16 Sep PLANTING A MONSOON GARDEN
I’ll bet that when you think of a monsoon, images of torrential, flooding rains in Southeast Asia come to mind. But more generally speaking, a monsoon refers to a seasonal shift in the prevailing wind direction, bringing with it a change in weather. Most notably, rain. In many areas, it’s also referred to as hurricane season. While these increased rains can indeed cause problems in some areas, for many others, it brings an opportunity for gardening. Here’s how to take advantage of this naturally occurring cycle, and work with nature to create some beauty in your garden.
5 Easy Steps to Prepare Your Garden for Monsoon Season
Sow seeds. Planning to sow seeds for the next season? The increased humidity in the air will benefit this seasonal activity. Sow your seeds outdoors — if they are sowed in trays, be sure you have adequate cover for them so hard rains don’t beat down the tender sprouts.
Bring houseplants outside. My houseplants love to get a drink of fresh rainwater, but only when it’s a gentle rain and the sun is not too strong. Suddenly bringing houseplants outside into strong sunlight can cause them to revolt (and not in a good way), and heavy rains can damage rather than help plants. Drain them well and dry off the containers before bringing them back inside, and be prepared to quickly move or cover them if the rain is too intense.
Ensure good drainage. While your potted plants (both indoor and outdoor) love this seasonal rain, they certainly won’t like it if the drainage holes in the containers are blocked, or the soil is too heavy. Drill holes in new pottery, and check to see that existing drainage holes on old pottery aren’t blocked by roots or other debris. This is also a great time to remove plants from their pots and amend the soil around their roots, then let Mother Nature’s rain do her magic.
Plant tropicals. If you live in a warmer climate (USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11), take advantage of the increased rains by establishing those plants that love it. Have plenty of compost on hand at planting time to mix with your soil, creating proper drainage and good nutrition. Ideal plants for monsoon gardens are moisture-loving shrubs and newly-planted cacti and crotons.
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Stay on top of weeds, pests, and diseases. Additional rain can also mean additional weeds, pesky critters, and plant diseases. Make sure you inspect your garden closely so that you can address any problems that may pop up. While this might seem to be an aggravation, remember all the benefits this beautiful rain brings to your garden.
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