The Q&A Archives: Poor Soil Drainage

Question: Having built a huge raised cinder block planter bed, filled it with dirt and planted it heavily, we now realize that the soil isn't draining as well as we thought it would. The plants are becomming water logged. Is there anything we can do to help ammend the soil without digging up all the 5 gal. plants we just put in a month ago?

Answer: Good soil drainage is paramount in keeping plants healthy. If your soil isn't well-draining, the excess water will drive out oxygen, and the roots of your plants will eventually suffocate. There are no easy solutions to poorly draining soils in established flower beds and planters. To save your plants, you'll need to amend the soil with lots of organic matter. This will require digging up the plants, mixing compost or other organic matter into the bed, and then replanting. While it seems like a huge task, it will be well worth the effort. Once you've finished the job, your plants will thrive - which is a reward in itself!

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