Gardening in the monsoon mud- northeastern style

For the first time ever my veg garden pretty much sucks. We were having a dry spring when I put many of the plants in the ground after starting them in my home and then unheated greenhouse, but with summer came the deluge that included an overnight 8" flood rain a couple of weeks ago. In addition we’ve had day after day of very high humidity that stops evaporation and transpiration that helps soil to drain quickly.

Collards and all “col” type plants are doing well as are the string beans but most everything else in my main garden are half drowning even though I use very highly raised beds- there is standing water in the pathways which I can’t remember having for such duration during summer.

Peppers cucumbers and squash have suffered terribly, the latter two, partly because cucumber beetles have been fierce and I didn’t use floating row covers to hold them back this year.

I just removed the mulch and pulled up the woven landscape fabric a always grow my peppers with for one of the mounds where they are planted. The fabric clearly makes things muddier than on mounds with only hay as a weed barrier.

I probably won’t do it for all the peppers because it’s too much work and too late.

I planted my tomatoes on better drained parts of my property and they are doing OK.


I have sandy soil that drains very well. Also the compost I originally used had sand in it. With 5 1/2 inches of rain one day and two weeks of rain and cloudy weather, no standing water even an hour after the 5 1/2 inches. The tomatoes, cucumbers and squash are doing ok. Lack of sun has reduced flowering but they are growing ok. Actually the cucumbers are growing better than usual telling me I may have not been watering them enough in the past. Ripening peaches are not good. Bland plus little sap feeding beetles (Nitidulidae Epuraeinae type) have found every tiny crack to bore into.


The weather patterns are stuck in place. Or so it seems to me. We had an unusual stretch of clouds and rain in May and early June. Since then it’s been dry and by far the hottest string of days here in history. Maybe the dry heat will move your way and cooler here. We’d probably all welcome a change.

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Most of the soil on my property drains very well, but my garden was here before I was and it is the “bottom land” on my property. Usually the very tall beds solve any drainage issues, but I’m wondering if all the compost and mulch I’ve added over the years has made the soil excessively colloidal- at least for this particular season.

My cash crop is doing great- my nursery trees are growing faster than they ever have- it is a huge struggle to stop the peaches from running away from me.


My condolences. Yeah same here. I only started gardening recently but even so this year is obviously a dud. My garden is on a small hillside and is doing ok but basically stunted from no sun most of June/July.

Another of my small gardens in a flatland downhill from there is flooded- 5" of rain in one week after weeks of rainfall- Never had plants completely drown before. Bummer.

Fruit trees are all either too young to fruit or the buds died during the may frost. Everything finally started growing the past 2 weeks but still way behind what I wish.

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As time goes on, and if you have the time, you will always have some things that do well. Right now I’m eating a waffle with huge blackberries, blueberries and some salvaged flesh from a terribly split pit nectarine. I had to work around the mold that started inside the pit, but it’s still sweet and good.

It’s a record year for blueberries and I decided to plant blackberries again a couple of years ago and am now reaping the rewards on the third season.

Hopefully we will remain in a more “normal” rain pattern and my august-oct into november harvest will be good, although I doubt I will be drawing bags of diced red peppers out of my freezer through early summer as I am now. It would be miraculous for them to have that kind of growth spurt from where they are now.

The problem with gardening is that whatever you accomplish becomes a standard which is failure the next time you don’t reach it. Actually, that’s a problem with the human mind- we tend to get used to our luxuries and take them for granted.

I’m trying to cultivate gratitude, but my soil is thin. It takes effort.