Is your veggie garden struggling after this random burst of wet weather in Edmonton? Usually, rainfall is a big win for veggie gardens, but this has been a little extreme! Someone needs to tell Mother Nature to cool her jets a bit, cuz we’ve got a bit of work to do so our vegetable gardens don’t drown from the torrential downpours.
Plants usually aren’t big fans of soggy, waterlogged soil, but if you get in there quick enough and make the conditions a little more comfortable, your summer veggie garden won’t be a lost cause. To help your garden bounce back from Alberta’s latest monsoon season, go through this checklist and complete all the tasks!
Reduce Compaction And Aerate Your Soil
When the rain beats down on your soil, not only does it get totally soggy, but it gets packed down like clay and becomes dense, sticky, and messy. Loose, loamy soil is crucial for maintaining good drainage, and without proper drainage, you end up with stagnant water hanging around your plant roots. This ultimately leads to every gardener’s worst enemy: root rot.
To improve compaction, use an aerator to remove soil plugs from the ground. Alternatively, you could use a dowel rod to drive holes into the soil. This not only loosens things up, but it helps to dry out the soil faster. When working in the garden, try to avoid stepping in the wet, muddy parts as much as possible, as this will only worsen the compaction.
Turn Off Any Irrigation Systems
This should go without saying, but if your garden is seriously overwatered from rain, you definitely don’t want to keep watering it. If you have an automatic irrigation or sprinkler system that runs on its own timer, turn them off, so you don’t end up drowning out your plants. In the future, to save yourself the trouble, you can use a digitally enhanced irrigation system that’s connected to a moisture detector in the soil. It’s pretty high-tech for a garden tool, but the nerd in me is totally geeking out over this futuristic gardening hack.
Mix In Organic Matter And Apply Mulch
All that rain can pack down your soil quite a bit, while also draining out a lot of the nutrients and healthy bacteria that your plants need to thrive. Mixing in some organic material like compost will help to bring back that lighter, loamier soil texture, while also adding in a generous supply of soil nutrients. Adding in a bit of sand can also help to break up the clay and give your soil a major drainage boost.
After mixing up the soil, apply a layer of mulch made from a natural material like pine bark. Make sure it isn’t coated with chemical colourants because the rain can cause those chemicals to leach into the soil and contaminate your plants. We don’t want that! Keep it organic and all-natural. Mulch helps to maintain proper moisture levels and soil temperature, while also helping to block out weeds. Weeds can be a lot more vigorous after heavy rain, so you may need to get out there and do some extra weed pulling!
Check Leaves For Mildew And Fungus
Moist, dark environments are breeding grounds for bacteria, and if you’ve got any plants with dense foliage, a lot of that rainwater can get trapped. Go through your plants and see if there are any leaves with light, powdery fungus, or dark coloured spots. If you see any affected leaves, remove them immediately with disinfected pruning shears. Dispose of the diseased leaves and stems in the garbage, not the compost bin, and clean off the blades with an alcohol wipe between every cut to prevent further spread.
Be On The Lookout For Slugs And Pests
A soggy, muddy garden is an absolute paradise for slugs and other creepy crawlies that feast on our plants. Trap slugs by placing small saucers of beer around your garden, and help to keep them out by sprinkling crumbled eggshells around the base of your plants. While you’re at it, check the undersides of your plants’ leaves to see if anything is camping out under there. Pick off caterpillars and beetles by hand, and if you notice any smaller pests or eggs, use a castile soap spray to kill them off.
For all the tools and supplies you need to help your veggie garden return back to its former glory, visit Salisbury or order from us online! We still have curbside pickup and citywide delivery available for those who aren’t big on in-store shopping. In the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed for some hot and sunny days ahead!