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I just started gardening this year, and we've tried a few methods to see what works best, including a straw bale garden, compost bag gardens, and a tilled field. Things were going great until about a week ago when the rain started. Since then, it's rained every day and will continue raining for the next week. With the rain and the clouds, my plants have slowed their growth. In particular, my squash in the tilled field is stunted and yellowing and my tomatoes hardly seem to have grown at all. The problems are the worst in the tilled field relative to the straw bales and the bags.

What should I do? Do they need more nitrogen, or is it going to take a few sunny days to get back on track? And is all hope lost at this point? Will my plants recover when conditions improve or have I missed a vital growth period?

  • can you show a picture? have you tried raising the plants high enough to keep them somewhat above the waterline? how is the soil infiltration rate? – black thumb May 31 '18 at 9:01
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    I can take a pic when I get home later. They're on enough of a slope to keep the water from pooling, so there's no waterline. I'm just worried about the constant overwatering and low sun conditions. – Logan Bertram May 31 '18 at 17:05
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More nitrogen, IMO, is not going to help in a waterlogged situation like this. It will most likely contribute to root rot instead.

Potassium, while perhaps not the answer to your problem (it might be enough, though), will help the plants to handle and absorb extra water better than before, while strengthening the roots.

If you can find something of the sort, you might try putting a clear canopy (one that lets sunlight through) above your plants to block the rain.

There are probably soil amendments that absorb extra water you could put down, too.

Another thing you can try is planting your plants on a slope or hill that catches the sun/wind well (those tend to dry out faster).

Lots of organic matter is normally great, but if it's raining a lot, I'm guessing you'd want less organic matter (unless that means you'd just have pure mud), to prevent excess moisture.

I can't say the state of your plants and how things will be when things warm/dry up.

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    Thanks for this. We are actually planted on a slope, so the water isn't collecting, and the plants have some opportunity to dry out in the high heat between the storms. Will the low sunlight set me back permanently, or will my plants catch up when the storms clear next week? In the meantime, I'll add some potassium like you suggest. – Logan Bertram May 31 '18 at 17:04
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    Since the plants are on a slope, you could block the run-off at the top of the slope (so water doesn't go down it as much). How much light is there? How long will it be like that? Are there trees or anything blocking the sun, too? If the light levels aren't too bad, or if the light levels will raise soon, I'm guessing the plants will be fine (as long as they don't get diseased or something). – Shule Jun 1 '18 at 0:49
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    But what about the temperature? Is it warm enough for squash? – Shule Jun 1 '18 at 0:54
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    We're in the deep south. Even with the storms, it's in the 80's and 90's. The slope isn't severe, it's just enough that the heavy rains don't pool up. No trees, just a bunch of clouds. The light levels should improve soon, and all the plants look healthy, despite being a bit stunted. We actually had some sun yesterday, and the lost some of their yellow. Hopefully, with the coming sun and the added phosphorus, they take off soon. Thanks! – Logan Bertram Jun 1 '18 at 15:28
  • Great to know. The stunting shouldn't be due to the cold, then. Although phosphorus is said to be good for roots, too, I did mean potassium! ;) You don't have nematodes, do you? I know they can be an issue in your region. – Shule Jun 5 '18 at 2:54

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