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alilgoat
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Are my plants going to drown?

Hey guys! New here, here is my intro thread if you wanna say hi. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 31&t=68353

Anyways, I was excited a couple days ago and dug some holes/trenches and threw some plants in them. After researching some gardening guides, I can plainly see that my garden looks nothing like "good examples" haha.

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My main concern is what is wrong with the way I did this if anything, and how I can fix any problems.
Are the plants going to drown when it rains because the holes will fill up with water?
Should I remove the grass sections between the holes/trenches and just make one giant square plot?
Do I need way more bagged soil?


The holes are about 3 to 4 inches below grass level, and then the soil/clay is chopped up and loose about 10 inches in the hole below the plants. The plants are surrounded by about 2 inches of garden soil (potting soil?). Most of the dirt material in the trenches is a soft clay... I'm in Eastern Missouri.
The two squares contain one watermelon plant each.
The one circle hole contains one zucchini plant.
The two rows closest to the watermelons contain 3 sweet potato plants each.
The third row contains 5 tomato plants.


Thanks for any help! :)

AnnaIkona
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

Well, your plants may not do that well on the lawn. The grass roots may stop the veggies' roots from developing properly and the soil is very poor for veggies. It also has poor drainage.

I don't think they will drown when it rains. However, cover the hole the plants are in with garden soil (not potting soil), so that the new soil is leveled with the lawn soil.

I do incourage you to give it a try and see how it goes! :)
Zone 8b, Canada

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alilgoat
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

Thanks for the fast response.
Should I lift the plants out and rebury them when I add more soil so that the base of the stems are level with the grass?

And I could remove the excess grass, like this;
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...if that would help. When I remove the grass I cut it off like sod, so that I can use it in other parts of my lawn... but when I do that a lot of the soil comes with it, so it leaves those trenches. I don't necessarily have the money to fill that whole void with bagged soil. I can trim some soil off the sod but it would still be about 2 inches lower than the grass around it... would that be fine if I focus on keeping the actual plant bases raised?

gumbo2176
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

I wouldn't worry about raising the plants. Things like tomatoes, zucchini, and potato plants can have soil added and they will develop new roots along their stems.

I've only grown potatoes a couple times and do so in old auto tires. I'll put one over a bare spot in the garden, add some soil, plant the slips and as the potato plants grow, I'll add another tire and gradually add more soil as they grow. I'll do this 3 times for a 3 tire tower and when it's time to harvest the potatoes, I'll knock over the tower and remove the potatoes.

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applestar
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

I just going to copy and paste a previously posted text. It was kind of written quickly, so if this doesn't make sense, ask for clarification and I will. :D

Subject: Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden?
applestar wrote: I also like building mounded wide beds for which I only use sod cutter and spade the sod off the path area, which is piled upside down onto top of the still sodded, garden fork fractured rows, then I mound all the topsoil from the paths then weedy compost, cover with paper, weed free compost and bagged soil, and then mulch. (Basically sheet mulched rows.) No tilling for this either, though some people will till the path to loosen the top soil. I just scrape until I hit the clay subsoil.
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AnnaIkona
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

No need to lift the plants out again- this will cause only more stress.

Adding soil to the tomatoes, so that it covers their stems, as gumbo said, will not harm them.

I suppose as long as the grass doesn't spread onto the soil where your plants grow, they'll be okay.
Maybe even if the holes you dug are deep enough, the soil around them will act as a pot for their roots. I don't think this is bad.

Don't stress too much about this :) I'm sure the plants will survive (just make sure to cover them with soil as I have explained above)
Zone 8b, Canada

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alilgoat
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

When you say add soil, do you mean me burry them completely so that I can't see any green? Or just enough so that the leaves are barely sticking out?

And just to confirm, I should do that for the sweet taters, tomatoes, and zucchini?

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applestar
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

Mounding soil up to cover some of the stems (and leaf nodes for zucchini) above current soil level will provide insurance in case the lower roots do become submerged/waterlogged for extended period of time and suffer root rot. This way, there will be additional new roots that the plants could rely on and switch over to. For sweet potatoes, mound soil on leaf nodes along the vines.

Whether the current sub soil level planting will be a total disaster or not will depend on how much rain you usually get. Did you say somewhere that you are in Missouri? If you get frequent extended thunderstorms and flooding, I'm not very confident.

I have packed clay subsoil under the thin topsoil layer and I have drought conditions during the summer. But NJ does occasionally get slammed by remnants of hurricanes of various severity, and Nor'easters.

Yeah you did, Eastern Missouri. You also mentioned watermelon -- that can be buried along the vines at leaf nodes, too.
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applestar
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

Here is why I think this might be a problem -- it reminded me of ....

Subject: Water dirt?
digitS' wrote:
I think that if I had an even more arid environment, I would use the Zuni gardening bed design:
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Steve :)
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jal_ut
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

No your plants won't drown.

May I suggest though, if you are really interested in growing garden veggies, that you make a garden plot. Probably 12 feet by 12 feet, and dig it all up. Get rid of all grass and weeds. Now you can plant your crops. You need to do some research on how big these plants get so you can give them the needed space.

That little plot you are showing is about right for 3 zucchini plants, or 3 indeterminate tomato plants.
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alilgoat
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

I'm back!
Quick update on my garden.

My plants nearly got washed away after our first heavy rain. One of them actually got lifted out of the soil and carried down along the trench, it was one of the tomato plants. But, I replanted it and it has grown some since then but it is definitely stunted compared to its buddies.

I had some leftover paver stone so I placed them in a " V " around the garden to help spread out the flow of water, and during the next downpour we got I went out there to observe... It sure helped a lot but I would need to bury some actual drainage pipe to completely solve the issue, I don't have any of that laying around unfortunately or else I would haha. If this experiment goes "good enough" this season I might invest in that and expand the garden as well. The main reason the plot is as small as it is is because I had to do some serious convincing with my roommates to allow me to tear up the yard. Maybe once I show them the yields they'll give in and let me go big!

I also added in some wood posts to help with my cramped space.
I already took a gander at when to start trimming tomato plants, and when to start "training" them to grow up, but if you guys wanna add anything extra I'd appreciate it.

Edit: oops! Forgot pics and another question!! (working on adding pics... My phone is being dumb)

One of my watermelon plants is wilting. The other one looks fine, I think. They both get the same amount of water.. What should I do?

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Last edited by alilgoat on Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

Have you ever told us where you are located? It makes a big difference. Putting plants in trenches like that is a good moisture conserving technique for very arid climates. But since you had recent rain, I'm guessing you are not in an arid climate.
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alilgoat
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

I'm in eastern Missouri in the US, when we get rain we get a lot really fast. It's almost always very humid here.

I was able to add some pics, but for some reason their low res, and the picture I have of my healthy looking watermelon doesn't want to work.. maybe I can fix it later. The pic of the single plant is the wilting watermelon I was talking about. Should I just give it some extra water compared to what I give it normally? Or less water? I have a little bit more garden soil I can add as well if that would help.

dtizme
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Re: Are my plants going to drown?

I've been growing my tomatoes like that for the last few years and have had nothing but good luck. holes dug in the lawn about 3 feet apart. I don't use the original soil though. I use about a 50/50 mix of 3 way mix and compost and change the soil every year. Should only have to water once every few days using this method as well, especially if you planted your tomatoes deep.

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