Battling the Elements in Your Garden


| 8/22/2013 10:05:00 AM


Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, Mother Nature seems to hold a grudge against our gardens. We can begin to feel like Goldilocks, waiting for the “just-right” conditions in which to thrive. Here are some tips on how to thwart the weather and encourage a healthy garden in spite of the elements.

storm
Storms bring standing water that can drown an unprepared garden.

Water

TOO LITTLE: In arid climates, water is precious. In drought conditions, there might be caps on how much water you’re allowed to use in your yard. To reduce water waste, water at night when it’s cool and the sun won’t evaporate it away. Also place your more delicate plants in a shady spot where you’ll see them every day; you’ll notice when they begin to wilt. For your planters, try using coco liners to better retain moisture in the soil.

But if you want to make your yard more amenable to dry spells, try embracing your climate by using native plants, particularly in desert areas like Arizona. One good option is xeriscaping: the practice of gardening using as little water as possible with strategic irrigation. Hardy plants like cacti and creosote do well in dry areas, require little to no irrigation, and can be quite beautiful.

TOO MUCH: Sitting water with nowhere to drain is death to almost any ground-living plant because roots rot when over-saturated. If your yard is in danger of flooding, dig strategic ditches surrounding your garden to give the water somewhere to go. If you have an incline in your yard, try not to plant too much at its base as it will be harder to manage the overflow.



Some gardeners don’t mind going out in the rain. I, myself, like water about as much as the next cat, so I’ve bought some pole-standing tents to put over my walkway and beds seasonally. They protect me and my plants from heavy rains.



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