Ask a Question forum: Draining issues

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MadStephan
May 28, 2017 7:37 AM CST
I have a raised garden that's about three feet from the ground. Last year I had trouble with draining which caused fungal infections that I controlled with spray (which turns out to be very expensive). This year I drilled a bunch of 1 1/2" holes in the bottom, laid down some chicken wire, and then lava rock to help with draining. I planted veggies 2 weeks ago and they already look wilty and yellow with holes. Should I add more sand to my soil?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 28, 2017 7:52 AM CST
Welcome!

Sand probably won't help, unless you add a great deal in proportion to what's already there. What is your planting mix comprised of?

One thing to also consider is that rocks, pebbles, stones, gravel or any coarse material at the bottom makes drainage worse rather than better. There should be no layers of different texture in a container garden.

Would you be able to post a picture of the planter and the veggies?
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 28, 2017 10:04 AM CST
Chicken grit and course compost.
Or maybe better. Start new. Get rid of soil and get better well draining, good quality soil. Could be virius, or something in existing soil. Also sterile bed 1st. Thumbs up
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
May 28, 2017 11:32 AM CST
Stephan - are you okay with mixing in some perlite? If you're 3 ft off the ground it sounds like your drainage problems are higher up in the bed. Maybe your soil is not porous enough.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 28, 2017 11:43 AM CST
Welcome!

@sooby - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (has happened) but isn't expanded shale used to help improve drainage? If so, then it could be worked into the existing soil. (not layered)

Also, I think @MadStephan is talking raised beds not containers, although containers could sit on top of a raised bed. But I'd also like to see a picture because I'm a little confused about drilling holes. Other than that, I got nothing. No, wait. If there was a fungus or some such problem with the soil, maybe some nasty is still hanging around.

MadStephan - could you tell us, generally speaking, where you are located and what your zone is? Last year did you have your soil tested beforehand? What kind of spray (most are expensive) did you use? And maybe you might want to have your soil tested now before you spend more $$.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 28, 2017 11:53 AM CST
tx_flower_child said:Welcome!

@ sooby - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (has happened) but isn't expanded shale used to help improve drainage? If so, then it could be worked into the existing soil. (not layered)

Also, I think @MadStephan is talking raised beds not containers, although containers could sit on top of a raised bed.


You're not wrong Smiling Yes it should be worked in. I got the impression the raised bed was one of those on legs, that would enable holes to be drilled in the bottom. But hopefully Stephan will be back with a picture.

I've posted this link before, but while we're on this topic I'll add the link again to an article that illustrates what happens when coarse material is placed at the bottom of a container and why it causes more water to be retained above the coarse layer. I've tested it myself, because it seemed counter-intuitive when I was taught this, but it is true:

http://gardenprofessors.com/co...
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
May 28, 2017 12:37 PM CST
Good link! I saw that same water movement demonstration in a master gardener class. It was very enlightening.
Porkpal

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