Gardening Basics #5: Drainage

Sandy soils drain too quickly and clay soils too slowly. Adding organic materials helps to correct and balance both types of soil. If you have a good balance between sand, silt, clay and organic materials, you have a solid foundation for good drainage as well as moisture retention in the space between soil particles. When you improve your soil’s drainage, you reduce the level of fungal pathogens. You also improve root development and nutrient availability in a healthy aerobic environment.

Do a simple test to see how your soil drains and whether you need to make changes to correct your drainage. Dig a hole about 1 foot deep and 6 inches wide. Fill the hole with water and let it drain completely. When the hole is empty, fill it again with water to the very top. If it takes more than 10 hours to empty again, you have a drainage problem. The good news is that this problem can easily be solved by adding organic materials or drainage pipes.
You can also grow plants in raised beds.

Gardening Basics is a nine part series outlining how you can get a healthy and beautiful garden the organic and natural way