Recently plant a fall garden? How to protect it during Hurricane Ian’s heavy rain

GRANT JEFFERIES/gjefferies@bradenton.com

We know new transplants need lots of water, but not a hurricane or tropical storm amount of water.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ian is predicted to bring several inches of rain to the Triangle throughout the weekend. That’s much more than the recommended one-inch-per-week garden watering.

We talked to Jeana Myers, horticulture agent in Wake County at NC State Extension, to learn what to do to prepare.

Garden preparations for Hurricane Ian

• Step 1: Use row covers on tender-leafed vegetable plants.

• Step 2: Turn off your self-timed hoses for the next few days.

• Step 3: Don’t worry too much.

If your plants are already in the ground, you can’t do anything to lessen the soil water, Myers said.

“Sometimes I will throw row cover cloth over tender plantings to prevent heavy rain or hail damage, but that’s mostly for vegetables with tender leaves,” she said.

By planting in raised beds — at least for initial planting — we try to avoid excessively wet soils as roots are developing. (Over time, soil sinks and can become even ground level, she said. Roots are more vigorous by then, and they can withstand periods of excessive moisture.)

“And for regular, fall-planted perennials, I wouldn’t overly worry,” Myers said.

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