Gardening Safety After a Flood
Depending on the type of flooding your garden sustained, you may be better off abandoning the garden than eating the veggies. A flood that results in a stream or other surface water overflowing into your garden may introduce pathogens that can cause foodborne illness.
According to Alys Fowler, it is suggested that all gardeners work to improve drainage by aerating the soil and planting trees and shrubs on a raised mound. She also stressed out the importance. of adding compost. The more compost that's in, the better the drainage and water holding capacity."
Shrubs and fruit trees are particularly vulnerable in waterlogged soil during the winter months, says Alys. Shrubs aren't able to put on new roots as quickly as perennials and cannot cope for long periods of time underneath water. Planting trees and shrubs on raised ground will help to improve drainage.
Alys also suggests that following a wet winter, vegetable gardeners should hold off from early sowing until the soil is dry enough.Coping with the after-effects
Another gardener presenter in the name of Glyn, who believes that every gardener learns from experience. He suggests using good, strong staking and to make sure water courses are always left open. "When paving patios, always remember to keep the fall of the patio away from the house and create beds and borders close to the house to improve drainage."
Sally Smith, Head of the Advisory Service at Garden Organic, is optimistic about the recovery of garden plants which have been under water for less than a week. However, to be on the safe side, she recommends taking cuttings. Plants that seem to have survived initially, may die off the following season from root damage.
Pruning ornamentals right back will also give plants a better chance of survival. "The less leafy green to support, the better." Sally suggests staying off wet ground for a while to reduce compaction, and sowing a green manure to help dry out the soil and restore nutrients.Safety tips for vegetables
When it comes to vegetables, it's important to know whether your soil is contaminated. If you're unsure, you can ring your local council for more information.
Sally recommends salvaging what you can in the vegetable patch. It's imperative that you wash your vegetables thoroughly before cooking with them. "If it's leafy vegetables, such as salad, which is eaten raw, it's probably best not to eat them at all." You could try re-sowing crops for a later harvest.
Even gardeners that escape actual flooding can suffer problems from prolonged rain, especially fruit and vegetable growers. Potato blight can be a common problem and Sally suggests digging potatoes up and storing them in a cool, dry place.Waterlogged soil
As flood waters subside, poorly-drained soils can lead to waterlogging. Few garden plants are able to cope with long periods in ground saturated with water. When soil is waterlogged, plants literally drown. Water fills all the air spaces between the soil particles and this prevents oxygen from reaching the roots. In turn, this causes the soil to stagnate and prevents root growth.
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Graeme Stephens has been running the largest owned carpet cleaning company
in new Zealand for 24 years. IICRC qualified "master restoration technician"