The Sun is Back - Now What?
Besides doing the Snoopy happy dance, many gardeners
and farmers have some work ahead of them to restore their water-logged
foremost, get those mosquito dunks and bits sprinkled out in the standing
water that can't be dumped or drained. (Made by Summit - available at
Eden's and just about every garden center/department I know of. Some
municipalities have dunks for free.) Even along the edges of a slow moving
stream, larvae can survive. Once that current slows down, they
attach themselves to the surface of the water and become pupae - and then,
you guessed it! Blood-sucking adult mosquitoes! Fight the Bite
for the garden, it's pretty squishy and in some cases, perhaps, under
(This little picture has really made the rounds down here in Texas!)
Roots of plants can only live so long without oxygen.
Trees, mature ones anyway, and woody perennials with extensive root
systems, can withstand flooding conditions longer than say, your squash
So, for starters, let's work on getting some air to
the root systems of your annuals. The soil is going to be too wet and
heavy to use any kind of actual equipment, so a garden fork and your boot
are your best bet right now. Just work a garden fork back and forth a bit
along the edge of the rows, careful not to dig up the roots, but enough to
allow some air pockets.
The air is nice and dry right now so evaporation
should occur pretty fast. The wind will help dry out the surface of the
soil as well.
However - we don't want crusting to occur either,
especially if we need to re-seed anything lost; so a light layer of mulch,
over the top of your rows - after you've aerated with a garden fork - will
help keep the soil from forming a hard crust. This is important, too, to
keep down the weeds that will be germinating - because they got watered,
Next up, I would consider a foliar application of
fertilizer. Maestro Gro makes an excellent fish and seaweed formula that I
use here at the farm. To it, I would also suggest adding some recently
harvested compost or worm casting tea that has been aerated for about 24
hours. You can make your own, or buy some from local our resident worm
rancher, Texas Worm
One of the things that all of this rain has done, is
leach nutrients, bacteria and fungi through the soil. We need to help
restore these things, in order to help our plants recover in time to
produce. Using a living compost or worm tea, will help do this quickly.
In a natural setting, many plants may die back and
others take their places or we can seed with a cover crop and use another
field that perhaps didn't flood.
But in Texas, we don't have a lot of time left for
some of the summer favorites to go from seed to fruit again - our extreme
summer temps will likely be here before we know it.
does have a number of left over heirloom tomato plants. I'll make you a
great deal if you come to
market day this weekend, June 6th.)
Inspect your plants closely for pressure from
insects. I've been trying to stay ahead of the
squash vine borer and squash bugs - but with less than 24 hours
between rain events this past month, it's been a little tricky to use
anything short of squishing.
So, you may want to go ahead and add some BT or
Spinosad to your mix tonight or early in the morning when you feed with
the fish/seaweed. (Both are organic pest controls approved for use by the
USDA Organic Standards list)
In extreme or extended flooding conditions where your
crops are very anemic, pale and close to being lost, you might try a
product called Hasta-Gro. Now for the purists, I'll may get some grief
because it does contain clean urea sources although it is complexed with
humic acid, not ammonium nitrate.
I feel that if you have a generally healthy soil, and
use it only sparingly when a soil fertilizer isn't going to work, such as
when soil is saturated, you're still being a good steward of your soil.
You can abuse urea fertilizers, and of course I do not advocate for the
harsh, dry applications often mixed with Ammonium Nitrate. They can strip
soil and damage the biology more than help it. But for a transition from
synthetic fertilizers or a quick, infrequent, water soluble shot in the
arm for plants in stress, I think it is fine.
I would get your foliar feed out today - if possible
- or early in the morning before you take off for work. The sooner you can
help your plants recover, the better.
I've seen a lot of folks concerned about their
gardens this week. I hope this quick entry helps! I'm headed
back outside - hope you 'git your hands in the dirt' soon!
Eat your food, Naturally