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Garden prep tips… before disaster hits

From Tropical Storm/Hurricane Beryl to simultaneous earthquakes, the uncertainty of what comes next for the rest of 2024 has us all concerned. Natural disasters are major events caused by the Earth’s natural forces that can result in considerable damage and even the loss of life. No location on Earth is immune from a natural disaster; however, certain types of disasters are often limited to or occur more frequently in specific geographic regions.

It is important to differentiate between a natural hazard and a natural disaster. They are related but are not the same. A natural hazard is the threat of an event that will likely have a negative impact, while a natural disaster is the negative impact following the actual occurrence of a natural hazard, significantly harming a community.

In our twin islands, we face hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, mud volcanoes, storms, and hurricanes. The 2024 wet season started off very active, and it is predicted that more of these events will occur as the year progresses. This means consistently rising vegetable prices as the deteriorating weather conditions will negatively impact crop production cycles.

As we prepare for the months ahead, here are some tips we can adopt in our gardens in the event of severe rain, flooding or even a storm or hurricane:

Use Mulch: Mulch can help reduce the impact of wind and heavy rain on the soil surface and prevent erosion. You can add a ring of mulch around trees to protect them during storms and help retain soil moisture.

Shelter your potted plants: Potted plants can be vulnerable during storms. Before the storm, move them into the corner or alongside the house. Tie the pots together. Bring small plants or hanging baskets inside the house temporarily.

Harvest your fruits and vegetables: If you have a vegetable garden or a fruit tree, harvest everything that is ready before the storm hits.

Do not water, fertilise or spray pesticides before the storm: Never water your plants before a storm as you  run the risk of the soil becoming saturated,  making it easy for the wind to pul your plants up by their roots. Fertilising and spraying are also not a good idea as it will easily run-off when the heavy rains start.

Prune and trim branches: Before the storm, prune and trim the trees if you can. For severe storm preparations, stake your smaller trees by driving stakes into the ground either side of the trunk, leaving a little bit of wiggle room, and fastening them together with rope.

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