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Tropical storm

Stormy gardening

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Editor STEVE PAYNE gives some good advice to weather the storms of summer.

Already the storm season is in full swing in northern New South Wales where I live and the gardens and trees are taking a buffeting.

This week a super cell thunderstorm tore down trees and hail smashed delicate plants. It’s hard to protect against these events except by making sure all drainage is working, garden beds are raised to avoid waterlogging and when the sun comes out again, replace any lightweight shade structures that got blown down.

Of course organic gardening gives you a good head start. Having a soil rich in organic matter means the soil’s ability to absorb water is greatly enhanced. Anything from compost to green manures is ideal and you will be storing carbon as well. 

Another idea is to plant some of your summer plants in pots that can be wheeled under cover or out of the harsh sun if storms or high temperatures are forecast. Good advice no matter where you are gardening.

Of course not every region can count on thunderstorms to replenish water supplies and a long hot summer is predicted for many parts of Australia. A water tank would have to be a number one priority if you don’t already have one and a no-fuss drip irrigation system if you have a large garden that warrants it. These are far more water efficient and give your garden small amounts of water gradually.

Given storms and cyclones are predicted to be far more intense and frequent in coming decades due to our overheating planet, we must hope that world leaders now gathered in Paris for the climate change summit have brought with them a renewed tenacity and urgency to tackling the problem.

There are good signs that climate change is now being taken seriously with the US and China ramping up efforts to cut emissions and the world moving rapidly towards a renewable energy future.