Aside from prayer, there is really not much we can do about the weather. We’re at the mercy of the elements. Or are we?
While we may not be able to make it rain, stop the rain, divert the tornado or avoid the hurricane bearing down on us, we can protect our gardens from most of the major problems inclement weather that may be forecasted for us.
I’ve traveled a lot. I grew up a Navy brat when I was little then traveled a lot professionally. I have been smack dab in the middle of just about every weather related natural disaster including: 6 Typhoons in Guam, 4 Tornadoes in Wichita Falls, TX, I think 7 Hurricanes in several Texas towns, Earthquakes in CA, Ice Storms, Dust Storms, floods, drought, hail, and so on and so forth. I think the only thing I haven’t actually lived through is an avalanche, another reason not to move to Lillehammer.
Although some things will come up that we can neither predict nor control, we can take steps to protect our gardens and growing spaces from most of the heavy hitting weather anomalies. I know I can’t address them all, but I want to cover a few.
There are few things more frustrating than waking up to blown over plant containers and trellis’. The painstaking knots of the nylon lashings lying in a heap of vines, compost and leaves. This is where a little planning before you plant can really help. This is what I do to help circumvent this annoyance.
I use the same method you use to put up a tent. I get tent stakes from a sporting store and use strong nylon lashings.
I have a bit of an unusual living situation. We live on a peninsula on a lake. Surrounded on three sides by Lake Palestine. When I check my weather forecast we often get Warning Alerts for Lake Wind Advisories. When we first moved here I completely ignored these. I wasn’t going out on the lake in a small craft, so what did it matter to me, right?
Well after a while I realized that this warning was meant for me as well. When I see lake wind advisory warnings now I know I need to take the hanging plants off of their hooks, check the lashings on the cucumber staking and secure any tall profile container plantings. You know the weather patterns in your area, adjust your gardening precautions as best you can to avoid garden destruction.
I know that there could be the strange, river over the banks situation that no one can predict or prepare for, this is not the kind of flooding I mean.
I do understand that sometimes we are given no choice where we put the garden, it’s here or nowhere. If you do have a little latitude, watch what happens to the land after a heavy rain. Does the water puddle or pool in certain places? You can till this area, and add organic materials and even a couple bags of stone or sand to help the soil drain better. You can even dig a trench leading from these areas to your garden areas, actually providing irrigation from an area that already wants to hold water to an area that needs water. I like that. For flooding, preparing pre-planting prevents floundering following floods.
Other people have very elaborate hail prevention contingencies. Mine is old school and my son says, redneck. I have a few salvaged sheets of fiberglass roofing panels and some roadside find tin sections. If hail is forecast or a spring shower gets a little rambunctious zip tie them to my pvc stakes already in place. I will say, unless the hail is exceptionally large, usually it won’t do too much damage. If the hail is abnormally large, there is really very little you’ll be able to do about it, bummer. Luckily these conditions are not normally present very often.
This is definitely an area that will be subject to your individual growing region. If you live in Arizona, you deal with this more than we do here in East Texas. However…with the fluctuating jet stream, anyone can find themselves in a drought situation where they never had before. There are some things you can do to offset these conditions.
East Texas is having severe drought conditions. I’m told it’s the worst it has been in 150 years. It was just waiting for me to move here. Seriously, I have had to get really creative with water to do the things I want to do. However, I have found that having to think creatively has actually awarded me with bonuses I would have missed out on had I simply turned on the spigots.
For example, I use a couple 10 gallon sport drink dispensers I had for the soccer, baseball, scouting days of our families history and fill them at the lake. I use this water once or sometimes twice a week in place of running the drip system. Let me tell you, my plants love the lake water. I feel quite certain that there are natural fish and other trace elements that the fresh lake water has that give my garden a nice boost. If you have access to a fresh water source this is something you might consider.
Invest in a rain barrel. I know these can be pricey, but that’s why I said invest in one. Plants love rain. Have you ever noticed after a good soaking rain your plants just look like they’re smiling? Even if they get plenty of water via you, they just love the God given elixir the best. A rain barrel will give them what they want more often than without one. It’s good to conserve our resources also. Good for the environment, good for the plants, good for the pocket book, that’s a good thing.
Finally, if you know beforehand that drought could be an issue for you, choose plants that are more tolerant to dry conditions. Even water hog cucumbers and melons have varieties that will do just fine should the summer prove to be arid.
I know this hasn’t been as fun as some posts are so lets see a few products to make it a little paisley.
A copper rain chain is beautiful and functional leading to your rain barrel.
There are many decorative rain barrels on the market. Find one that suits your personality. From the artsy to the rustic or something in between, you can find it all.
Have a sunny with a chance of paisley day!~KeriAnne