The Southwestern part of the United States is no stranger to droughts over the last few years. It seems every summer we are in the midst of a record-breaking drought that slows agricultural production and dries out our gardens and lawns. With the shifting of seasons finally upon us, we’ve seen quite an influx in rainfall over the past few weeks. While the rain is fantastic for regions in need, it also presents an opportunity for hobbyists and home gardeners to avoid over-watering, amend their soils, and possibly store water for future dry spells and droughts.
If the weather forecast says rain is on the horizon, consider tilling dried out patches in your garden or lawn. Churning the soil will give you a leg up on soil aeration before rainfall.
Keep an eye out for over-watered areas that aren’t draining well after a rainstorm. Flooded plants can have their roots damaged as a result of too much exposure to water. Not only does flooding affect their ability to retain moisture in the future, it also can kill off the microbes and other small organisms in the soil that are helping keep the ecosystem flourishing. Chances are these spots are full of clay-based soil. Adding organic matter from a Bokashi compost kit will help improve the soil’s moisture retention and draining properties so your plants don’t get flooded every time it rains.
Similarly to flooded areas, be on the lookout for areas that seem to drain too fast. You might have sandy soil on your hands. Compost can also aid in making those areas retain water for the proper amount of time so your plants get the nourishment they need.
Purchase one or multiple rain barrels. Installed under a gutter’s downspout, a rain barrel is a great way to harness and store rainwater for future use. A heavy duty, plastic barrel complete with a screen top to filter out debris and a spigot to pour out water in small amounts will allow you to distribute it evenly over your garden when needed. Just make sure you cap off the barrel when it is full so as to avoid overflowing, mosquito infestations, and stagnation!
While the rain around the country is heavily needed and thoroughly appreciated by plants and humans alike, it doesn’t mean we should stop taking care of our crops and gardens. By maintaining proper soil amendment and moisture levels, your lawn or garden can flourish long after the rains have gone.