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Paul James shares his solutions for dealing with heavy downpours of rain.
Tags:A Solution for Heavy Rains,dealing with heavy rain,gardening by the yard,heavy rains,hgtv,paul james,rain and your garden
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A Solution for Heavy Rains
Most of the time gardeners welcome rain especially when it comes in the form of gentle showers. It provides moisture to plants—their dirt clogged pores and as a cooling effect on them as well. But when it comes to a toad strangling—just like the ones that have taking place here at my place, fiercely everyday for the past few weeks. IT can cause real problems. The most obvious of which is flooding. In fact, just last night the area I’m standing in the right was above my shins in water. It is not that the nearby storm drains can’t handle a water flow. It’s just that the shear volume of water that fell two inches in one hour was more than the drains could drain.
As a result here at L-square, at least 30 bags where the mulch has washed out of my lawn and cleaning it up is never fun. The truth is I have spend a fair amount of time and a fare amount of money as well trying to resolve all kinds of drainage problems here in my yard and gardens. And while some of my efforts have paid off others haven’t.
For instance, this dry streambed at the front of my yard is worth pretty well. Water flows from one neighbor’s driveway into this channel like cut in the concrete and into a pipe that leads to the dry streambed and ultimately to a city drain. On the other side, water is directed into the two shoots and then into the dry streambed. This dry streambed which is actually started to wash out takes water from another neighbor’s backyard and then to another city drain which I covered with a decorative and functional bridge a few years back.
Here I went to the travel of installing drains to which I connected and then buried flexible pipe again to divert the water. But as you can see, the soil around the drains has washed out so badly but they do not really work all that well anymore. And finally this down spout is connected to a pipe that runs underground for about 150 feet all the way to the drain by the bridge so that my patio does not flood. There is a similar set up here, which prevents water from washing out my garden beds.
So obviously I have made attempts to deal with areas where a poor drainage is problem. But, when the rains come down hard and fast especially when the ground is already exaggerated by previous rains, new problems arise. And here’s the latest. I’ve recently built shipping and receiving area. A place where fork lifts could pull right out up and drop pallets of stones or mulch or whatever. And the surface I put down is crushed limestone which ordinarily sets up like concrete within a week or two. However, a few days after I finished this project, it rained cats and dogs. Not for one day but for ten days straight and the rushing water created little rivers that carried a boat load of the limestone out and on to my driveway. And now I’m faced with a huge mess.
Another area of concern is here at my koi pond. On the one hand and rainwater is good for a pond, but too much of it can upset the natural chemistry of the pond and water. For instance, I try to maintain a salt content at roughly 0.13 parts per million, it’s good for the koi and it helps control algae. But rain water and the resulting run off have diluted the salt content so I used to add more. I also add more beneficial bacteria for the same reason. I ordinarily do this every week anyway. But again, because rainwater has diluted the concentration of bacteria, I need to inoculate the water more frequently than usual.
Excessive rains can also result in a rapid explosion of mosquitos and it really don’t bother me all that much, due either to my thick skin or the amount of garlic in my diet. They do bother my family, my friends and my crew. So I make sure to empty plant saucers, wheelbarrow, anything that collects rainwater and provide the breeding ground for mosquitoes. Too much rain can also have an effect on plants because the vast majority of plants really do not like wet feet. That’s especially true of cacti and succulents which will —if the roots they wet for extended periods. For that reason, I am seriously considering moving minds to have covered but sunny area just to let up dry out for a few days. That is something I have never been forced to do in 30 years of garnering.
My container plants have appreciated the recent rain and I am certainly appreciated not having to water them everyday. But all the rainy days we have had have also meant the lack of sunlight and that’s led to stunted growth. This coleus for example should be twice as large as they are now and many of my flowering plants have not really flower all that much. The non-stop rains have also washed all the nutrients out of the potting mix. So, the soon as we enter the dry period, I will make I fertilize my container plants with a hefty dose of compost tea.
One of the most annoying problems caused by the incessant rains is the perfusion of weeds. They’ve popped up everywhere, in the lawn, in garden beds, in cracks in the pavement. You name it they are there. And unfortunately the ground has been so wet that I haven’t been able to get in the beds and pull the weeds. After all I cannot stand the compact of my sole by walking on it especially when it is wet. And last but hardly least there’s the lawn. When rains prevent you from mowing the lawn about all you can do is wait for a dry spell and maybe be prepared to mow not once but twice. By first adjusting the mower deck to its highest setting, mowing then waiting a day or two dropping the deck or not and mowing again.
Cutting the grass when it is wet and removing more than 1/3 of the top growth—are two of the quickest ways to ruin the lawn. So although the rains which by the way have shadowed 100-year records have caused some problems and some additional of chores, I’ll get by. I just hope the weather pattern changes soon and when it does, I’m sure I will be doing this segment on dealing with drought.
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