Too Much of a Good Thing: Rain


It’s another misty, wet morning, likely to be followed by more rain.  It’s rained at least 1/2″ here every day for over a week, with some days around  1 1/2″  The official total says 5″ in the last week, which isn’t an excessive or unusual amount for our region and our rainfall for the year is now only 3″ above average.  Unfortunately the wet weather just hasn’t let up.  Mosquitos celebrate.  Foliage is not given a chance to dry off and saturated soils are too wet for many plants.  Some of you may even be experiencing ponding and erosion.  That gives you a project for this fall: improve drainage and keep your bare soil covered as much as possible so your precious topsoil doesn’t wash away.

Saturated soils deprive plants of oxygen and encourage shallow root growth.  Oxygen deprived plants wilt, leaves turn yellow, growth is stunted and some plants may even die if the situation is not resolved within a reasonable time frame.  Fruits linger on the plant, but don’t ripen.  Plants producing mature seed for the next crop begin to rot instead of finishing up high quality seed.  I am a little concerned about my garlic which is not quite ready for harvest.

Wet foliage brings its own problems, as does bare soil splashing up on plants.  It’s a ripe breeding ground for all kinds of fungal diseases, and not just on leaves where it is often an annoyance and cosmetic issue, but on plant stems and fruit.  My asparagus beans are eaten up with Septoria leaf spot already, and it’s going to get worse when the rain finally stops and the sun steam bakes everything.  My tomato plants are well trimmed up off the ground, so I am hopeful they will avoid blight.  There is no single effective cure for all fungal diseases.  (Please do NOT spray your plants with vinegar or bleach!)  If a garden check shows brown, red or black spots on plants, orange or white fuzzy growths or white powdery film, identify the fungal disease first, then seek an appropriate targeted remedy.

With any luck, we will be back to a typical summer weather pattern by this weekend: hot, humid and the occasional pop-up thunderstorm.  We may feel waterlogged, but the deep soaking we’ve received is good for trees, shrubs and our watershed.  Many parts of the country experiencing an extended drought would be delighted to have our problem.


P.S. Those blueberries we were concerned about getting enough water a couple of weeks ago?  Yeah, they’re fine.  No more water hose for them.

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