We’ve been blessed with an abundance of rain lately. It might not always seem like a blessing, but we were headed into a drought earlier this spring. It’s hard to believe, after all the snow we got last winter, but water disappears fast, so let’s be grateful.
Damp soil is good for many things in the garden. Of course, the plants enjoy the thorough soaking. It’s a good time to transplant or dig and divide plants. They’re fully hydrated and the soil in the garden bed is already damp. And that damp soil makes it easier to pull weeds. It’s easier, but it’s much messier. You might want to consider wearing gloves and it’s always wise to have an extra pair handy, when the first pair becomes caked with mud.
On the negative side, soil that remains wet for an extended length of time deprives plant roots of oxygen. In the worst case scenario, the rots will rot. But even before it gets that far, it can cause plant leaves to turn yellow or chloratic. The basic cause of yellowing leaves is a lack of chlorophyll being produced, but there are a number of things that can cause this. However if you don’t see any other symptoms of problems, like curling leaves, browning or leaves quickly falling off the plant, the cause is either a lack of nutrients or soil that is too wet.
Clay soil is especially prone to holding onto water, but sandy soil has its problems too. Excess water will leach the nutrients right out of sandy soil, compounding the problem.
To fix this problem, start by being patient. Let the soil dry out. It should be dry not just on the surface, but also a few inches below, before you think about watering again. I know, we can’t do anything about the rain, but the temperatures should start remaining warm and that will balance any upcoming deluges.
If your leaves don’t start to green-up within a week or so, it’s time to give your plants a little food. The reason I didn’t suggest this right away is because feeding stressed plants just stresses them more, by causing them to grow quickly. But if a lack of nutrients is what is causing the stress, you’re better off feeding them.
Go with a water soluble fertilizer, so the plants can access the nutrients quickly. Although the jury is still out on foliar feeding, I’ve had great luck spraying my plant leaves with seaweed emulsion or some type of fish fertilizer. It’s no substitute for healthy soil, but it gives them a quick pick me up and gets them back in the game.