Like most people in these hard economic times, you have decided to save a few bucks on the grocery bill by growing your own vegetables. However, unlike many lucky gardeners all you have to work with is a soggy backyard in a wet climate. Not all is lost though. There are a number of strategies to use for these conditions, and most are quite simple. Smart choices of varieties and a few tips for gaining high, dry ground will have you gardening successfully in no time.
Search out vegetable varieties that are tolerant of wet conditions. Plant cabbages and other members of the Brassica family--collards, kale, cauliflower and broccoli are all good choices for cool, damp ground.
Create drier conditions using raised beds. Build frames from rot resistant or plastic lumber and fill with soil, mounding as high as possible to allow plenty of room for roots to grow so they do not sit in wet soil beneath the beds. Build sides a minimum 12 inches high--much higher if growing root crops like carrots or turnips.
Use containers like half barrels, buckets, large flowerpots or old bathtubs to create mini-habitats more appropriate for plants needing drier conditions. Stack two or three tires one atop another and fill with soil for a quick, recycled raised bed.
Plant indoors where conditions can be kept exactly as warm and dry as you like. Inexpensive hoop-house style greenhouses are easy DIY projects built with plastic and small dimension lumber or PVC pipes with fittings.
Reshape and add drainage under the garden. This may require expensive or time-consuming labor, but creates a permanent and more natural looking landscape in which to garden. Consult a landscape architect for extensive changes, or if the garden is small, simply dig it out; add drain tiles or gravel beds and replace soil, shaping it with a slight slope to aid drainage.