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Top tips for wet-weather gardening

Rain, they say is the gardener’s best friend. Without moisture plants and vegetables will wither and die. However, rain is only a ‘friend’ if it falls in the right amounts. Too much rain and gardeners are likely to be facing problems, with significant garden damage ranging from plant disease and soil erosion to flooding. Faced with an over-abundance of rain, there’s not much gardeners can do to prevent plant damage. They can’t exactly run outside and put a giant umbrella over the garden. Never the less there are certain things gardeners can do to look after their plants when heavy rain falls.

Here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top tips for wet-weather gardening.

Watch for localised 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.

Carefully tend and examine plants

  • Heavy rain and thunderstorms can cause significant plant damage. What compounds the problem is that extended periods of wet weather can also lead to plant diseases like powdery mildew. After a heavy downpour, check your plants for damage. If only a few leaves have been damaged, you can remove them: if a plant has been bent over by the force of the rain you may still be able to stake it back up. Unfortunately, it the main stem has snapped, it is likely that the plant is lost.
  • If the wet weather is prolonged, it can lead to plant diseases caused by fungi or bacteria. These should be treated as soon as they are discovered.
  • It’s also important to 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.

Replenish Nutrients

  • Rain and flooding can wash away much-needed nutrients away from your plants and vegetables. After heavy or persistent rain it is a good idea to replace those nutrients by adding compost or an organic fertilizer to your soil.

If your garden soil is waterlogged then tread lightly

  • If soil has become waterlogged, walking on it will only make it worse, as you run the risk of compacting the soil. What’s more if you walk on wet soil there is a chance that doing so could damage the roots of your plants.

Weeds, Water and Slugs 

  • Some weeds can become very prolific during rainy weather and can choke out your specimen plants and vegetables. Deal with the weeds as and when you see them and try to keep on top of them. The longer you leave them; the more prolific they’ll get.
  • Upend – or better still, completely remove – any containers, and wheelbarrows that can collect rain water. These can quickly become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.
  • Be vigilant against slugs. They love damp and moist places and will decimate plants and crops if left unchecked. Pick slugs and snails off plants when you see them. They are usually at their most active from twilight onwards, so get out in your garden with a torch if necessary and remove them. If you have severe problems then use a proprietary slug killer to deal with any slug infestation.

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?

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