While some parts of the world pray for rain to end droughts, other areas receive way too much precipitation. Some rain is good for plants, of course, but it can start to have detrimental effects when it compresses soil, depletes nutrients, and drowns root systems. To make sure that the arrival of a mini-monsoon doesn’t ruin your garden, you'll want to take these things into consideration well ahead of time:
Discover the Magic of Mulch
Mulch is great for combating soil erosion around the bases of plants. It's a loose material, so water can drip through it quickly, keeping your garden from being exposed to pockets of standing water for long periods of time. It's important to note that too thick a layer of much will do the opposite of this, trapping the water and preventing it from draining away. A thinner layer of mulch will also work best to keep muddy soil from splashing up onto the plants themselves.
Rejuvenate Your Soil with Slow-Release Plant Food
Even with great compost and fertilizer, many of the nutrients that plants need can still seep out of the soil when exposed to too much rain or even over-watering. Water soluble plant foods are especially problematic during these times, so you'll want to use a slow-release formula like the one developed by Osmocote. The resin coating around each granule keeps the nutrients from quickly washing away in the rain, but it's still porous enough for your plants to receive the NPK that keeps them thriving and growing strong. Best of all, it only needs to be worked into the soil once every four months, which means less work for gardeners and far less nutrition loss for plants. It’s also best for the environment, since nutrients aren’t lost in the runoff to our lakes and streams.
Keep an Eye Out for Diseased Leaves
Powdery mildew, fungi, and blights all thrive when the ground, leaves, and air are moist, so one of the best strategies for maintaining healthy plants is to look for signs of disease on a daily basis. If you see any signs, remove the affected leaves and and figure out how to treat the condition in question. Most fungi can be treated with store-bought fungicides. A few days of dry weather can also help combat the spread of these diseases.
Train Vines in Ways that Facilitate Air Flow
If left to themselves, many bushy and vine-based plants would grow into impenetrable tangles. Deliberately training tomatoes, squash vines, and flowers like morning glories along a fence, trellis, or stake will help facilitate airflow between their leaves. Even in very rainy conditions, this set-up will keep more of your plants dry, reducing their proneness to blight. Not only is this a better set-up for handling a week (or more) of heavy rain, but it also just looks nicer and offers more support to your climbing plants, especially those that bear fruit.
Slugs Aren't Slow in this Weather
Slugs will always move slowly, but they do love wet weather, so keep an eye out for them if it starts to rain! While these pests aren't exactly uncommon in the garden, a big outbreak of them can mean bad news for your crops and plant leaves. The good news is that there are plenty of traps available if the problem ever gets out of control. Usually, good mulching and a few slug-deterrent plants are more than enough to keep these slowpokes at bay.
Take Steps to Avoid Compaction
As soil gets inundated with water, it is often made more compact, with fewer pockets of air between each particle for roots to take advantage of. One of the best ways to prevent this is to avoid walking on muddy garden soil, which would only tamp it down further. Modifying your soil with sand or peat moss has also been known to help with compaction, and aerating the soil before planting each year can help you start things off on the right foot.
Make Good Drainage a Priority
Certain patches of land get more standing water than others simply because water flows downhill. To keep your plants from swimming in puddles, use raised beds or mounds to elevate them above the rest of the ground. Even looking around your yard and putting only your most water-sensitive plants in beds can make a big difference. Plants in the "valleys" of your garden are more prone to root rot, so try your best to put moisture-loving varieties in those areas during the dry season.
By keeping a vigilant eye on your garden and periodically using slow-release plant food to keep the soil from becoming nutrient-depleted, you can avoid the worst dangers of excess rain and instead reap its benefits. When handled correctly, a year with abundant rainfall can yield some excellent fruits and vegetables in your garden.