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Questions about soggy, boggy yards.

Hi all,

I'm looking to buy a house and grow veggies in the yard, but the house I like has a somewhat boggy back yard. It's not soggy all the time, but there's a creek at the back of the property and sometimes the back half of the yard gets a little flooded. Not too bad, just a few puddles really.

What I'm wondering is:
* Can I still grow vegetables in these conditions?
* Will I need to do anything to the yard to try to drain it better?
* Are there certain types of vegetables that would actually thrive in these conditions?

I'm in Arkansas, so we don't get a ton of rain, but the spring can definitely be wet.


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Super Green Thumb
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Not many veggies like boggy ground. If you are not talking about a big area, you can improve the drainage by building raised beds on top of it. Or you can bury some plastic pipe with holes in the top to collect the water and run it back toward the creek.

There are some things you can grow in ground that gets flooded:

rice, water cress, cranberry, serviceberry, and some herbs like mint and bee balm.

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Welcome to the forum, sgardne! :)

It might be possible to install a drain field, although I had 5 different landscapers look at my yard with that in mind, and they all told me it wouldn't work. I'm still not sure I understand why. I even had a soil engineer come out to look at the yard, because I was thinking of having soil brought in to fill it. He told me the water table was very high here, and adding soil on top would not work. I'm not sure I understand the "why" of that, either. But, I've lived with it for over 30 years, now, and managed fine.

Your best option, IMO, would be to create raised beds. If you prefer not to do that, then it would be important to consider what time of the year your property floods and what plants you want to grow. For instance, I have no trouble with standing water during the summer months, so I can grow just about anything in my yard. Problems arise when I want to plant trees, shrubs, or perennials, because they'll have to survive the wet times. I have lost several plants to standing water.

After all these years, I'm pretty familiar with the exact "wet spots" in my yard, and if I want to plant, say, a new rhododendron, I know where not to place it.
Last edited by Kisal on Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Celery likes boggy. Lemon Grass is another. Taro... a few others, I think. Shallow rooted lettuce, maybe. There are some fruit trees that can manage seasonal wet feet like Persimmon and some Plums.

But really, most common vegs prefer well-drained soil and you won't be able to grow root vegs at all. You *can* however, overcome the difficulty by building raised beds.

Where it's boggy, you could grow ornamental plants that like wet conditions.

What concerns me though is how clean is the creek water?

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Wow! I did not expect so many replies, so fast. Thanks!

The creek is mountain runoff, without any industrial stuff upstream, for whatever that's worth. It looked pretty muddy today, but we just had a major snow melt and then some rain.

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Raised beds above the water level could be an option. I have one area in the yard that has a concrete pad, left over from the car port of a house that was moved. Raised beds have done wonders on top of that concrete pad. IMO you could use any method you wished, from fill dirt to a concrete pad, to raise the level and then build a series of raised beds. That would likely solve your problem permanently.

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Good drainage is pretty important for most veggies(at least the ones that are most popular). You might want to look into a raised bed.

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lj in ny
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Water pools in the back part of my yard about this time of year, including the back quadrant of my veg garden, when the snow melts/rain starts and the ground is still frozen. Since it's only a problem for a month or so in spring I haven't built raised beds but I have built up the soil in that part of the garden and added a lot of compost and organic matter. I started doing this in the spring of 2006, and added a LOT of chopped leaves last fall. This is the first year I have noticed a big difference. The rest of the yard outside the garden is still squishy.

One thing to keep in mind is it takes time to understand the light/water conditions at a new home. I'm in my 2nd home, the first one I lucked out with the position of the garden. In my current house I put the garden a little too far back-I should have put it closer to the middle of the yard -mainly because of the sun exposure but also the drainage is poor. I suggest you wait a year to build raised beds or build ones that can easily be moved. Maybe consider container gardening the first year.

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Hi sgardne,
I'm in Arkansas too, and have pretty soggy soil in places too.(We have craw dad mounds all over the yard) One third of my garden spot is always late planted because this time of year ,it is wet. Most veggies have done well in this area, last years okra went wild, and corn always does good there.I've done well with squash planted on mounds here also.
I just have to wait till later in the season to plant it. I can't do any of the cool weather crops in this area, but I don't have to water it in the heat of the summer either. :D
Last year was wetter than most, it rained almost every day in April :cry: and I had to dig a ditch to drain it. By the end of May it was dry enough to be planted.
I admit, if my whole garden spot was this soggy I might give up.

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I'd raise the bed, and I'd mix the bottom layer of the raised bed with something very fibrous to help with drainage--maybe bark?

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I say raised beds. My place is very wet also, my ducks love it.

I did, do, a combination of digging down and berming up. I actually don't rototill the beds, I rototill the paths. Lower the soroundings and raise the world. This works good for hilling up potatoes.

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