South Eastern Victoria has had about a Summer’s worth of rain in the past week, according to weather services. It’s great to have an end to the drought at last. Perhaps we didn’t need such an emphatic end in Qld though.
Heavy rain and humidity bring their own management issues in the garden. Here’s some thoughts for gardening after the rain and planning for future rainfall management:
If your cucumbers, zuccinis or pumpkins are showing signs of white mildew, spraying them with a mixture of one part milk and four parts water will help clear that up.
Sand layers and swales of sand along land contour lines can help direct and drain water, so you have it around for later when you need it. Break up steep flows with “gabions” of rocks to minimise erosion. Plant trees along the contours to reduce erosion and secure the earthworks.
Keyline dam systems will also help reduce the impact of flood and drought. They store water higher on the land and maintain good, deep soil too.
Have a look where water is collecting and standing on the ground. These can be good spots for ponds. A clean pond beneficial for wildlife and ecosystems. Ponds can also be used to catch and filter kitchen or laundry water for the garden.
Having shallow edges on a pond makes it more friendly for amphibians. Frogs will keep mozzie numbers down.
Avoid having fertiliser and runoff draining directly into ponds. Too much soil or nutrients in the water will produce a pea soup of algae. Planting reeds or herbs along the drainage can filter runoff water.
Rain brings out snails and bugs. A half jar of beer set into the ground is a great snail trap that won’t poison birds, lizards or pets. Spraying a “tea” of garlic and chilli on veggie patches after the rain is useful for deterring bugs.
While the soil is soft from rain is a good time for digging new veggie beds, turning in compost, manure or mulch, or starting a compost pit. Compost heaps can get very hot after they’ve been damp so you may want to turn them over for a bit of air. If compost is too wet it can become acidic.
Mulch around trees and veggies after the rain to help prevent them drying out after the sun comes out. Don’t put the mulch up against tree trunks though as it can encourage fungus and mildew.