I hope my readers and their families are all fine who faced the storm Irma few days back in South and North America. These storms are inevitable in the current global climate change. Even science with today’s level of advancement cannot limit them in boundaries. So we are left with the only option of coping with these storms. Irma has spoiled millions of acres of land, damaging homes, kitchen gardens, parks, landscapes, infrastructures and wealth of people. However, it is the time to rebuild with a new spirit.
As a dirt lover, my concern is the rebuilding of the kitchen gardens that we have at our homes. Being a gardener, I am aware that the high speed winds, floods and salty rain water came with Irma has damaged not only the plants but also the soil. However, if we look at the bright side and think positively, there are few opportunities with the leftovers of Irma that can help us in re-building a prosperous urban garden again in our homes
Here in Pakistan, floods are frequent during the monsoon season (July-September) near the upper Indus Delta. As the flood goes downstream, the land is refilled with fertile soil and minerals that come along with the flood stream. In addition to this, re-shifting of the soil layer also bring positive results on plant health due to added beneficial micro-organisms. But in case of Irma, we have to deal with the water that is added with salts in it. So it is the time to take necessary steps for rebuilding of your urban garden.
First step in re-building of your kitchen garden is the planning to chalk out a pathway. The re-building plan should be categorized into three categories;
- Wash down everything
- Pruning the leftover plants and cleaning
- Recycling or Composting
Wash Down Everything
This is what you should immediately do after a storm. Rinse everything with water in the kitchen garden. This is necessary to remove excess salts came with storm sea water. More the salt stay on the leaves of plants, more it will harm your remaining plants. Even if the storm doesn’t bring sea water, washing everything in your urban garden help removing any harmful and decaying material.
Remove any mud or build of storm from the base of your plants and trees (If they are still left). Mostly trees survive in the storms. However, due to damage on their stem and leaves, there is fair chance that they get infected if you don’t wash them with water after the storm. This will also increase the chance of disease spread in your kitchen garden. Rinsing your plants with water will allow fast pace revival phase.
Some readers may think that adding more water to already saturated soil will damage the roots. But believe me; washing your kitchen garden is much needed after a storm. Removing the mud and other unwanted substances bought with the storm should be done immediately. In addition to this, the water will dilute any contaminants and weaken their power to infect soil and your plants.
Pruning the leftover plants and cleaning
Washing everything in your urban garden will allow you to see a clear picture of what is left in the garden. This will make the next step easy for you. You know what is gone, broken and left over. However, here I recommend waiting a day or two to see any sign of life in your plants. If new branches, leaves or flowers are emerging, give special care to them. Rest of the leaves, branches and stems should be pruned or if damages, they can be removed to allow fresh growth.
Similarly, large trees and shrubs should be given due importance while managing. If they are downed, remove them first. If you have no expertise, consider getting help by calling relevant government agency. This will help you getting security for your family.
Keep in mind to prune gently and less after storm. This is because, plants are already under stress, and pruning them a lot will damage their immunity to regrow. You can further prune in week or two as plant start getting stronger.
In the last step of re-rehabilitating your kitchen garden, consider recycling the lost material from your urban garden. How? It is simple; the storms bring not only fertile soil but also rich organic matter. You can prepare your compost pile from the damaged leaves, stems and branches along with the mud came with storm. You can also add some quantity of storm water in your composting bin. The storm water is not drinkable and may contain sewage and industrial waste. This water is fit for accelerating your composting process inside a compost container.
Storm Irma has gone. But that was not the last one. Every country on the globe faces these storms frequently in the changing climate. The need is the better coping and management strategies to minimize loss.
Kitchen garden for a gardener is just like his/her own kid and plants and veggies are darling. Caring them will bring satisfaction and healthy meals to your table.
Be safe, happy growing and eating 🙂
Cite this Article in APA Style as:
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 12). Post-Storm Irma Tips for Kitchen Gardeners [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/09/12/post-storm-irma-tips-for-kitchen-gardeners[/box]