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Resurrecting your flood affected garden

 I'll be giving a special interactive library talk at Kenmore on the 29 April about recovering your flooded gardens. I am also offering half price garden visits for flood affected gardens at $88 per hour if you'd like a personalised garden consult.In the meantime, here is some more info for you... 

 

Was your garden covered by a thick layer of smelly mud, washed into it by the recent floods? This info is intended to give you the best possible advice for saving your garden, based upon organic principles and the best of my knowledge and experience.

  

Keeping up to date with new developments:

As new information comes to light in the next days and weeks, I will keep you informed via the ‘Linda’s Garden Harvest e-zine’. To receive this digital update log onto www.ecobotanica.com.au and sign up for the e-zine on the home page.

If you don’t have access to a computer, let a friend know so they can sign up and print it off for you.

YOUR SOIL 

Your garden soil and potted plants have been submerged and airless underwater for a number of hours. This causes anaerobic conditions that will kill beneficial soil microbes and plants.

 

Flood waters may also deposit toxic or dangerous substances like petroleum products, chemicals and sewerage onto your garden. This will make it dangerous to garden unless you take precautions to protect yourself.

 

Here are some hot tips for resurrecting your garden:

  1. Ask Linda for a garden visit. I’ll come to your garden and give you specific advice on how to best help your garden survive. Its half price for flood affected families at $88 per hour with a handbook of reference materials too.
  2. Scrape or hose off as much of the flood mud from grass, paths and plant root areas as possible.
  3.  Where mud has dried on garden beds and in potted plants, scuffle the surface to break the hard crust and allow air into the soil.
  4. Encourage beneficial microbes with the use of Fulvic acid. It’s used in the decontamination of spill sites and helps beneficial organisms to multiply and consume the toxic materials in the soil. Call me to purchase this organic product
  5. After the Fulvic acid application, cover bare soil with a light layer of mulch such as cane trash to prevent the crust forming again when it rains and will protect your soil from erosion.

 

Do not fertilise your soil until plants are growing actively again. Possibly several months away yet. Then only use organic fertilisers low in sodium. I use QLD Organics Organic Xtra.

 

Apply a good compost when the soil is completely drained. Lightly incorporate into the soil. (Working wet soil will destroy the structure and result in compaction.)

  

Liming the soil and Lab analysis

 While it has been reported the last few days that we need to add lime to our soils to correct acidity, I do not recommend this just yet. It can have a deleterious effect on the soil at this early stage.

It will be best to arrange a soil laboratory analysis in about 6 weeks before proceeding with soil liming. I can arrange this for you.

  

YOUR PLANTS

  

Steps for resurrecting your garden bed plants 

Step 1 Remove all rotting plants, weeds and dead branches. Compost these.

 

Step 2 Trim back all dead or dying foliage to the point of living green stems. Compost these too. Clean secateurs with metho between all infected or rotting plants.

 

Step 3 Brush the back of a plastic rake over hardy shrubs like mock orange and lillypillies to remove caked on mud from leaves. It will fall off in flakes.

 

Step 4 Scuffle the soil with a cultivator and apply Fulvic acid and mulch to the soil. Ask me for a supply of organic Fulvic acid.

 

Step 5 Hose off some of the mud so leaves can photosynthesise. Leaves caked heavily with mud may eventually die.

 

Step 6 Spray leaves with a mix of the following to act as a rescue remedy for plants, increasing plant health and resistance to disease.

Add Seachange 50 ml per 9L PLUS Vitaguard at rate on the pack.

Note: If you do not have Seachange, Fish and kelp will work, but may be high in sodium which can stress a plant.

 

Step 7 Staking may be required in high wind areas, and where plants have been loosened by flood waters. Use one or two hardwood stakes. Drive in the stake/s, avoiding the roots. Attach a piece of long, soft material to the stake, then in a figure 8 around the trunk of the tree. Allow the tree some movement. Remove the stake when you feel the roots are holding the tree well.

  

Other considerations:

  • Sand from sand bags can be used to mix into your compost, a little at a time.
  • Keep the excess mud and send it through the compost system to detoxify. Beneficial microbes will digest most of not all of the toxins, especially if you add Fulvic acid to the compost heap. I have supplies of Fulvic 1400 and Stimulate, both suitable for this.
  • Turn over your compost now as it will have become sodden and stinky. Mix wet compost with dry clippings and a little sand to help the carbon nitrogen balance
  • Ensure worm farms are not drowning in water. Empty out water and mix through some fresh dry bedding such as shredded paper or coir fibre.
  • DO NO fertilise your garden beds or potted plants now. The root systems will already be compromised and will be stressed by further fertilizing.
  • All applications of plant and soil rescue remedies, Fulvic acid etc must be added as liquids or foliar feeds.

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