Gardening in Bad Weather?

7/7/2011 2:40:14 PM

This year has brought heat, floods, tornadoes, you name it! How do you garden in challenging weather? Here are some tips from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Dry Weather?

Drought is a pervasive problem in the United States and Canada. This year, the South has been baking in a drought. (See more about Drought in the South.) Here are some steps to help you cope:

Help Soil Retain Moisture

Add organic matter (peat moss, compost) to your soil when you plant; it slows the transition of water from the soil to the subsoil, giving plants a chance to take in what they need.

Vegetables bolt with intense levels of heat. Credit: Doreen G. Howard

Create Shade

When you plant, seed or transplant your plants closer together so that their leaves shade each other. This also helps reduce moisture loss and weeds.

Select the Right Plant Varieties

Bush varieties (vs pole varieties) stay lower to the ground and lose less water. Look for plant varieties that are drought-tolerant and don't need a lot of space.

See 6 more tips to cope with dry weather.

Also, consider using rain barrels to harvest your water.

Finally, consider these DIY water devices!

Wet Weather?

If you often experience wet and soggy conditions, here are some weather-proofing tips to help:

Plant Raised Beds

Plant in raised beds to avoid drainage problems from flooding. You can make your own raised beds in less than an hour and save big bucks. See Raised Bed Gardening is Cheap and Productive!

Use containers

Container gardening is a great way to grow veggies, herbs, and flowers when the weather doesn't cooperate! See our articles on container gardening.

If you have to, pull some plants out of the soil, put them in containers, and sit them out in the sun. Any container will do, even an old tire!

Also, elevate containers on bricks or boards when heavy rains are on the horizon.


A thick insulating layer of organic matter keeps soil temperatures from fluctuating during heat waves and cold periods. Mulch also helps to dissipate heavy rainfall.

See Gardening Blog for more tips on how to garden in challenging weather.

Continue reading about gardening on

Continue Reading on >