Greene Thumb: Stormy Weather

Keeping tender plants healthy during bouts of heavy rain.

The intermittent downpours bedeviling Brooklyn residents of late are tough on almost everyone—pedestrians, bikers and, yes, even water-thirsty plants.

And, if the centuries-old Farmer's Almanac is to be trusted, the rest of spring and early summer looks to be warm and—you guessed it—wet.

So to keep those vegetables, flowering plants and shrubs from getting washed out, here are a few tips to keep your garden from getting too much of a good thing:

Check on your plants after a sudden thunderstorm and/or downpour: Urban gardeners will want to check on leaves, stems and crucial root systems for damage. If it's a matter of a few broken leaves, you may be able to remove them.

Be careful of where you step: Upon inspecting damage to plants, one may do more harm than good by accidentally stepping on and damaging exposed roots in soggy ground. Wait for the things to dry out a bit first.

Keep plants fertilized: Particularly heavy bouts of rain can cause nutrients to bleed out of the soil and of reach for especially younger plants. Add fertilizer as necessary after big rain events.

If you can, bring them out of the rain: Place potted plants underneath an overhang or inside before a major washout or if you see storm clouds gathering.


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