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The Garden Guru

Let it rain

Jim Boxberger Jr.
Posted 7/16/21

If you are up in the Catskills or Poconos for the summer to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, all the rain we have been having may be an annoyance.

So far we have been having one of the wettest …

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The Garden Guru

Let it rain

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If you are up in the Catskills or Poconos for the summer to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, all the rain we have been having may be an annoyance.

So far we have been having one of the wettest summers in the last three decades, but if you are a gardener, you may have noticed something else. Sure we haven’t had to water our plants nearly as much, but with the abundance of natural rain, the gardens and all other plants too, are growing better.

Of course, slugs and fungus, are always a problem with these wet conditions but the benefits far outweigh these problems. Rain water has many benefits over tap water no matter where that tap water comes from. If your tap comes from a municipal supply, then it contains chlorine and other treatment chemicals that your plants do not appreciate.

If you tap is from a well you might think that is better because of no chlorine or other chemicals, but well water is very cold and it contains no oxygen. Oxygenated water is very important for plant roots, so much so that commercial greenhouse growers have been installing water oxygenating systems for the last twenty to thirty years.

We have well water here at the store and for use in our aquariums we have to let our water warm up and oxygenate before doing water changes in our fish tanks.

Likewise we tell customers with wells that want to set up new fish tanks that they should fill their fish tanks the day before they want to put in fish, so that the water will have time to oxygenate. Fish tank filters, bubblers and even heaters will help with the process once the tank is up and running but this takes some time.

Likewise with water coming out of the hose for your garden and flowerbed, it takes time for the water to oxygenate even when it is soaking into the ground. That is one of the reasons why rain water is better, it is oxygenated from the moment it is formed.

The other main benefit of rain water is pollution. Well, what we call pollution, your plants call fertilizer. Every time it rains, your plants receive millions of micro particles of fertilizer that are so small that they are easily absorbed by your plant’s roots.

Now granted this is not going to replace giving your plants some 5-10-5 or Foxfarm Grow Big, but this is one way that mother nature makes sure that her plants get the necessary nutrients to survive.

This summer, mother nature is providing a lot of nutrients and the plants are responding in kind. Because it has been so wet, I haven’t been able to get my lawn mowed and soon it will be a hay field.

This past weekend I drove past the Neversink and Roundout reservoirs and both were going over their spillways which doesn’t happen that often in July. New York City is pumpimg millions of gallons from these reservoirs each week and there is still enough to go over the spillways even with the required release of water downstream to maintain the eco structure of the river systems.

We have had some minor flooding and flood watches as of late, but unlike some of the spring flooding that may occur, this season has been pretty mild. Meanwhile the west is burning again as they are still having major drought conditions and dry lightning strikes are starting fires in California and Oregon.

So here is an infastructure project that I think both political parties could get behind, a national water grid. With thousands of men and women laid off with the closing of the Keystone pipeline, why not start a pipe system across the country so that when the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers flood every spring, excess water can be pumped into reservoirs on the west side of the Rocky Mountains for use later in the year for crop irrigation and fire suppression.

Sounds crazy right? Look Richard Branson took a joy ride into space last Sunday, this is do-able. Everyone will argue that the costs would be too great and they would be right. It would be a project equal in scope to the Interstate Road system across this country, but look at the benefit and the cost savings after it is completed.

Imagine driving to Albany, New York City or Buffalo if there was no Interstate. People had to do it in the past and it took a lot of time, driving through town after town at thirty miles per hour. The same would hold true for a national water grid. Imagine if people’s homes and businesses didn’t get flooded out every few years on the Mississippi River, raising everyone’s insurance premiums.

Think of the homes that could be saved in the west, when wildfires can be fought with an abundance of water and even prevented by fighting the very drought that causes the problem. We will soon have commercial space travel, albeit for the very rich, it is about time we start thinking bigger.

We have an electrical grid and Interstate highway system, now it is time to take what the Roman’s started over two thousand years ago with their aquaducts to the next level, the American National Water Grid, the eighth wonder of the world.

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