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  • : frank beswick
  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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January 4 2013 6 04 /01 /January /2013 10:05

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A problem that many gardeners will face at the moment is waterlogged ground. After months of heavy downpours some areas are completely flooded.  I turned up at my allotment recently to find that a quarter of it had had flooded. I was lucky, as the allotment slopes gently from corner to corner and I am nearer the higher bit. Yet my ground is soggy, and I live in South Lancs, and Lancashire is a county where the downpours are reported to have been bad. We are quite flat here and the water does not run off  easily.

 

The first thing to realize is that you can have too much water. The term soil structure is important. The soil structure is the way in which particles of different sizes are present in the soil. This is important, as the structure allows air spaces to exist. as plants take in oxygen from their roots, they breathe through the soil. It is carbon dioxide that comes in through the leaves to photosynthesise. If the soil is flooded, then the air is squeezed out and this is not good for growth. It can be fatal.

 

The first thing to realize is that it is not easy to deal with waterlogged ground. Drainage ditches might take away water if you have a slope. It is also possible to dig a pond and allow some surface water to drain into it. But ponds are subject to safety precautions, especially if you have public access or children or elderly people near. I am not allowed to have one, sadly, as council safety rules forbid it.

 

If you dig over-wet soil it is not thought to be good for the ground, as it damages soil structure, so digging should wait for a drier period. It is possible to tine the ground to allow some air into it. This involves going through with a fork and and spiking it. Digging is better, but tining might help initially. Lawns benefit from being tined.

 

In the long run it might be important to raise ground level. This can be done with raised beds, which cover a significant part of my plot now. These can be commercially bought, but why bother?The commercial ones look good, but you can knock up a raised bed out of scrap or purchased wood very easily. I saw some commercial ones for £39 for a square metre. I made four out of wood purchased from a timber merchant for less than that, and they lasted a few years. The raised beds do not become waterlogged.

 

It is important to ensure that if you have containers, as I do in my back yard, they are properly drained, as containers waterlog even quicker than ground does, as they cannot drain away. I reckon that I will solve their  waterlogging problem by emptying them onto the allotment, and refilling when I want to plant later this year.

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chexsystems banks 07/29/2013 17:06

Great article, I think you covered everything there.

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