The effect of weather can have a huge effect on plants and vegetables and not only the produce, but the way your garden looks. A garden under water will not be appealing to get out into or grow anything in.
Well, we certainly can’t turn the rain on and off or order some sun. But we can prepare our garden, plant well and protect against some weathers.
If you follow the weather forecast, you will know when to expect rain and be prepared for when to water. Rain is usually thankfully welcomed by gardeners as, without it, we must water the plants ourselves and risk hosepipe bans and therefore risk losing our flowers and crops. Whilst those who harvest their own rainwater have a fallback position, it’s still a lot of effort and, when it rains naturally, it does the job very nicely – as long as it doesn’t do too much. This is where we have fallen foul in recent years when rainfall appears to have increased and gardens have been drowned.
If you only get showers then be aware that there may not be enough water to penetrate the ground, reaching your plants’ roots. So judge well and top up with the watering can or the hose.
The second threat is through frosts. There is a difference between air frosts and ground frosts – the former being around 0oC and the latter being much colder in the minus degrees centigrade. If you know there is going to be ground frost you can protect plants with gardeners’ fleece or put those in pots in your greenhouse!
Humidity will encourage pests such as slugs, so whatever deterrent you use, make sure it’s in place on warm, damp nights.
If your garden is open and unprotected, then your plants can suffer from wind damage. Winds from the north and east generally come with cold weather whilst those from south and east can be warmer, so again listen to the weather forecast if you want to be prepared.
A warm wind can by drying to the soil so you will need to water more after these.
It’s not just your vegetables that you need to protect. Though it’s rare in this country, the storm of October 1987 was of hurricane strength and lifted just about anything that wasn’t tied down. If you don’t want to wake up and find your patio chairs through your greenhouse, better put them away and tidy up any other light debris in the garden.
So be prepared is the motto – not just of the boy scouts, but of the gardener. And you may well save the day.
For tips on how to prepare against the weather next year, read http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/9509817/Gardening-weather-how-this-years-extreme-conditions-affected-Britains-gardens.html