Vicky
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Location: Congers, NY - zone 5

Garden Disaster this year

Hi, I am new to this forum and look forward to being a part of it.

I have planted a terrific garden for several years now. I usualy grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and a variety of other veggies. In addition I had a strawberrry patch that I decided to turn under this year. I also battle weeds each year.

This year just before planting, in late May (zone 5/6) I turned the strawberry patch and weeds under. Gave it about 3 days and planted my main veggies. I know it was soon but didnt think it woudl be a problem. :(

We had a lot of rain this year; practically every day in June and much of July. I also noticed that my garden was lower than the lawn that surrounds it. I used railroad ties to separate them. Still the garden flodded with each rain and the water didn't drain.

My tomatoes died first, then the peppers, string beans, swaush and eventually the cucumbers which I thought were thriving because they liked the rain and I planted them on slightly raised hills. Now they are gone too. All that is growing is my weeds!!! It is so heartbreaking, I have given up for this year.

My question is, what can I do for next year to make this garden a success? Was it the water, the soild PH, height of the garden vs the lawn? Should I move the garden completely or fill with something (topsoil?) to bring level up?

Thank you so much in advance.

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gixxerific
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Welcome and very sorry to hear about your garden demise. :(

Where are you at? Try to find compost by the truckload and add a bunch of that this fall and maybe again in the EARLY spring. That would help raise the bed up to a level above the grass area. It will also help your soil become more alive as well as drain better.

This site rocks I'm fairly new here myself but not to gardening. I have learned more here this summer than all my other summers put together. It has actually changed the way I look at gardening.

There are many others with way more experience and knowledge than me I'm sure they will chime in.

Good luck
:)

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kimbledawn
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If you can, I would move the garden. I am sorry about your loss, I have had a very hard time this year but coming here has really helped me to deal with the problem's that have arisen in my garden. Our yard floods like that too so my garden sits pretty much in the center of our yard because its the highest and the sunniest place.

I know that that may not be possible for many so I said "if". If you can't move it I would do as Dono said and try and raise the soil level. Good luck planning for next year!
"Organic gardeners always know the best DIRT!"

Gerrie
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Welcome to the best forum ever! I had a hard time this yr. too, for other reasons. Our spring was cool and mild, planted but nothing took off, then when the garden finally started growing, we got a record heat July and early Aug. Everything fried and what didn't die grew like crazy but didn't produce much fruit. Then it cooled down and fruit started coming. Now it's record heat again and squirrels are eating my veggies! A neighbor called this morn to see if I wanted some cukes, but those are the only things doing well in my garden also :? If I let the dog into the garden to chase the squirrels, she destroys more than they do. I'm ready to GIVE UP!
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

kgall
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You must be in the northeast. We had 29 days of rain in June alone here in NH. I Had dirt and compost trucked in and raised my garden to be about 6 inches above the level of the grass and I think that has saved my veggies.
Of course now I am battling powdery mildew. :lol:

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stella1751
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Gerrie wrote:
Our spring was cool and mild, planted but nothing took off, then when the garden finally started growing, we got a record heat July and early Aug. Everything fried and what didn't die grew like crazy but didn't produce much fruit. Then it cooled down and fruit started coming. Now it's record heat again and squirrels are eating my veggies!
I have family in the Portland and Vancouver area, and I feel bad for you. I imagine it was worse in southern Oregon. This was a weird year. They don't garden, but they were sweltering. Many of 'em don't even have air conditioning; they've never needed it. What I'm saying (and not very well), is don't give up! This really was an odd year out there, from what my cousins, aunt, and uncle tell me. Next year will be better! We all have bad years.

To Vicky, wow, what a drag. I'm with Kimbledawn and Gixxerfic, either raise it (significantly) or move it. Can you put in a nice raised bed? How big an area is it? Following are pics of the two types of raised beds I use:

This one really is a simple four 4x4 posts with 2x6's nailed on. I made a little flower bed in the front to serve as a bee attracter. And, because I am eccentric, I put little brown balls on the corners :lol:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/lemon_boy_bed.jpg[/img]

I have three of these in the back. They're just landscape timbers staggered. I used rebars to secure the corners on this one. There's a little bit showing of my oldest bed. That one is finished, with its PVC cold frame installed. Oh. Because I am adament that no soil goes in these beds that isn't my own stuff and hasn't been amended in my own eccentric manner, these beds will take me years to completely fill :roll:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/cukes_07_26_09.jpg[/img]
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Gerrie
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Location: Southern Oregon

KGALL and STELLA- 'If it ain't one thang, it's another' weather wise that is...I'm with you all the way about dirt and only using my own from here on in. I got some horse manure from a guy and the darn stuff simply would not decompose-go figure, anyway, two yrs of that and I've decided I'll compost my pine trees if I have to, but it's only going to be what's already here on my property(just kidding about the pines).

Meanwhile my compost piles are doing well and I'm composting more than ever, even got the grandkids composting so I hope to have better soil next yr. I guess I'll hang in there, I'm addicted. :wink:
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

Gerrie
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PS-nice pix, the raised beds are real nice.
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

Vicky
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Location: Congers, NY - zone 5

I am in NY, just 35 miles northwest of NYC. We had rain almost every day in June/July and so far August has been pretty wet. Very unusual. At this time of year we usually have a drought.

Thanks for all your advice. Sounds like you all do a lot of composting. I need to start, but for next year I will probably have to deal with the "imported" dirt. Probably have a couple of yards brought in. I have a small area, about 8x30. It is 2 railroad ties high, so it looks like your flower area Stella. Perhaps if I fill it almost to the top, it will help with drainage, and enrich the soil.

Should I add only compost, or a combination of soil and compost?

Gerrie
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Hi, Vicky-I originated in Yonkers and actually had a small garden there years ago. My sister lives in Westchester still, and has told me how much rainy damp weather you've had. Just a bad year for gardening there. I had raised beds in Eastchester for a while but the water table was so high you could hit it with one shovelful-even the raised beds didn't do much except for strawberries, which seemed to grow everywhere. If you can get organically composed compost, I don't see why not-what's everyone else think?
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

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gixxerific
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Vicky imported dirt don't buy that Taiwanese junk. J\k

If your gonna get something see if you can get some good compost that will do you and your garden and the world a lot better. :D

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Diane
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Vicky, in some areas people can get free compost from their town.
Don't give up. You can plant in pots if all else fails.
But a raised bed would help with the flooding problem.
I used name brand soil, manure, humus and my compost. My son turned the bed area and then mixed in all the bags.
If I buy any more soil to mix in it will be only potting soil. I have thick clay soil that holds water and potting mix drains better.
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

https://s600.photobucket.com/albums/tt87 ... G00047.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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raised beds

I swear by mine. I need to get some pics. Mine are similar to Stella's landscape timbers one, but with 4X4 pine fence posts, stacked. They are also held together with rebar and finished to help keep the wood from rotting. I did import topsoil to fill them, had a couple yards trucked in, then amended it a lot.

I do think this is the answer to your flooding problems. We've had the same rain, rain, rain other people have mentioned (it's raining again as I type), but there's never puddles in my raised beds and everything has done well there.

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applestar
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If it was my garden, I would start composting right there in the low area. I would first review whether railroad ties are what I want to use for my raised bed garden and replace or not (I prefer untreated cedar) then if the garden is already considered a wash, start tossing in: thinner branches and twigs, hedge trimmings, etc. -- or if you have or can rent a mulching machine, make wood mulch -- in the bottom along with some sand and greens like kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and weed. See the GREENS and BROWNS sticky on top of the Compost Forum for details. Weeds make great greens right now, later in the fall toss in as many bags of dry leaves as you can get hold of. By spring, you'll have lots of compost. :wink:

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gixxerific
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Applestar I'm not sure about using railroad ties. They contain Creosote. It is used to preserve them. Don't know for sure but If I would have to guess it's probably not a very good product for food plots.

cynthia_h
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applestar wrote:If it was my garden, ... I would first review whether railroad ties are what I want to use for my raised bed garden ...
Applestar is NOT recommending railroad ties; she is suggesting that the OP review whether she wants to continue using them.

Applestar states her own preference very clearly: untreated cedar.

In my case, I have a raised bed made from cinder blocks (plain, not finished, and just stacked, no mortar) and another made from untreated, FreeCycled lumber. Pine, from the looks of it and the sawdust and smell when we sawed it to length.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Vicky
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You have all given me some great tips and advice. I am seriously taking into consideration the choice of wood around the garden. I will have to get the right terminology for the wood I am using, but it is not the big 12x12 railroad ties that are soaked with creasote (sp) but they are approx 4x4x12 wood with slightly curved sides. If they are treated I will definitely consider replacing

About the compost, I like the idea of creating a compost right in the garden. I didn't know you could put weeds in the compost. I have wanted to do a compost pile, this sounds like a great way to go.


DIane mentioned about compost from the town, and I always thought that would be a good idea but my husband says it is full of garbage. I will investigate.

Gerrie, Hi, I am in Rockland County and very familiar with Yonkers. Have a friend there who's vegetable garden (at her MILs house) is completely made up of container plantings and they grow everything. Forgot to ask how the garden is this year but I bet it is good. My container plantings (herbs) are doing fine.

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gixxerific
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cynthia_h wrote:
applestar wrote:If it was my garden, ... I would first review whether railroad ties are what I want to use for my raised bed garden ...
Applestar is NOT recommending railroad ties; she is suggesting that the OP review whether she wants to continue using them.
My apologies to Appelstar you know you are one of my fav's on here. I misread that post. :oops: :(

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applestar
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Thank you cynthia_h, for defending my good name. :D :D
Gixxerific, how dare you even suggest such a thing! :> :cool: Apology accepted, of course, happens to the best of us. :wink:

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Duh_Vinci
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I feel your pain! I felt bad loosing all my cukes to some odd and quick spreading dz, but loosing most of the garden :cry:

Let's hope the next year would be better for you!

Regards,
D

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Gary350
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Late Blight is very bad this year. From what I have read on the internet the eastern half of the United States has been hit pretty bad by blight. It kills tomatoes and potatoes. Blight will stay in your soil all winter and you will have blight again next year.

https://www.umassvegetable.org/LateBlightAlertforTomatoandPotato.html

I was going to spray for blight but after reading the warnings on the container I decided not to buy that stuff I don't want to put toxic poison on my garden.

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Diane
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Gary I just read your link and they say to mow down your plants or bury 2 feet deep. It didn't say it would come back next year. :?
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

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