I was hoping for some help brainstorming-troubleshooting something my community garden has been dealing with.
About half of our community garden is very wet in the spring. Of course raised beds help, plus we maintain the aisles between garden plots with grass. FYI the soil is fine sandy loam, USDA prime farmland. We're right on the border of zone 6 and 7. Although the soil is sandy, it becomes like concrete if you work it or walk on it when wet. Just to give you a sense, some years we can't rototill until almost June (for plots that need it, we encourage no-till).
We share a field with a farmer -- I believe a lot of the water is coming from his part of the field (where we sometimes see standing water in the spring), which we are downhill from. We are considering using a swale to catch and divert the water at our border. But we don't have much space for water diversion and storage (plus, we really don't need the water for anything). So I'm wondering if we could partially mitigate the issue by planting a treeline. (I've heard of willow being used for this purpose.) Preferably this would be trees that won't grow taller than 20 feet or so. This treeline would be WNW of garden plots, so there is some concern about shade (we want to be able to develop new plots as close to our property line as possible).
Even partial mitigation would be a big help (say drying out the soil week earlier). Does this sound like a reasonable approach? Any thoughts or suggestions (particularly on what to plant)?
A treeline could help sink the water. Id suggest a crescent shaped swale yo slow it down. Then maybe plant rose of sharon hibiscus (edible flowers/young leaves) and/or elderberry (jelly/juice) on the downhill side.