Our gardens love rain and, after the warmer, dryer months, appreciate the healthy refreshment. However, when rain is heavy and accompanied by winds, it can be potentially harmful and ruin the hard work we have put into our borders throughout spring and summer.
A simple preventative measure is to protect the roots of your plants from weather damage by spreading mulch. A 3-inch layer around the root area will protect the plant from cold damage following heavy rain. Just keep the mulch at least 3 inches from the plant’s foliage.
Follow these tips to protect your garden before, during and after a downpour…
1. Remove damaged shoots and limbs
Before a rain storm, remove any dead shoots and limbs from your plants to make them as streamline as possible and reduce the risk of snapping and tangling.
2. Support taller plants
Heavy rain can put taller, less secure plants through their paces, especially when combined with strong winds. Push a wooden or metal support into the ground and gently tie the plant to it. This will protect it from the physical damage and prevent it from snapping.
To avoid water collecting in a pool anywhere in your garden and potentially drowning the nearby plants, make sure there is adequate drainage. Make sure there is a proper runoff that slopes away from that garden and, most importantly, make sure it is not blocked.
4. Cover the most delicate plants
Use a waterproof covering such as tarpaulin to cover young and fragile plants, including herbs and vegetables, if the rain if hard and persistent. Make sure the covering is slanted in the correct direction to ensure adequate drainage away from surrounding foliage.
5. Turn your compost
Ensure the entirety of your rich, nutritious compost is watered by mixing the damp with the dry under layers.
6. Check your vegetable roots
Once the rain has stopped, make sure there are no exposed roots following soil erosion. Recover them with soil or compost before they dry out and risk harming the plant.
7. Check your pots and planters
These can easily become flooded if the drainage is compromised. Check pots and planters before, during and after rain and cover if necessary.
8. Keep the slugs and snails at bay
Moist conditions are heaven to slugs and snails. Follow our tips on the natural ways to get rig of slugs.
And remember that, in general, your garden does loves the rain. In fact, a few plant varieties will flourish and the moist soil conditions allow us to tend to some weeding and planting issues. Try these…
9. Pull up weeds by hand
The moist soil means you are much more likely to retrieve the whole root without it snapping and breaking.
10. Pick lettuce
It will be sweet and tender after a good shower.
11. Make the most of your mint
This herb loves moist conditions and will make a lovely mint tea after a wet day.