooming and there were 8 W Tiger Swallowtails going nuts over them. mle
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Just raise the beds to the point where they do not flood anymore. Granted, I do not have the clay that predominates in Ithaca, a place I visited so many times I know which soil it has. But the paths between my beds flood every spring, and the garlic in the beds, also sensitive to waterlogging, does not care. There are about 4 inches between water level and beds surface. To build up your beds, I prefer cinder blocks. You can plant carrots, parsnips or radicchio in the blocks holes if you want to use the space maximally.
Also, if you are confident of your disease situation, it is a good idea to leave roots in the ground when you clean up in the fall, they will decay and become a draining channel. Many vegetables get down to 4 feet or more. Not advisable with cabbage.
To fill in, just about any organic material you can lay your hands on will do, if you are patient enough. I prefer to get uncomposted stuff, pile it high, plant things in it that will manage, and wait. You can surely find a tree company that will deliver a load of wood chips for free. They are very harsh, but if you mix a bit of manure in it, potatoes will grow decently right in the chips. If you top dress with wood ash to balance the pH ( a couple of times during the season), plus the manure, cucurbitae, garlic and tomatoes will grow well in it. Greens, peas or carrots will not grow in such stuff though. The chips do take a couple of years to decompose, but in the end you have a soil with a thicker humus than with other organic stuff.
If you can get the manure, most everything will grow well in it, and the next year your soil is already fine for general use. I have no experience with city compost, but if it is mostly leaves, they turn into quality, neutral soil where everything grows by midsummer. Just pile it high enough. If you can't make the beds, just make the pile, plant a melon or squash on top, and let it sprawl.

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wrote:

There's an article in Better Homes and Gardens April 2003, titled: SUCCESS IN SOGGY SOIL, on someone who had a wet yard and fixed it. You could check your library for a copy. Basically, though, they just kept dumping in tons of topsoil, year after year.
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