How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden: Why is it necessary?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:19 pm

Sometimes we observe that water accumulates in certain parts of our garden and this may be due to poor drainage. In today’s article we will learn how to make a drainage in a simple and economical way to avoid drowning our plants or the appearance of different diseases.

How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden: Why is it necessary?
Drainage piping

What is drainage?

Much more importance has always been given to the crop than to the soil. In fact, there are sayings that “soil is the poor brother of agriculture”. However, for the correct development of plants (with the exception of hydroponic and aeroponic crops) it is absolutely necessary to take care of both the soil and the plants.

How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden: Why is it necessary?

One of the fundamental factors that influence whether or not the soil is suitable for production is good drainage. The term “drainage” refers to the action of extracting water from the soil to increase crop production and prevent waterlogging.

The origin of the water that we want to evacuate can come from:

  • Precipitation falling directly in that area.
  • Water runoff from one area to another.
  • By elevation of the water table due to irrigation or by the elevation of water from a nearby river.

Why is it necessary to drain the soil?

The main objectives that we want to achieve when performing agricultural drainage are the following:

  • To avoid water stress of plants due to excess water and humidity.
  • Prevent fungal diseases in plants.
  • Protect crops against runoff from heavy rains.
  • Eliminate excess salts in the soil. Salinity is a major problem in soils.
  • Maintain an ideal humidity for crop development.
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In the following image you can see an example of a soil that does not drain well:

How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden: Why is it necessary?
Waterlogged orchard

How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden

Whether we grow in soil, on a growing table or in a pot, the drainage must be good. Next we will explain each of the cases.

  1. Drainage in pots

To make a drainage in a pot is very simple. You simply have to make sure that in the bottom of the container there are some small holes (if not you can make them with the help of scissors or a screwdriver).

Then, before pouring the soil we place small stones that partially cover the holes, as shown in the following image.

How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden: Why is it necessary?
Drainage in pots

Once all the stones are in place, we pour the soil and place our seeds or corresponding plants.

  1. Growing table with drainage

If what we want is to make a drainage in a culture table, we have many options. Next I am going to show you the simplest ones.

  • Sometimes, the culture tables have holes in their base to facilitate the drainage. Therefore, the easiest option is to place a plastic (usually comes with the table when you buy it) on the base with the help of a stapler. It is important that this plastic (or mesh) is permeable to allow water to pass through it and fall to the ground.
  • On the other hand, if we want to prevent the water from falling directly to the ground, we can make a hole (the size of the mouth of a bottle) in the base of the table. As we always support the recycling you can put in the hole the neck of a bottle and place a bucket just at the bottom. It is important that we place the hole in the part of the table that is more inclined so that the water moves to that place.
  • Next, to avoid damaging the wood of the table with the substrate we can put a normal plastic on the base, cutting a circle just where the hole is. The following will be to throw some gravels in the base that will favor the drainage and, finally, to place a permeable plastic on top. This way we will have an effective drainage system that will help our plants to develop better.
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How to make a drainage in the vegetable garden: Why is it necessary?
Drainage system on a cultivation table

Depending on the money we spend, it will have a better or worse drainage system.

  1. Soil drainage

In the cultivations on soil we must favor the drainage using an appropriate soil. Currently the most used is a gravel base, then coconut fiber or other similar substrate and finally worm humus.

Depending on your geographical situation (if it rains a lot or not) it will be necessary to install a drainage system using pipes to collect the excess water and drain it. These pipes should be placed in the lower part of the garden and should have a short inclination.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.