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Normally about this time of year, I would be making my first awesome batch of homemade tomato sauce. But this year, I simply don’t have enough ripe tomatoes for that yet, and most of them are still very green. And as much as I love snow peas, it just doesn’t seem right to still be harvesting them in late August.
Like many in North America, I am living in an area that is experiencing an unusually rainy summer. And I must confess that it has thrown my gardening game off quite a bit. The veggies are behind, and the weeds are ahead.
In the right amounts, rain is a blessing to the home gardener. However, excessive amounts of rain can cause major damage, including plant diseases, soil erosion, and flooding. If you, too, are experiencing an over-abundance of rain, you know wet weather gardening can be a challenge. After all, it’s not like you can really run outside and put a giant umbrella over your entire garden every time it rains.
There are, however, a few things that you can do that may help.
Wet Weather Gardening Tip #1: Watch For Flooding
During heavy rains, any areas that are not draining properly should be easy to spot. If plants are allowed to stand in water for any length of time it can lead to root rot. If you do notice areas that are prone to flooding, find ways to drain water away from your garden. This can be done using rock beds or even using plastic water drains.
Wet Weather Gardening Tip #2: Examine Plants
Heavy rains and thunderstorms can cause plant damage, and extended periods of wet weather can lead to plant diseases such as powdery mildew. After a severe storm, check your plants for damage. If only a few leaves have been damaged, you can remove them, or if a plant has been bent over from the force of the rain, you may be able to stake it back up. Unfortunately, if the main stem has snapped, it is likely that the plant is a loss. If wet weather has been persisting, it can lead to plant diseases caused by fungi or bacteria. These should be treated as soon as they are discovered.
Also, remember to check the base of the plants to see if soil erosion has exposed any roots. If it has, you should cover them with soil or compost. Left exposed, the roots can dry out, which can seriously harm or even kill the plant.
Wet Weather Gardening Tip #3: Replenish Nutrients
Rain and flooding can carry much-needed nutrients away from your vegetable plants. After severe storms, it is a good idea to replace those nutrients by adding compost or an organic fertilizer to your soil.
Wet Weather Gardening Tip #4: Tread Lightly
If the soil has become waterlogged, walking on it can make it worse, as the soil becomes compacted. Avoid walking on very wet soil as there is a chance that doing so could damage the roots of your plants.
Wet Weather Gardening Tip #5: Don’t Forget Weeds, Water, And Slugs
Some weeds can become very prolific during rainy weather and can choke out your vegetables.
Turn over – or better yet, completely remove – any containers, wheelbarrows, etc., that can collect rainwater, as these can quickly become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests. And remember to be vigilant against slugs who love moist places to hide while they munch away on your lettuce.
Wet Weather Gardening Tip #6: Make The Most Of It
Finally, if you, too, are living in a part of the country that has had more than its fair share of rain this year, take advantage of the positives and make the most of it. After all, what other choice do we have?
Wet weather gardening has had a few benefits in my own garden. It means that we have zucchini galore! And weeds, while they seem to be much more abundant this year than they have been in drier years, are at least easier to pull from the damp soil.
And finally, I do know that in the worst case scenario – that being that the really cold weather starts to arrive before my tomatoes and peppers ripen, that at least those are crops that I can pick green and allow to ripen inside. Maybe not ideal, but still better than store-bought!
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Herb Spirals: The Best Way To Grow Maximum Plants In Minimum Space
How do you garden in extremely wet weather? Share your tips in the comments section below.