When the rain comes! | Daily News

When the rain comes!

In August 2017, the Atacama desert in Chile, widely referred to as the world’s driest desert, experienced a truly breathtaking phenomenon. After a surprise heavy rainstorm showered the region, thousands of colorful flowers bloomed to blanket its surface. It was a magnificent sight. This is the power of rain. In a similar way your home garden can become a place of beauty with fruits and vegetables in abundance if it receives just the right amount of rain. Just like fruit juice is a nectar to us, rain in correct quantities is vital for plants. Green Thumbs speaks to Co- Founder Green Care Organic, Brand development and export consultant, Udara Rathnayake on how to deal with too much rainfall and how to take advantage of it.

In a home garden you need to be very careful that the rain does not wash away your hopes of having a thriving home garden. “Yes, sometimes too much of rain will destroy your food chain and the bio diversity. Because some birds and butterflies will fly away from the garden because of the heavy rain and also some of the worms may die,” said Rathnayake.

We know that butterflies play a number of roles in the ecosystem and in our home garden. They act as a pollinator and as a food source for other species. Nearly 90 percent of all plants need a pollinator to reproduce and the butterfly makes this happen. So the last thing you want is for these butterflies to abandon your home garden. So as a gardener, you can help butterflies during stormy weather by making sure your garden has places for them to seek shelter. Trees (dead or alive), tall grasses, and even rock piles provide great places for butterflies to hide during bad weather. Butterflies also use these shelters at night, when they rest. This is also how they protect themselves from strong winds. If your Home Garden is running smoothly then you want it to keep on functioning automatically right?

New members!

“However remember some invisible and visible members will come into your garden because of the rain. It will be a natural habit and your home garden food chain will develop through these newcomers. But you have to make sure that you use proper methods to welcome these newcomers into your home garden and that means not adding artificial chemicals,” stated Rathnayake.

A word of warning! Slugs and snails come into your home garden during the rain! They are frequently seen in gardens during or after a rainfall, munching away on plants, fruits and vegetables. So you have your work cut out for you! Too much rain spells doom for the earthworms. Frogs and toads prefer a cool, wet, dark environment. They are busiest after a steady rainfall, making a meal out of earthworms who crawl out of the water-logged soil for air.

She added that our plants love rain and, after the dry season it is very refreshing. However, heavy rains and heavy winds can do a lot of harm to your home garden, sometimes causing damage to your trees and plants. So when there is heavy rain, either you can keep these plants inside or give them a proper support structure that will assist the plants during these times. Plants can be anchored using 2 to 3-foot stakes pounded about 20 inches into the ground. Stakes should be angled away from the plant before twine is tied to the plant and attached to the stakes.

Adequate drainage

“To avoid water collecting in your home garden and potentially drowning the nearby plants you have to make sure there is adequate drainage. Make sure there is a proper runoff that slopes away from that garden and most importantly make sure it is not blocked. Also, you can use good covers to protect your harvest. You can use waterproof covers such as polythene or tarpaulin,” pointed out Rathnayake.

Smaller plants can be easily damaged or even wiped out during inclement weather. Fortunately, smaller plants are easier to protect. Cover your plants with overturned pots, bowls, buckets, or other appropriately-sized containers to keep them from suffering wind and rain damage. Be sure to weigh down the coverings in order to hold them in place–rocks, cement blocks, and bricks will work just fine.

We need to keep in mind that the soil can’t absorb too much of water. After it has reached its limit the water can gather, flooding your plants and washing the seeds away. Weeds can also grow rampant. It’s even difficult for you to get into your garden and tend to your plants without sinking several inches in the mud. Unfortunately, you may end up with stunted plants after too much rain. Some of the plants like to grow with less water content and those plants can’t survive with too much of water.

It is safe to use water collected from rain barrels in your hydroponic system. Unlike tap water, rainwater does not contain added chlorine or chloramines. In addition, rainwater does not contain as many dissolved minerals as tap water. Finally, rainwater is slightly acidic which makes it well-suited for plant growth.

Be prepared

“Hydroponics growing system is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants, usually crops without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions. It may be grown with only the roots exposed to the nutritious liquid. In addition the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates. Also, through the hydroponic system you can save more water as you can connect this system to your fish tank or indoor pool. You can try any kind of vegetables such as tomatoes, green chili, lettuce and any kind of salad leaves. Also it can save you garden space as well,” said Rathnayake

Saween Karunanayaka’s interest in hydroponic cultivation developed after accidently seeing it on YouTube. After watching several videos about hydroponic cultivation units, he drew his own hydroponic system. Together with his parents’ assistance he developed the plan further. In five days he completed the project. He encourages other young people to also do this as a hobby since it is very rewarding.

Monsoon rain can beat down on your garden and you need to be prepared. The strong wind combined with relentless rain can rip even the oldest trees down along with your small plants. So you can trim your trees before it rains.

You can also keep your potted plants closer to a wall. You can manage your flood water while keeping an eye on soil erosion.