Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > July 2015 > GARDEN TALK with DOUG - TOO WET?

GARDEN TALK with DOUG - TOO WET?

Before I get into my blog…how many of you have heard of the word PETRICHOR ( n. )?  I just learned of it recently.  It means the smell of earth after rain. 
                Here we are in mid-July and I am writing about being too wet.  Usually by this time of year I am talking to customers about how to be water wise and apply good watering practices in order to save their plants and gardens from drying up and dying.  Now, I am not complaining about all this rainfall.  I love having our rivers and reservoirs flowing and full.  But, there is a downside to all this rain that we need to be mindful.  Here are some tips to consider if your garden has been affected by all this rain.
  1.  Heavy rains often create long standing pools of water, breeding grounds for mosquitoes.  It only takes a few days for mosquito eggs to hatch.  So, be sure to empty any standing water that has collected in birdbaths, flowerpots, plant saucers, or buckets.  And, be a good neighbor and help them with emptying all standing water.  You want to minimize breeding sites in your immediate area.
  2. With all this rainfall our garden soil has become compacted.  Once we do dry out a little I would recommend hoeing the garden in order to loosen the compaction of the soil in order to allow oxygen to get into the soil and to the roots of the plants.
  3. Heavy rains over an extended period may leach available nutrients from the soil, especially nitrogen and potash.  Shrubs and trees should not be fertilized this time of year.  But, keep in mind this need of nutrients and use Espoma Holly Tone or Plant Tone in the late winter for their first feeding of the upcoming growing season.  However, do fertilize bedding plants and vegetable gardens, if needed.
  4. Snake alert!  Snakes may be forced out of their normal hiding place.  They may seek shelter in  other areas.  I have seen one copperhead snake by my back door and my next door neighbor killed a copperhead this past week.  Watch where you put your hands and feet when out gardening and pulling weeds.
  5. If you are concerned that your plants are too wet or in standing water, mulch should be pulled back from around plants so that sunlight and air can dry out the soil faster.
  6. Snails and slugs thrive and reproduce rapidly during wet conditions.  Both can be devastating to many of our shade loving perennials such as Hosta.  They can be removed by hand when seen, or captured in a bowl or tuna can half filled with beer that has been placed in a hole with the rim even with the soil surface.  Beer attracts the slug and it drowns in the container of brew.
So far this summer we are enjoying a great growing season with all this rain.  It would be nice if Mother Nature could be a little more conservative with all this rain and save some for August.  I want to experience petrichor in August.
Posted: 7/17/2015 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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