As I write this it has continued to pour rain since yesterday afternoon. In the past I would be restless and peeking out of the windows at the rain gauge, but not anymore. The minor flood my farm experienced last year in August brought about some changes here that keep me calm and content during storms.
We prepare for the worst and hope for the best in the garden. Here are a couple of the steps that I took to help my garden survive even during prolong heavy rain:
- Plant in raised beds. It is amazing what a difference a bed that is only raised 3-4 inches makes, higher is even better. It is the difference between life and death for some plants that would literally drown in a flat bed with prolonged rain.
- Make way for water to move. I am often out in the garden snooping around during rain to see what is happening. How can the water drain from this garden or area? I sometimes carry a shovel along to make a quick trench for water to escape. Sounds crazy—but you learn a lot when it is raining. Although many of you know I am married to a plumber, I was like this even before I met this guy that is as crazy about moving water as I am!
- Flower support netting. If it is important enough to you to plant it, you can protect it with netting it. The netting keeps the plants, stems and heavy blooms from tumbling during rain storms.
- Cut Flowers. If you know that rain is coming harvest all that is ready before it starts. Although rain can damage open blooms, it’s the bloom getting heavy with rain that causes the troubles—they go down, sometimes even when netted.
- Plan/ think about next year’s garden based on heavy rain events now. I changed what I plant and where I plant it based on the water situation in any given area.
Hope this helps you keep your cool during rainstorms, it has worked wonders for me!
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .
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