Recent rains have taken a toll on vegetable gardens, large and small, across Northeast Mississippi. Thomas Horgan, a senior research associate at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, recently talked with Daily Journal home and garden editor Ginna Parsons about what to do with a waterlogged garden.
Q: What can a home gardener do to protect or salvage plants that were already in the ground before the rains came?
A: Hope and pray for some sunshine! That’s what we really need. Try to aerate the soil if possible by lightly raking bare ground or if you’re using mulch, temporarily remove it from around your plants. Improve your drainage. Anything you can do to remove the water would be helpful. Once it does dry out, you may want to lightly side dress with fertilizer to replace any nutrients that may have leached out.
Q: How do raised beds help prevent the problem of too much water?
A: I always try to use raised beds. It is fairly easy to add water and hard to remove it. Raised beds allow the roots to stay aerated when we have these heavy rains.
Q: What can still be replanted to have a successful growing season this summer?
A: Almost anything except the cool season vegetables (cabbage, greens, lettuce, broccoli, onions, carrots, etc.). It is still officially spring so you can plant tomatoes, peppers, beans, Southern peas, okra, melons, cucumbers and squash. It is late spring, so the insects and weeds will be thriving along with your plants, so have a plan to control them. We will be seeding our pumpkins and fall tomatoes around the first of July.