FruitAddict
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Drowning Tomatoes

I know most of you have the opposite problem but here in Oshkosh Wisconsin the rain does not seem to want to quit this year and my Tomatoes are in the lowest wettest spot this year and they are not doing very well...

I'm having a very hard time watching them slowly die and its suppose to rain every day this week.

I was thinking about trying to dig up my tomatoe plants and put them in pots to get them out of the water. Do you think this will work? Should I cut back some of the plant when I do this? I have tons of tomatoes on each plant can I keep them or should take some or all off when I transplant to help the plant adjust? Any advice on this would be greatly appreaciated.

Off to the local tree fram to see if they'll sell me some empty tree pots to put my tomatoes in.
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

hit or miss
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Dig some ditches to keep the surface water away from the plants. I'd be willing to bet transplanting them now will kill them.

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applestar
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According to Permaculture swale concept, a swale (basically a shallow basin to sequester water) results in greater soil moisture downslope of the swale and drier/better drained soil upslope of the swale. I've used this technique to provide a bit more wriggle room for some of my plants during drought and others during the soggy spring thaw.

So, in theory, if you dig a bog/rain garden downslope of your tomato bed, the tomatoes should dry out a little bit more. One of my bog/rain gardens is planted with native bog plants and wildflowers. One is a rice paddy. I have another in which I'm trying to grow some cranberry cuttings.

Now, downslope of the bog/rain garden, the ground will remain moist. I'm still experimenting, but so far, have had some success growing carrots and onions when built up with sandy soil, longer lasting cool weather crops like lettuce and cole crops, etc.

FruitAddict
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Well I was excited I made awesome scores on my "Tomato Pots" until I saw your responses... I guess I am feeling transplanting is my only option because there is a little bit more of slope down below my tomato plants and even a drainage ditch beyond that which is lower but the ground is staying so moist I can hear squishing sounds when I walk on it I was thinking the ground water may just be that high now because of our 23" inches of rain so far this year. (It's again pouring out right now so probably 24" this year by now)

I guess I will try digging a trench before I try transplanting and kill them all that way. I think I'll go get started right now and see what it looks like by morning. I have such plans for every tomato out there... they just have to survive!!!
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

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farmerlon
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Here's another option that might be worth trying ... "hill" the plants.
I am thinking that if you hill dirt up around the bottom of the tomato plants, maybe as much as 12 to 18 inches, the plant will quickly make new roots that will extend into this new soil that is higher and drier. That might be all the plant needs, as it would then have some new roots in a more airy soil, and it might no longer think that it has "wet feet".

FruitAddict
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Well I've put 3 hours of work into digging a trench below my tomatoes - they seem to be a bit dryer and it hasn't rained for a day and a half although they are calling for rain Thursday through Monday here again. I was lucky enough to miss the additional 2"of rain and golf ball size hail last night by 15 miles... whew that was close. Why does it seem to be raining these large amounts in a short period of time so much lately?

Rain Rain Go where someone else needs it more please.

I like the idea of hilling them - I think I will do that too. Can't really hurt can it?
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

The Helpful Gardener
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It's one main reason I have mounded rows in my veggie garden; water management is crucial. It doubles the topsoil in the planting areas and gets that much closer to subsoil in the walking rows for drainage...

Works a charm... just poured for hours and the paths are almost dry and the beds (under their straw mulch) will be nice and moist for days...

HG
Scott Reil

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farmerlon
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FruitAddict wrote:... I like the idea of hilling them - I think I will do that too. Can't really hurt can it?
No, I don't think it will do any harm.
Once the plants are hilled, I always add a layer of mulch (grass clippings) to prevent soil splash when it rains. That will help prevent disease on the lower leaves of the plants; it also helps prevent erosion of your hills.

gumbo2176
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[quote="The Helpful Gardener"]It's one main reason I have mounded rows in my veggie garden; water management is crucial. It doubles the topsoil in the planting areas and gets that much closer to subsoil in the walking rows for drainage...

Yep, same here. We generally get lots of summer rain in New Orleans and this summer has not disappointed with late June and early July seeing almost daily rainfalls as much as 2 inches at a time. My tomatoes and figs did suffer a bit after about 5 days of steady rainfall with many of them splitting but once the rains calmed down, things got back to normal. Heck, my garden looked like 7 levees surrounded by a sea of water for a while.

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applestar
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I just posted this link in another thread. I might as well link it here too.

Take a look at Emilia Hazelip video linked in this post by The Helpful Gardener: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=111540#111540

FruitAddict
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Well - I wish I had planted Rice this year in my garden. It rained again last night. The trench I dug below my tomatoes is OVERFLOWING and turned into a creek. I've got standing water on my entire garden now. The ground is just to saturated.

I think I'll just have to call most of the garden a loss for this year. I did manage to find a Pallet of Sand Bags on Clearance for $15 and bought that with the plan of putting all 3,000 lbs of sand in the garden and working it into the soil for better drainage. Will this work? If I put this on the garden now right over the dead plants will it keep it from drying up quicker? Is there anything else you all would recomend that would be fairly inexpensive to work into the soil as well for better drainage?

On the bright side the weatherman says we should have 4 days in a row of no rain here!!! Yippie!!! That will be longest stretch of no rain since mid-May.
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

cottonpicker
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drowning plants

NEXT YEAR.... plant on raised beds. GOOD drainage! Make your raised bed, dig planting hole, add any amendments like bone meal, fertilizer, lime...whatever, add some garden soil & mix it all up, then plant your tomato seedling and fill up to the top cluster of leaves WHILE LEAVING A BOWL DEPRESSION for water. That's it!
LarryD
After all is said & done, more will be said than done.

FruitAddict
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CP - thats a great quote. LOVES IT!!!
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

cynthia_h
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FruitAddict wrote: I did manage to find a Pallet of Sand Bags on Clearance for $15 and bought that with the plan of putting all 3,000 lbs of sand in the garden and working it into the soil for better drainage. Will this work? If I put this on the garden now right over the dead plants will it keep it from drying up quicker? Is there anything else you all would recomend that would be fairly inexpensive to work into the soil as well for better drainage?

On the bright side the weatherman says we should have 4 days in a row of no rain here!!! Yippie!!! That will be longest stretch of no rain since mid-May.
You may find, as others have posted here, that the sand will create a cement-like soil once the water goes away (maybe even during that upcoming 4-day dry spell). To improve drainage under *normal conditions,* lots of organic matter in the soil is the ticket: compost, compost, and more compost. So just dig in as much of your own compost as you can, but not while the Flood of Noah/Gilgamesh/the last Ice Age is focusing on Wisconsin.

These are not normal conditions. Streets collapsing and sinkholes appearing in perfectly ordinary towns and cities aren't conditions in which home gardeners should expect their in-ground plants to succeed. Simple survival, of people, homes, and such will be success while 7 inches of water fall from the sky in 2 hours. :shock:

Use the sandbags ($15! great price!) to shore up your front walk, your house, whatever you need to from the encroaching waters. Let the plants go for now. Look to your home, your car, other valuables. Yes, it's painful. Yes, you worked your tail off for these plants.

But protect the house, the car, the lot first. Then create a bulwark, if any sandbags are left, for the plants. But face it--for many of us, the garden is a luxury--if we don't garden, we can still eat. Not as well as we would have, but we still have access to sufficient food. There *are* subsistence gardeners among our number, and I acknowledge that. Their gardens are essential for their sustenance and that of their families.

If I have misunderstood and you are a subsistence gardener, I am truly sorry for your situation and recommend that you start searching *now* for emergency food relief in your town / county. Put out the word, even on FreeCycle, if you are or will be in true need of sustenance or clothing. I have seen such requests on my local FreeCycle lists, and I know that they have been responded to positively, b/c I have also seen the "thank you so much" posts.

Lest you think I am simply talking through my hat, I have been through a hurricane (high school), several small quakes (nothing to worry about), and one fairly large earthquake (Loma Prieta, 5:04 p.m., Tuesday, October 17, 1989). Our house in Berkeley was flooded during the January 1983 El Niño storms. We only lost stuff, not food. We sent clothing and food about six weeks later to the Russian River flood victims; I think everyone who could, did.

I hope everything works out for you and the others in monsoon-ravaged Wisconsin.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

FruitAddict
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Thank you for putting that in prospective for me. You are right, they are just plants and I have next year to look forward to and the few plants I have in pots have been doing well.

I did pick all the green tomatoes off the plants and had a nice supper of Green Fried Tomotoes last night and will leave the rest to ripen and will just have to wait and see what happens to the rest of the garden.

Again thank you and my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have it much worse than me.
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

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