Sand for sticky borders
On Fri, 08 Feb 2019 22:19:14 +0000, Another John wrote:
Yes - it was a "high water table". He and his next door neighbour are on
land that was a field before they made their gardens; in fact half of
next door's still _is_ a field. The whole plot (3 or 4 acres) is on
the side of a gently domed hill (agricultural pasture), which has
springs. The water springs forth when it has forced its way up through
the clay, which is about 18" down. Last year, heavy rain forced the
water up through the land just "uphill" from my man's garden, hence his
borders were swamped. He has dealt with it by trenching along his
fence, and channelling the water around the garden.
[The proper way to do it would be to get a drainage man in, with the
right "heavy plant", but that will cost too much.]
And so: the soil is sticky because it was sodden -- under water -- for
My house has a similar problem. The estate was built, in 1959, on the side of
a hill with the soil made up from bands of clay, gravel and topsoil. When we
moved in, in 1985, I excavated an existing soakaway to see why it wasn't
working. I found a 6" layer of clay at the bottom, so dug it out until I found
gravel. The next day, I had a 2 foot square water feature!
I've installed perforated drains along the uphill side of the small plot,
which had some effect. The greatest effect was when I built a workshop in the
garden with a pit in its base to house a compressor and store things. This
needed a sump pump to stop it flooding and has lowered the water table by
When the estate was originally built on farm land, there had been moled drains
and clay tile drains, from what I saw when excavating in the garden, but they
were completely disrupted when the houses were put in.
With raised beds, filled with a lot of compost, I've got an almost functioning
garden after 30 years of work :-).