This post originally appeared on CoffeeBreakUniversity.com
Nothing Lasts Forever … Even Warm October Rain
Kicking Your Garden Back into Shape after Hurricane Joaquin
Most health conscious Americans have one major thing in common: they LOVE fresh fruits and veggies!
If you’re lucky enough to have a green thumb and a sunny back yard, chances are there’s some delicious treats in there that may or may not have been put through the ringer thanks to Hurricane Joaquin.
Today, we’re going to give you a few tips that can help repair garden damage caused by standing water, strong winds and saltwater introduced into your perfectly pH balanced soil. It’s our Hurricane Garden Repair CHEAT SHEET!
Workin’ at the KALE WASH!
The first step to plants bouncing back is to eliminate any contaminants on the leaf or stem. I like to take a garden hose and spray everything down, but feel free to use a sponge if being more intimate with your plants is important to you. The main reason we do this is to get the salt water and mud off the plant so that any damage can heal without being infiltrated by disease. If there is sever saltwater damage, try using gypsum to replace the sodium with calcium, but only after you check with your extension agent first for the right amount for your particular soil.
Clean up and compost
The bacteria levels after a flood can be pretty high, which isn’t good for a lot of things outside of rapid decomposition. Gather up all the branches, leaves and twigs and place them in an already existing compost pile or start a new one if you haven’t got one going already. Storm debris breaks down relatively quickly, so as soon as it turns into that “black gold”, put it back in your garden beds or around the base of your trees and bushes. Ah, the circle of life.
Prune baby, prune
Once the mud and salt are washed away, you can assess the damage in order to see what’s a lost cause and what can be repaired. I would wait a couple days after your Kale Wash to see how the plant is bouncing back and if there’s any new growth. If you can spot new growth, it will be easy to see where to prune and how far back. Keep in mind, that extensive pruning can be pretty stressful for plants, so don’t go nuts. This is especially important for fruit trees and berry bushes, so try to refrain from testing out your homemade Edward Scissorhands costume on the apple trees.
Container garden quick fixes
If the potted plants on your deck have been standing in saltwater, you’ve got two options: replace or flush. Replace the old soil with fresh potting soil that’s high in organic matter and contains natural fertilizers like sea kelp, compost and worm castings or simply take a hose and heavily saturate the pot to flush out most of the moisture built up in there. You might not think adding water is a good tactic, but pushing the existing water containing bacteria and excess sodium down through the drain holes will do more good than harm. Don’t forget to fertilize after!