You've always dreamed of having a bountiful vegetable garden, but the soil in your yard is just always too wet! Most plants won't grow in standing water as it drowns their roots, so this issue can completely keep you from realizing your garden dreams -- unless you take action. There are ways to make a specific plot or land drain better so that your plants can grow successfully. Follow these steps to create a successful vegetable garden in a really wet yard.
Step 1: Dig It Out
It may seem counter-intuitive to dig out the area that's already too low and wet, but you are doing this so that you can install a layer of gravel and encourage the area to drain better. This is easiest when you want to design a smaller garden, like one that measures 8 x 10 feet or so, so you might need to scale back on your dreams for a massive garden and compromise with a moderately sized one.
Dig the area down about three feet, piling all of the extra soil to the side. You can probably achieve this with a shovel in an afternoon -- just wear some gloves so you don't get blisters.
Step 2: Pour in Gravel
You'll need to have a landscaping company come deliver some gravel for you to layer into your garden plot. Have enough delivered so that you can pour a 6-inch layer across the entire area you have dug out. Use this gravel calculator to calculate how much you need. As an example, for an 8 x 10-foot garden, you will need about 2 tons of gravel to fill to a depth of 6 inches. Your landscaping company may be able to dump the gravel right into the hole you have dug, and then all you need to do is spread it around evenly. Opt for larger-size gravel, not pea gravel, as this will provide better drainage.
Contact a business like Purdy Topsoil & Gravel to schedule gravel delivery.
Step 3: Mix Your Soil
While you have the landscaping company coming out anyways, arrange to have them deliver about 1/4 to 1/2 ton of topsoil (depending on the size of your garden) as well. This way, you will have more soil than you took out of the hole so you can build up the area.
Before you start adding soil back to the hole, purchase a few bags of mushroom compost from a local garden store, too. Mix this in with the topsoil. It will make the soil more nutrient-dense so that your plants grow better.
Step 4: Layer in Your Soil
Once your soil is mixed, it's time to start throwing it back into the hole. Try to create layers, alternating between the original soil and the new topsoil that you have mixed with compost. Keep going until the garden area is a big mound above the level of the rest of the soil. Take a break and pack it down, gently, every couple inches.
Once you have all of the soil piled up, work on shaping it into a mound. In other words, make sure the middle is the highest point and that the soil tapers down towards the edges of the garden plot.
Step 5: Plant Your Garden
Water should now run down your sloped mound and onto the surrounding land. The underlaying gravel should also provide some more drainage. As you plant your garden, aim to place plants that like more moisture towards the edges of the garden and those that enjoy less moisture towards the peak of the mound. You should not have to water the garden often due to your moist conditions. Happy growing!