Garden tips for wet weather
If you live in Sydney, like me, you would have noticed the never-ending rain we have been experiencing; this is great for the gardens as it was getting a bit dry in the soil but not so great for getting outside to enjoy the garden. There are a few steps we can take to make the most of this free water.
If your soil has not had any compost in it for a while, wait for a break in the rain and mix some through. This really helps with the water holding capacity of the soil and will make sure the soil holds onto the rain for as long as possible. You can buy this in bags at the hardware store for about $10.00 a bag or in bulk for about $80.00 a cubic metre.
Make sure your mulch is topped up. Mulch really helps to slow the rate of the water entering the soil so it is less likely to run off and go straight down the drain. Mulch also really helps to lock moisture into the soil. In an average soil the rain will stay around for about a month if the top is covered in 75mm of mulch. This can also be bought in bags for about $15.00 or in bulk for about $50.00 a cubic meter. Straw mulch is a great way to add some organic matter to the soil without disturbing any roots but it does break down a lot quicker than other type of mulch.
Turn off irrigation systems. There is no point adding extra water to the soil if it’s not needed so make sure your irrigation timers are set to rain delay. Rain sensors are a great way to eliminate the need for manually doing this and can be picked up at the hardware store. Don’t forget to turn the system back on when the rain stops, you can wait a good three weeks before most plants will need water again.
Check that your water tank is working properly. All this rain is great so make sure your gutters aren’t blocked and the water is being stored properly in your water tanks.
On a dry day fill your empty beds with mustard seeds. By sowing mustard greens seeds in your empty garden beds it not only fills them with something green but will improve the soil in spring. Allow the seeds to germinate and grow over the winter (they will love the rain). Come spring just dig them through the soil and leave them to rot down. This adds organic matter to the soil and really boosts it nitrogen content so the next plants that go in the bed will be lovely and green.