Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tips for Your Lawn and Garden After the Rain

Hello again,

Good friend Hammon Buck of Plants Unlimited sent this great email out a day or so ago. The following from Plants Unlimited gives many great tips on what to watch for and what to do in your garden after all this cold rain we have received. (I make a few comments in italics). Plants Unlimited is located in Rockport ME and is well worth a visit!

"1) AVOID tilling your gardens until the soil has dried. BE PATIENT and allow the soil to dry! Try to avoid walking right next to the plants while the soil is saturated. During this time plants, and root systems, are very vulnerable to damage from stepping on them. Walking near plants can also cause soil impaction, which can limit root growth. Compacted soil has less air for proper root development. This is not a big concern if you have a well designed raised bed garden where you can reach each plant without stepping near them.

2) AVOID mowing wet grass. Again, let the grass dry because mowing wet grass is very damaging to your lawnmower, uses more gas and also can compact the soil under your grass. When the grass dries, you might need to mow it twice if your grass is tall. First, set your mower fairly high and on the second mow, lower your blades. (Note: a higher grass setting is much healthier for your lawn as well!)

3) PREPARE for slugs and snails. They were beginning to appear before all this rain and now, they'll be out in full force.... (We recommend Slug Magic--an all natural but very safe product). Apply it now! Eliminate possible slug or snail hiding places. Slugs and snails love damp places that have hiding areas. Remove any boards, stones, or other items that are laying around in or around the garden.

4) After a very heavy rain you may need to replenish nutrients. Having heavy water runoff can carry nutrients from the soil. Make sure to replenish these nutrients with fish emulsion or an organic all-purpose fertilizer. (The natural foods last longest in the soil).

5) Keep an eye out for fungal or bacterial diseases. Damp, humid conditions are perfect for fungal and bacterial disease development. Diseases, such as powdery mildew, will spread very quickly in these conditions. Treat these diseases as soon as they are noticed. Waiting too long to act can mean serious trouble for your vegetable plants.

6) Keep an eye on emerging weeds. Weeds love to pop up soon after a storm. The sudden charge of moisture to the soil will encourage weeds to spring up almost overnight. Put down some type of mulch to prevent weeds and to help ease soil erosion.

7) Observe areas of poor drainage and low spots where water has collected in your yard and gardens. Can these problems be corrected with proper grading or drainage?

8) Look for exposed roots in newly planted vegetable or perennial gardens where the rain might have washed away the soil. Cover these roots with compost or soil.

9) Empty outside pot, saucers and containers that hold standing water. You'll eliminate mosquito breeding and also help your plants from being overwatered.

10) Clean out storm drains and any drainage ways in your yard. "

Thanks Hammon!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
May 22, 2011

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