Garden Challenges: Cold and wet weather

You may design the perfect garden and enrich the soil to prepare the best environmental growing space possible but if the weather decides to be temperamental, gardening takes on new challenges. After planting and planning a garden you want to see it thrive and grow. Cucumber in the grass
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lorri37

Both drought conditions in gardening and cool damp weather creates their own growing problems but with planning you can head off possible challenges that would slow down your crop production and beauty in the flower gardens.

This year my growing climate started out dry and warmer than normal, now I have moved into nights that are too cool and damp weather. I also live in a zone 5 growing zone so my growing season is shorter than most to begin with.

Here are a few ideas that have helped me keep my gardens warmer and drier in those cool summers.

Grow you crops and flowers in raised beds. Raised beds dry out faster, warm up quicker in the spring and can be built in such a way as to place a cover over the garden to keep rain off the plants and soil if you really are suffering from too much rain. (Plants that have too much rain will start to have yellow leaves, thin out and look unhealthy)

If your garden is already planted you may want to add a raised bed for plants and crops that are not doing well and replant or plant container planters. Container gardens can be moved onto porches if there is too much rain. I also have made mini tents to cover my containers when I have had wet cold summers.

Cover your crops with plastic or if you growing zone is short you may want to consider using a mini greenhouse for certain plants. I grow a few tomatoes, peppers, most of my gourds and a variety of flowers in a greenhouse n the summer. I can start these plants earlier and grow them late into the fall.

If your garden has a problem draining put in a small drainage channel with a hoe or spade to re-direst water. One year we had too much rain in the summer and I put in mini ditches in the garden. It helped.

I also let my nephew have a section on the lower garden for playing with his farming toys. It tended to be a little moister in that area and one day after a heavy rain while he was playing he hit water with his toy backhoe, which he thought was funny. I wasn’t quite as impressed at the time.

Black plastic will keep the soil warmer and will keep some of the water off the soil. I am not that much of a fan or plastic on soil but my neighbors have used it and seem to like the results.

The main thing to remember if you have too much water is to try and keep the soil dry and additional rain off if possible. And if cool temperatures exist at the same time covering with clear plastic to hold in heat in the evening and to keep additional rain off will help.

Usually a cool wet spell will pass in a few weeks and if you can keep the plants healthy during this time they will flourish later.

Also with flowers, make sure to deadhead the old blossoms. In cool weather they will get wet and rot which may lead to plant disease.

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