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January's wet weather & what you can do for your garden

January 2014 has gone down on record as the wettest January ever recorded. With the terrible weather we've been experiencing in December and the beginning of the year it’s not difficult to believe! But fortunately the worst of it is looking like it is behind us, so now we can all start looking forward and trying to repair some of that damage caused in our poor waterlogged gardens. Unfortunately there are few plants that can survive long periods of flood water. The water will drown the plants in the sodden soil and restrict air flow to their root system. The outcome of this is yellowing leaves dropping off and the plant eventually rots and dies. The weather may also cause bark to peel off stems and herbaceous plants may fail to come into growth in spring. Saying that, here is a quick guide with useful tips and tricks to get that garden soil back to what it once was ready to plant in and bring back to its former glory:
  • Try to avoid walking on waterlogged soil, not only will you get mucky boots but the soil will compact causing more long term damage. This is even more essential to avoid on heavy clay soils.
  • If you must walk over the soil, use a plank of wood, board or purchase a portable path to help disperse the weight and even the load on the soil.
  • Spike the lawn with a garden fork or lawn aerator to the depth of 10cm. Then fill the holes with horticulture sand or top dressing to help allow the water to penetrate the less compacted soil below.
  • Another way to improve soil structure is to add lots of organic matter such as garden compost or chipped bark. There is no need to dig this in, just put it down and let the worms do the work for you.
  • Once the water goes down its time to feed! The water would have washed away a large amount of nutrients so a good fertiliser is essential for bringing that soil back up to its former standard.
Whilst that soil is improving you can still get out there and do a bit of gardening! Longacres stocks a wide range of colourful spring plants, shrubs, herbs, grow your own and more which would all look fantastic planted up in a pot or container on your path, patio, driveway, alcove, balcony or whatever space you've got while the vegetable beds and borders dry out of excess water! Why not see us in store and speak to one of our members of staff on what you can do for your garden space.