Could my garden be turning into quicksand?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jynxt, May 11, 2006.

  1. jynxt

    jynxt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    587
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Not exactly quicksand but it seems to never dry out and in nearly half of the garden when you step on the earth it seems to move under your feet like if you were standing on a filled waterbed mattress. I have never seen anything like it and I really have no clue how to deal with it either. I have fallen in a couple of times and it gets deeper and wetter the farther down I go!! What is going on here? Should I dig up my plants and move them?
     
  2. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

    Messages:
    1,358
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    GA
    You don't have proper drainage there, but you probably know that already. Is this a new spot or just a new problem?

    If it's an old spot that just started doing this, what have you done differently? Have you done some dirt work nearby or built something close? Most plants are not going to do well in a slushy area.

    There's a lot of things that could be causing or contributing to this like septic tanks, faulty drain fields, more rain than usual...etc...

    Tell us more.
     

  3. jynxt

    jynxt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    587
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The spot I'm talking about hasn't had anything at all there other than weeds and brush for at least a decade. Prior to that it was a hog wallow. It is somewhat 'downhill' but until recently was dry and there has never been a puddling problem there. On the surface it still just looks like plain ole sandy dirt but now when it gets stepped on it waves! It looks like a waterbed mattress when someone sits on one side the other bobs and waves....but then you fall through the dirt and it is super wet and gushy underneath and very hard to pull yourself out of....I have now lost two pair of shoes trying to get out. It started out a smallish area but seems to be growing even though we have been rain free for over a week now! I'm totally lost as to what it could be or what to do other than possibly try to get in there and dig up my plants and move them.??
     
  4. MsPacMan

    MsPacMan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    273
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I just googled quicksand, and found out that anyplace that has sand can develop into quicksand. The only thing you need is water -- plenty, plenty of water.

    They said that a underground water supply is often (but not always) the cause.

    I wonder if the reason that area was once a hog wallow was because it was prone to collect water when conditions favored it.

    At anyrate,here is a good website that describes quicksand. Sounds just like what you described:

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/quicksand.htm
     
  5. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

    Messages:
    1,358
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    GA
    I guess if it were me, I would move the plants. If the top layer of dry sand is less than a foot thick (sounds like it is) then the plants roots will eventually be sitting in mush and you're going to have root problems. It's possible that erosion has washed that sand down on top of a boggy spot.

    If you move them but really want to use that spot, it will buy you some time until you can figure out exactly what it will take to fix the area. I would make this years harvest happen in another spot though.
     
  6. jynxt

    jynxt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    587
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the advice. It looks like I will be moving my garden....at least the things that are planted on that side of it. The soil there is nearly all sand and is sort of at the end of a slope so I guess maybe the water is acumulating under the top of it??? AT any rate I'm tired of fishing myself and my kids out of the mire when we try to get to the veggies that aren't really growing all that well in that spot anyway.
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    Messages:
    28,248
    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    SE Missouri
    Sounds like the same problem I'm having. There is a layer of clay about 2 ft down with sandy loam on top. I'm a few feet lower than the adjacent property and whatever water that falls there sinks into the sand and runs down along the clay to my place. My yard, driveway and garden just turn into a lake. I had ducks swimming UNDER the house a few days ago. Now it just stinks! I'm going to have to bring in dirt and build up the area under and around the house.