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Repairing a Flooded Garden After a Natural Disaster
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Many folks plant gardens on their property, either for the sheer enjoyment of cultivating and watching their efforts grow or for the more practical purpose of actually growing their own food, either for personal use or to sell to others. In any case, gardens may be extremely susceptible to problems rising from flooding or other excess water problems.
One thing to remember is that in the event of flooding, flood waters should always be considered contaminated, which means that any grown food that has been exposed to flood water is unsafe for human consumption. Contaminants commonly found include agricultural waste, chemicals, manure, septic system runoff, and other similar elements.
This means that any leafy greens that may be consumed should be destroyed and any that may be cooked first will still have to be cut back and regrown before making any attempt to prepare and serve them.
Cleaning Up a Flooded Garden
Most flood water leaves behind debris and silt that will need to be cleaned out before further use of the garden; however, it is important to make sure that the water used to remove the debris is clean and does not possess any harmful elements. Some property owners try to clean their gardens using sprays designed for fruits and vegetables, or worse, chlorine or bleach solutions. This is unwise and unsafe.
Creating Better Drainage
If the garden is not properly equipped for drainage, flood waters can leave behind saturated soil which, in most cases, may cause crops or plants to literally drown. Once this is done, it is nearly impossible to remedy, however, steps may be taken proactively to cut down on the level of damage before flooding becomes a problem.
Proper garden drainage may be achieved through several methods, such as filling the area with a top quality compost mix and using a tiller to mix the compost into the soil. This procedure should be repeated several times over a period of months, and should provide a marked improvement in water drainage.
If the soil has been compacted, it will not allow water to penetrate very deeply, resulting in saturation and overflow. Fill the area with top quality gardening mulch, tilling the mulch into the soil, and the quality of the drainage should improve immensely.
The backyard area (where most gardens are found) can also be elevated in order to provide the setting for more effective runoff due to the effect of gravity on water flow. Just make sure the flow is directed properly away from the home.
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