Houzz Logo Print

What are the best drainage solutions?

8 years ago

I have a garden of about 1 acre. I'm in NE Ohio near Lake Erie. I market veggies in the summer to make a little side income. I use a tiller to prepare the soil, but never to a depth of more than 6 inches. I can't move ;-)

My garden is in a low spot, and is very flat. The topsoil is a fertile silty clay loam about 1 foot deep, with a neutral pH. Under this topsoil there is a 30 foot deep subsoil of clay, grey streaked with orange. The drainage in the summer is moderate, in the winter there is a high water table (about 1 foot down). The county soil survey indicates that the soil is "highly productive with proper drainage."

I have been working with the soil for 3 years, adding gypsum, rock phosphate and greensand. I have also added a lot of compost (although not as much as I would like, due to short supply, but I recently found a stable that will bring me about 10 yd3 of manure each month, so I hope remedy that).

My issue: When we get heavy rains, there are a couple of areas of standing water. These drain very slowly, and crops in these areas do poorly. I would like to install drainage tile, and can drain to a ditch at the rear of the property or a small pond to the front.

I cannot afford to pay someone to do this, and have been reading up on tiling (until my head is spinning). My current plan is to rent a ditchwitch (4 inch wide x 2 feet deep), dig a mainline down the length of the garden (200 feet, grading down to the center point), and then to run laterals down some of the paths (I plant in 50 foot long, 36 inch wide beds with 12 inch paths). I will then lay gravel/slitted drainage tile/gravel down these laterals. I will be using a crock and pump and a surface pipe when we get heavy rain, as I can't dig deep enough to let gravity work for me.

I can't find any info on how far apart my laterals need to be (the information I'm finding addresses the needs of field crops, with drainage installed much deeper than I will be able to go).

I would love to hear ideas, opinions (and the many criticisms) about this plan, especially on spacing for the laterals.

Thanks for the help!


Comments (11)