Draining wet garden

4 Jul 2007
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United Kingdom
During periods of heavy rain my garden has excess surface water due to a high water table and heavy clay soil . I am on high ground, not in a flood area.

I want to grow veg in rotation using raised beds, but would like to improve the drainage first. The garden is pretty well flat, but the south side has a slope draining into the garden, with two sides falling away. I would like to make a drainage trench from the first point the water collects. Is this adequate or do I need to dig individual drains for all four raised beds.

I hope the plan I have made in my album"Drainage problem" is clear to illustrate the issues.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Check out your local recycling centre or local authority in general, for compost (made from all the green waste collected) This is either free, albeit in somewhat limited per consumer basis, or at a small cost, this will not only improve your soil condition but also it's water holding capacity. The beauty of compost is that it does all the above and feeds your plants at the same time...pinenot :)
I have heavy clay soil, and I used to find water puddling on the surface. The lawn was moss and weeds with a few strands of grass. I killed the lawn and rotavated in 1" of sand then reseeded, and I no longer have issues with poor drainage. Compacted soil was without doubt a large part of the problem. I now have worm casts when before there were almost no worms.

I also have a veg patch, and that has had no sand. I dug it quite deeply to remove bindweed and bramble roots, and I have spread loads of home made compost. I installed simple paths to avoid walking on the beds. Anyway, the soil now after a few years is really quite nice and light, and very fertile. If I were you, I would give it a go with just digging and adding compost, and not walking on it. I avoided raised beds because of the cost, and in my case it worked out well. Make sure you dig the whole area, not just the beds, or they might end up as wells for water from elsewhere.

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