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Getting the garden back into shape

Mud may be good for the feet but...

When I was out and about yesterday delivering food to those hit by the floods and the volunteers who were helping them, the thing that hit me most was not only the smell, but the sludge that was covering every square inch of ground.

Once we have our houses back into a liveable condition and have possessions moved back in (those that survived) the next step is to try to get the yards back into shape.

The following article was in the Brisbane Courier Mail last week and it has some fantastic tips for getting sodden and mud covered lawns and gardens back on the mend. Just being back out in the garden and seeing the mud disappear will be great therapy for many.

The garden might be waterlogged but there are still things you can do around the yard in this weather, says Courier-Mail gardening columnist Colin Campbell.

“It’s a good idea to keep off the ground (when possible) when it’s really wet, because just walking on it can affect the soil structure,” he said.

“An exception is to mow the lawn if it dries out sufficiently. You don’t want the grass to get too long because that encourages weeds. With the ground so soft, spending an hour pulling out weeds will be time well spent. There is not point trying to poison them. The other problems with the ground being so wet is that you don’t need much wind to blow over trees because their root systems don’t have a lot to hold on to.

“This rain has undoubtedly helped increase the number of worms in the soil. But there are also going to be a lot more lawn grubs around.”

Helpful tips:

Boil some rice and sprinkle it across your lawn. It will encourage the birds to come down to eat the lawn grubs.

Feed your garden plants with a sprinkling of animal manure, blood and bone or some other organic fertiliser. More rain will dissolved this fertiliser into the soil.

Prune vegetation that is obstructing pathways.

Note the really wet areas of your property and plan gravel beds, agricultural pipes and other drainage strategies for later.

With pavers becoming slimy and dangerous after so much moisture, cleaning guru Shannon Lush as a good tip for cleaning away algae.

“Get some copper sulphate crystals from your pool shop and put two tablespoons into a bucket of water. Sweep this solution over the moss, algae-blackened areas and within 24 hours they will be gone,” she said.

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