IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, I suspect some of us will be swapping horror stories about the destruction that Hurricane Irene foisted upon our gardens. But before the severe wind and driving rain arrive, I’d like to know what efforts — if any — you’re making to protect your plants. I’m doing these five things:
Securing Young Trees. In anticipation of 50-60 mph winds, I’ve tied a newly-planted Kousa Dogwood to four metal stakes arranged at compass points. This way, no matter which direction the wind blows, the tree will be held in place. If you lash your own young trees, be sure to use nylon twine. “Jute” and other biodegradable twines lose their sturdiness when they become wet.
Applying Extra Mulch. To keep rain from compacting the soil in my vegetables beds, and also to keep water from puddling around plants, I’ve padded various beds here with a thick layer of fresh mulch. My favorite mulches — shredded leaves and salt-hay substitute — were not available at this time, so I settled for regular straw, which is probably filled with weed seeds. Beggars can’t be choosers.
Bringing Container Plants Indoors. My vacationing houseplants will definitely come indoors before the storm arrives. What a job — 40 pots in all, including a very large, heavy clay pot which houses my Philodendron monstera. But there’s no way these tender plants can withstand hurricane-conditions.
Taking Down Umbrellas. An open patio umbrella can be easily lifted by wind, and deposited on some precious plant. Why take the chance? My umbrellas will be closed, removed from their weighted stands, and then laid on the ground. Note: In the comments, Kathryn says to bring umbrellas indoors. I’ll listen to her.
Harvesting Tomatoes. If you haven’t already, be sure to pick your large, green tomatoes. I let mine ripen indoors, in paper bags to which bananas have been added.
I hope these tips are of some little help to you. Let me know if you have any stormy-weather gardening tips of your own. In the meantime, keep safe!
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