There is nothing more soothing to a gardener’s ear, like a soft rainfall on the garden and an enjoyable walk-through after it stops. The air feels cleaner, and the plants seem greener. Sometimes this much-wanted rain becomes a nightmare when heavy downpours and continuous overcast days wreak havoc in the garden.
#1 Root Damage
Most plants do not like wet feet. When the soil does not get the chance to drain or dry bit, plants’ roots may suffer significantly. The most common problem is root rot, which may manifest in dropping leaves, yellowing, or mushy plant tissue. The plant may also fall over for losing its anchoring system.
The fix for this problem is the initial setup of the garden. Make sure to provide your plants the proper growing environment. In general, well-draining soil is key to a happy garden. You can also use raised beds to avoid low ground and paddles.
#2 Disease Galore
Wet and warm weather is a breeding ground for fungal diseases.
Rust, mildew and blight are the most common diseases in the vegetable garden. You make take preventative measures to reduce the damage. If the disease has already settled, make sure to clear and clean your garden from diseased material. Burn it or discard it and avoid adding it to your compost pile. Sanitize your hands and tools after pruning to prevent further spread.
Yellowing of the leaves
Iron chlorosis is an iron deficiency disease that manifests in the form of yellow leaves. The latter may be also caused by other nutrient deficiencies, such as magnesium or nitrogen. Heavy rains tend to wash away nutrients from the soil, and when they last for days, gardeners have a hard time replenishing them.
Long overcast days also can cause yellowing of the leaves due to low chlorophyll production. Patience is key in this situation. Wait for the rainy days to pass by, then feed your plants as soon as the sun comes back.
Blossom-end-rot is a calcium deficiency caused by too little or too much water. The oversaturated soil prevents plant’s cells from absorbing calcium adequately. Unfortunately, patience is your only option. Once the rain stops use a balanced fertilizer to help the plants recover.
#3 Mushroom feast
Mushrooms thrive in wet and shady conditions. After a long rainy period, gardeners notice abundant mushroom growth on their soil and mulch. This is great news for your garden since mushrooms are decomposers. They help break down dead material providing the plants ready-to-use nutrients. The presence of mushrooms in your garden is a sign of good healthy soil that is rich in organic matter.
These mushrooms come in different shapes and colors. Some of them are easily identified, while others are not. The most unfamiliar one is Dog Vomit Slime, which is a mold rather than a shroom. It looks really like it is called, and most people are disgusted by it.
You should not be concerned about the presence of these friendly organisms unless you have pets or kids who might try to sample them. In this case, you may remove them using a shovel and add them to your compost pile. You can also turn them into the soil directly and bury them well.
#4 Blossom drop and no fruit
After long rainy periods, you may notice blossoms on your plants dropping, leading to low fruit production. This is due to a lack of pollination since the friendly bugs are hiding away from the rain. You may take over their job and try to hand pollinate your crops.
#5 Pest damage
There is quite a few pests that thrive in the wet weather and their damage to the garden can be heartbreaking.
Slugs, snails, and pill bugs
These little nasty critters devour plants when you are not looking. Usually, you can identify their damage through their chewing pattern. Slugs and snail leave a trail behind them and chew on the outer border of the leaf. The pill bugs tend to chew on the woody part of the plant, mainly at the base. Sprinkle Sluggo Plus around the plants to get rid of these pests.
Whitefly caterpillar or cabbage worms multiply fast on cool, wet days. They can devour your brassica plants and turn them into a skeleton overnight. BT or a caterpillar killer is an organic product that you can safely apply to your vegetable garden.
#6 Cracked fruits
Fruit cracking is common in tomatoes, where the skin breaks open due to oversaturation. The wound can attract fungi and insects, leading to more problems in the garden. Cracked tomatoes are still edible if you cut around the damage and use the good part. There is no good solution for this problem when rain is the root cause. Make sure the soil is draining well, and harvest the tomatoes before the storm, if possible.
#7 Stunted growth
Common sense is that rain helps plants grow fast and healthy. The reality is too much of one thing is just too much. As mentioned before, too much rain will leach nutrients away from the soil, causing deficiencies. As a result, the plants suffer and fail to thrive. Amend the soil around your plants with good compost and fertilizer to help them rebound.