The Q&A Archives: Poorly draining raised flower beds

Question: I've recently installed several raised beds in my yard. The local soil is useless, so I used top soil (2 parts), manure (2 parts) and humus (one part) to fill the beds.

But it's not draining properly. The water sits on the top of the soil and it takes a too long for it to seep into the soil.

What did I do wrong, and how do I correct the problem?

I appreciate your time.


Answer: Kay,

Your topsoil is probably either high in clay or high in silt content. I suggest you try mixing in some chunkier composted bark and then loosen the soil a bit to help it take in water better. The mix you chose should drain well so try also adding some mulch to the surface as this will help prevent the soil from sealing or crusting which impedes water infiltration.

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