The wet/rainy season has begun and I am sure we are all very happy that the rain is finally here. Our mountains are once again starting to look green from new grass growth, reservoirs can be replenished and overcast days are the best for getting outdoor jobs done.
According to the Met Office, Trinidad and Tobago’s rainy season will last from June until late December. By now, we know that Climate Change is a harsh reality and because of this our rainy season is going to be very active. We need to prepare ourselves for flash flooding, landslides and the possibility of a storm or hurricane.
We need to prepare as much as possible for the upcoming periods of rain, including preparing our garden. Here are some tips to help you manage your garden this rainy season:
Check all the drainage holes in your plant pots—Ensure that there is proper drainage for your plants by checking to see if the holes in your plant pots are clogged. Use the tip of a screw driver to unclog holes and avoid using trays under the pots. Too much water in your plant pots will rot the roots of your plants and cause fungus to thrive eventually killing your plant. For garden beds, try to raise the beds as high as possible.
Monitor the rain for watering cycles—The rule is, once it rains, not all plants may need water. Check the moisture of the soil in your plant pots before you give them additional water. If the soil is moist, do not water. However, even with heavy rainfall, there are some plants that may be canopied by others and miss the rainfall. These are the ones which you can give water to.
Secure tall plants—Heavy rainfall usually tends to bend taller plants. Using a metal rod, insert it firmly into the soil and tie the plant onto it for support. Avoid damaging the root system of the plant.
Manage weeds—After a generous downpour of rain, weeds will grow rapidly. Try to control them by manually removing the roots from the soil.
Use natural fertilisers—It is more effective to use natural fertigation during the rainy season. Fertilisers may wash out quickly hence slow releasing natural types are encouraged such as manure and compost.
Observe for frogs and toads—Frogs and toads should be allowed into your garden because they act as a biological control for insect pests. However, if you are a pet owner, remember dogs can get sick or even die from biting or eating them.
In coming columns, I will discuss crops that thrive well in heavy rains and offer more tips to get you by this rainy season.
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