Gardening: Expert gives advice on caring for plants in a heatwave
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Rain offers a nice bit of breathing time for your garden in a country that’s not exactly used to the heat. Watering the garden is never an exact science, but it’s possible to work out how much water plants are getting, and from there calculate how much more they need from you if they’re to stay in good health. Here are some tips to follow for a glorious garden even when it’s been raining.
How to look after your plants when it’s been raining
You need to avoid water collecting in a pool anywhere in your garden, as this will potentially drown the nearby plants.
Make sure there is adequate drainage in your garden after it’s been raining.
Try and implement a proper runoff that slopes away from the garden, and, most importantly make sure it’s not blocked.
Remove damaged shoots and limbs
Before a rainstorm, remove any dead shoots and limbs from your plants to make them as streamline as possible and reduce the risk of snapping and tangling.
Support the taller plants
Heavy rain can put taller, less secure plants through their paces – especially when coupled with strong winds.
Push a wooden or metal support into the ground and gently tie it to the plant.
This will protect it from physical damage and prevent it from snapping.
Cover the most delicate plants
Use a waterproof covering like tarpaulin to cover young and fragile plants, including herbs and vegetables.
This is especially important to consider if the rain is hard and persistent.
One key thing to ensure is that the covering is slanted in the correct direction.
Doing this will ensure adequate drainage away from surrounding foliage, protecting them from drowning.
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Check your vegetable roots
Once the rain has stopped, it’s time to get out in the garden and check on your plants.
Make sure there are no exposed roots following soil erosion, as this is likely to kill the plants.
Recover them with soil or compost before they dry out and risk harming the plant.
Pots and planters can easily become flooded too if the drainage is compromised.
Check pots and planters before, during and after rain and cover if you feel it necessary.
Keep the slugs and snails at bay
Moist and wet conditions are absolutely heavenly for slugs and snails.
And remember that, in general, your garden does love the rain.
Pull up weeds by hand
The moist soil means you’re much more likely to retrieve the whole root without it snapping and breaking.
Contrary to popular demand, weeds are most successfully removed under these conditions.
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