High water and gardening

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by mommagoose_99, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    Late last month we experienced the worst flooding in 200 years here in NY.
    Most of my market garden was swept away along with 6 inches to 4 feet of topsoil. Now we have 2/3 of our onion crop and about 1/2 of our potato crop remaining. The potato plants sat with about 6 inches of water on them for 4 days. At first they looked ok but now 3 weeks later the plants are dieing back and look very unhealthy. I dug up one plant and the roots were mushy with white fuzz on them. There are small potatoes on the roots but they have the white fuzz on them too. Should I dig up the plants and figure they are a lost cause or can I save them some how? I had planted 40 pounds of eyes this spring so this will be a huge loss for me and my family. The onions are doing greAt they seem to love all the water they got. My beets and carrots have evaporated and the 3,000+ cucumbers in flower are just a memory. I feel as if I have lost my best friend.
    Linda
     
  2. tambo

    tambo Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sorry for your loss. Do you have space to plant fall potatoes somewhere else?If so maybe you could leave the others to see what happens.

    Tambo
     

  3. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    What a nightmare. I wouldn't pull them up just yet if the plants still look good. I think Tambo's suggestion of a fall crop is good. If you've got room for them I'd get them in the ground now. Forty pounds of seed potato would equal almost a $1000 loss in new potato sales for me. I'd need to replace them if at all possible.
     
  4. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Colorado
    If it were my garden, here's what I would do.
    1. I'd go have my soil tested to see exactly what kind of damage/wash away of nutrients my soil experienced. You've got unknowns right now.

    2. My first inclination (barring a glowing soil report) is to scrap any garden and instead work on cover crops of green manure to restore/improve my soil. That cover crop could even be autumn peas. I wouldn't plant any crop that doesn't improve the soil.

    3. I'd talk to the county extension people on the potatoes. Letting the potatoes rot where they are may or may not be bad. I'm no potato expert. If your county doesn't know, contact a county extension office in Idaho! Bet the farm they'll be able to tell you more about potatoes than you ever imagined could be learned! One thing for certain, I wouldn't plant potatoes there this year or next year. I'd put legumes there, again, working on the soil.

    Please follow up and let us know what you learn. This could happen in many parts of the country and is good knowledge to have. Thank you for the post.
    And sorry for the garden losses.

    BW
     
  5. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    Becky I like your idea of planting a cover crop. The bare soil or whats left of it needs to be protected from further irrosion. There is going to be a lot of activity from bulldozers and excavators trying to move the stream back into its old bed. There will be tons of gravel and rocks that have to be removed from our former market garden before we can think of using it again. It is amaizing the power this tiny steam had when 9 inches of rain fell in about 24 hours. I will also do the soil analysis like you mentioned. We normally do one every 3 years but I think you are right we need another one now. There are severl sewage treatment plants up stream in the Susquehanna River which also flooded my fields 2 days after the initial creek flood so I think I will wait until next year to try and replant. Let the sun cook any toxins in the soil. This is a real mess. There is no comfort in knowing I am just one of thousands affected by the resent floods. Dairy farmers in my area took a big hit . The loss of most of the corn crop and standing hay means many will be cutting back on the number of cows in the herds. I suspect milk prices will rise this winter.