Has rain been in your forecast a lot this summer? Extreme weather conditions such as excessive garden rain & humidity can be detrimental to your flower and vegetable gardens. The good news is that you can take steps to prevent damage if your region is prone to those conditions, and there are ways to mitigate the damage that occurs when this unsettling weather strikes.
Soggy weather might make your plants more sluggish and in need of more care, but it does not have to put a halt to your gardening season. Check out our tips and tricks for garden & pest management in excessive garden rain & humidity to help your garden over the hurdle.
Gardening In Excessive Rain
We all know how important water is for garden growth. Water is the foundation of life, and it is essential in the process of photosynthesis. Excessive amounts of garden rain, however, can flat-out damage plants in more ways than one.
Effects of Excessive Rain in the Garden
Not only does excessive rain put a damper on our outdoor summer fun, but it also has severe implications for our gardens.
Check out some of the common obstacles gardeners can face when heavy rains hit:
- Soil erosion: Plants need ample soil to thrive, and heavy rains can wash away essential soil, leaving roots exposed and damaged.
- Leaches Nitrogen Out of the Soil: Heavy rain can deplete the nutrients from the soil that are vital for photosynthesis.
- Root Loss: Healthy root systems are essential for plant growth.
- Puddling & Standing Water: Can lead to diseases like root rot due to a lack of airflow to plant root systems.
- Inadequate Sunlight: Cloudy summer days with excessive rain tend to block essential sunlight from gardens. This prevents vegetables and flowers from receiving the food they need to grow.
- Plant Breakage or Collapse: Storms and heavy rain can break stems, knock over plants, and shear foliage.
- Fungal diseases: Molds love nothing better than damp conditions, and once they start, they’re hard to stop.
- Increase in Slug Population: Ugh, those slugs! The slug population flourishes in rainy, damp weather. Slugs can do a lot of damage to plant leaves and stems. Keep an eye out and learn to stop snails and slugs after heavy rain.
- Lack of Gardeners’ Keen Eye on the Garden: Many rainy days and excessive rainfall can keep gardeners from visiting their gardens as frequently, leaving pests and diseases to take hold of plants.
- Cracked Fruits: Too much garden rain all at once can result in split tomatoes that burst at the seams.
Garden & Pest Management in Excessive Rain
Excessive rain in the garden can be a real downer, and the damage it causes can leave gardeners feeling overwhelmed and disheartened. However, keep your chin up, despite the unyielding rain. There are lots of things you can do in your garden to prevent damage if you expect heavy rains in your region and steps that you can take to mitigate the damage if heavy rains have battered your area.
- Consider incorporating some raised beds into your gardens. Raised beds allow for more drainage than in-ground garden beds during heavy rain.
- If you know your area is prone to heavy rain, planting your garden on mounds can help ensure that your plants won’t drown from standing water and wet feet.
- If planting your gardens in-ground in rows, mound up your rows so that your plants will remain on higher ground and away from pooling water.
- Strategically create a rain garden as a depressed, runoff area where water can collect away from your garden beds.
- Keep your plants healthy from the start by spacing plants appropriately, and watering, feeding, and fertilizing them so that they are more tolerant of stress.
- Mulch your garden beds in early spring. Mulch distributes the impact of heavy garden rain and can counteract soil compaction and ward off erosion.
- Try not to avoid your garden on rainy soggy days. Pests and diseases can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time without the watchful eye of gardeners. Keep an eye out for signs of damaged plants, pests, and disease.
- When dealing with slugs, beer traps will likely get washed out and diluted from excessive rain. Scouring your garden soil and plant leaves for slugs will be your best option for keeping populations at bay. You can also place boards around your garden. They like to hide in damp, dark spaces, like under boards, so you can capture a bunch at once.
- If tomato plants are drooping, you can add more soil heaped up around the plant. Tomato plants produce additional root shoots from their stems which can help revive the waterlogged plant.
- Remove leaves that are lower to the ground to reduce the spread of mold spores. Dispose of any diseased foliage completely and away from the garden or compost pile. If using clippers, disinfect them between plants so that you do not spread mold spores to healthy plants.
- If plants have overgrown their spaces, fallen over, are diseased, or prevent airflow to the rest of your garden, you may have to pull the plant to save its neighboring plants.
- Select fruiting plant varieties that are crack resistant. If fruits crack, harvest them and use them right away so that they do not invite pests to the garden.
Gardening In Humidity & Extreme Temperatures
When the sun does come out after excessive rainfall in midsummer or even if cloudy days continue to hover, you can pretty much bet that you will be experiencing a bout of high levels of hot, humid, sticky weather, depending on where you live.
High humidity means that there are high levels of water vapor in the air. Humidity makes hot temperatures more uncomfortable, but humid conditions also lead to some complicated issues in the garden.
When humidity levels are too high, air doesn’t circulate as freely around plants in the garden. Therefore plants cannot force water to evaporate or absorb essential nutrients from the soil. Plants can often succumb to fungal diseases, which can quickly decimate a garden.
Common Garden Pests & Disease Caused By Humidity
Unwelcome guests in any garden; fungal disease, mildew, and pests love damp, humid conditions, and they can propagate quickly to an uncontrollable level.
Some humidity craving troublemakers for gardeners include:
- Botrytis blight
Garden & Pest Management in Excessive Humidity
Humidity can be stifling for both gardeners and the plants that they grow. Do your best to examine your garden frequently to identify any fungal problems early, so that you can have the best chance at mitigating the problem.
- High humidity can be oppressive in the garden. Drink plenty of fluids, protect yourself from the sun and mosquitos, and try to do any garden work earlier or later in the day when temperatures are milder.
- Try to select native plants for your gardens. Native plants tend to adapt well to local weather patterns.
- Choose plants that are deemed to be more resistant to fungal disease and pests. You can find this information on the plant tag or seed packet.
- Maintain adequate spacing around your plants to create good air circulation.
- Pull plants that show signs of fungal disease and dispose of them entirely and away from your garden or compost pile.
- Pull out plants that are overcrowding other plants and inhibiting adequate airflow.
- Prune any diseased foliage with clean pruning shears so as not to contaminate healthy plants.
- Mulch your garden beds to help regulate temperatures and to keep soil-borne funguses at bay.
- Ensure that the plants you plant or purchase are appropriate for your USDA grow zone.
- Plant plants that thrive in humid conditions.
Recommended Plants for High Humidity Zones
If high humidity levels are prevalent in your area, you may want to change how and what you plant in the garden. Embrace your humid climate rather than fighting it by loading your garden up with plants that crave hot and humid conditions.
Here are some plants that thrive in the humidity: