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HOW TO DEAL WITH NOT ENOUGH AND TOO MUCH RAIN?

Hurricane Florence has dumped over 20” of rain over most of the Carolinas. The sea surge plus major flooding over much of those states will make gardening there this next year difficult if not impossible.

Last year Hurricane Harvey, on August 25, 2017, torn up half of my garden fence and most of the drip system and its controls. The 15” of rain soaked the soil into a muddy mess with the water table staying at the surface of my garden well into November. Amazingly, the late winter and spring gardens were two of the best I have had here during my 11 years on the coast.

This year, July and August were drought months with almost no rain, high humidity, and very hot and unbearable days. I bought tomato and jalapeno plants in 6 packs. I repotted them into 3” pots and then 6” pots as they grew. I protected them from the afternoon sun and kept them in flats with absorbent mats on the bottom. I watered them daily with a mixture of fish emulsion and kelp liquid. I sprayed with the Spray-N-Grow combo.

I did not plant the tomatoes and jalapenos directly into the garden because: (1) the garden rows needed weeds and grasses removed before tilling in the organic fertilizers and new compost, (2) the soil was very dry and hard in places, (3) the plants would have suffered in the intense sunlight, heat, and soil dryness even with row cover for shade, (4) large potted plants with well-developed root systems get a head start on the Root Knot Nematodes, and (5) at 77 I was not up to all the row preparation, watering, and planting in the hot humid weather that caused my clothes to be soaked with sweat within minutes when I did work in the garden.

During the first week in September I prepared one 10” raised row out of seven with compost and organic fertilizers after a cooling rain. Then I planted 5 tomatoes and 5 jalapenos after a ground soaking rain. I put cages over the tomatoes and jalapenos and covered them with row cover for shade. I planted squash and cucumber seeds.

It is now September 17th and we had about 18” of rain this past week. Church was cancelled yesterday. Water is everywhere along with thousands of mosquitoes. The humidity is around 90%. The garden is too wet to till. New tall weeds and grass are easy to pull up, but the soil is mushy wet. The water table is still above the ground around the outside of the garden. The squash and cucumbers have sprouted and look great. The tomatoes and peppers have grown but they are tall and spindly. Too much rain! We will have 2 dry days this week and then another week of predicted rain. The other 6 rows need to be prepared. I don’t know when that will be possible.

So, I am taking tomorrow off to go fishing in the bay with a friend. The problem is that the salt water bay may have too much fresh water in it.

-Herman Green

9/26/2018    Garden Journals