Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Steps to Protect the Garden from Heavy Rain

Dealing with heavy rain is something every gardener has to deal with from time to time. When you know sopping wet weather is on its way, there are 3 steps you can take to protect your favorite veggies and prized flowers from a downpour.

Cover Your Plants

That’s right, cover them up. You don’t have to go crazy and cover every plant in your garden, only the delicate or finicky ones. Garden centers and online stores sell plant cloches and covers.

Cloches are glass or plastic domes that fit over your plants. They come in different sizes to accommodate your needs and allow light to penetrate the glass. Other types of plant covers are made from plastic, resembling trash bags, and slip over the tops of plants. Most plant coverings are reusable.

To save some money, make your own plant covers out of empty gallon-sized milk or water jugs. Simply cut the tops off the jugs and slip them over your plants. No matter which types of covers you use, remember to remove them when the heavy rain has passed.

Create a Barrier

If your garden is positioned on a lower level than the rest of your yard, this can cause 2 problems: standing water and washouts after a heavy rain. When water has no where to drain, it can wreak havoc in your garden before the ground has time to absorb it.

Standing water can cause root rot and a washout can wipe out everything in its path. To stop this from happening you have 2 options before planting your garden. 1 - move your garden to a higher elevation or 2 - put in some raised beds.

If you don’t have the time, money or space for the first 2 options or you’ve already planted your garden, set up a barrier to prevent flooding. These can be permanent or temporary, whatever works for you and fits into your landscape.

A handful of garden stakes and a few square bales of hay make for an easy to assemble barrier in a jiff. Simply pound 1 stake through each bale of hay at both ends to secure the bale to the ground. Make sure to stake the bales far enough away from your garden to stop water from entering but not so far away that water has time to curve around the bales and into the garden.

Stake, Support & Tie

It’s not unusual for strong winds to accompany a heavy rain. If you know rain is on its way make sure you’ve secured your plants and trellises. If need be, secure your supports with extra stakes and ties. Place cages around delicate or weak plants and add extra soil around the base of plant stems. This will give plant roots a boost of support.

A little rain is normally a good thing for a garden but when it comes down in droves, the aftermath isn’t always pretty. Protect your plants before the storm hits so you’ll have less cleaning up to do when the clouds part and the sun reemerges. 


  1. hello! i have just transplanted about 30 seperate seedling plants about 3 days ago... there might be thunderstorms for 4 hours straight in about 4 days time (according to the weather).

    Because I feel like the plants are more vulnerable, I'm thinking about getting a tarp big enough to cover the bed (which is about 1.5 metres wide and 1 metre long)... just for the day) or for however long the storm lasts as i have a rasied flowed bed on a slight hill, and i dont want them to wash out of their grove and into the trenched hedge surrounding it... do you think a tarp is healthy for the plants, in terms of preventing the soil from getting to wet and killing the newly transplanted seedlings.

    what do you think?

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