For the past two weeks, Trinidad & Tobago has experienced heavy rainfall which is expected to continue since we are only one month into the rainy season. For garden owners this means damage to our crops by floods, pests and diseases (fungal pathogens) and increased weed growth.
Here are some tips to eliminate some of these adverse effects:
Plant vegetables that are more rain tolerant—spinach, peas, beans, okra and cucumbers are crops that thrive in the rainy season. For cucumbers, a trellis should be constructed for the vines to run onto. This ensures that your cucumbers are not harmed in the event of a flood.
Ensure that you have a proper drainage system in your garden. After heavy rainfall/flood, ensure that there is no stagnant water in your garden.
Carry out mechanical weed control. The best way to remove weeds from your garden after intense rainfall is to manually pull them out and dispose of them far away from your garden. This will ensure that no seeds are left behind for further weed germination.
Be on the lookout for pests, diseases and other harmful organisms. Snails, snakes, centipedes etc. can show up in your garden after intense rainfall. You should wait until the sun comes out before going into the garden. If any plant appears to have symptoms of disease (wilting, brown/yellow leaves, dried stems), immediately remove it from your garden and dispose of it.
Do not spray any chemicals or fertilisers in your garden after heavy rainfall. The chemicals can enter waterways when the water is subsiding and have environmental impacts.
Consider a Hydroponic System. Nutrient flow technique systems, Drip-to-waste systems and Deep-water culture systems allow you to control your crops during dry or rainy season.
Consider Protected Agriculture systems (PA Systems) /Greenhouses. These can be costly but they provide a controlled environment for your crops.
These tips will assist you in the management of your garden this rainy season. We will explore more tips on how to care for different plant types during intense rain in a later article.
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