Recently we posted a piece on the preventative measures one can take against potential flood damage in the garden however such a piece would be fairly redundant if we didn’t also offer advice on how to effectively repair the damage already caused.
As such in this article we’ll cover the proper steps to salvage plants and crops and make your soil habitable once again.
The first step, as with any sudden disaster, is ascertaining which parts of your garden can be salvaged, this includes materials resistant to water and the hardier species of plants in your possession. Attend first to those plants that show the best signs of recovery, but it may be that some of them will be lost forever.
It is important that you minimise walking over waterlogged soil or grass as this will further compact the material and prove severely detrimental to the draining process. Lay boards as walkways across the garden surfaces and periodically puncture and turn the soil; this will not only redistribute the surface liquid but also expose waterlogged soil to the air allowing it to dry more quickly.
In the case of vegetables and other consumables it is essential that you first establish whether or not your soil is contaminated, this is because waterborne disease comes part and parcel with the flood waters and your council should be able to provide further information on this. In any case be sure to give consumables a thorough wash before eating them. However don’t throw out any produce that is unfit for consumption as this can contribute greatly to any compost pile and thereby make easier the next phase of recovery.
Determine how detrimental the floods have been on your soil quality; often water will wash away nutrients and sugars essential to the healthy development of your plants and thus you will likely have to replenish these nutrients into the soil to ensure healthy growth in future. To do this, integrate green manure into the soil to introduce a concentrated dose of the aforementioned nutrients. In addition to nutrient loss, the actual quantity of water has probably drowned a number of your plants, a flood by definition denotes a quantity of liquid that the surrounding surface is unable to absorb.
This means that once the soil has been saturated any remaining liquid will begin to fill the empty space between the soil particles and thus blocking any source of oxygen to the roots of your plants, causing stagnation and eventually plant death. A secondary danger is that if the temperature drops then all this excess water will freeze and destroy any remaining plant roots.
Our previous blog will help you to be largely independent from the advice gleaned here. With climate change now an irrevocable part of our and our gardens’ futures it will become increasingly necessary to use preventative methods to minimise the damage that severe weather conditions can cause.
By Josh Ellison