Gardening after the rain is one of the most satisfying ways to get outside, get dirty, and breathe in the gorgeous freshly washed air and smell of damp soil. Soil feels more alive after a good soak; the worms are stirring, the microbes are working, and together they aerate and nourish the ground in ways you can't even see at the surface. To make the most of the brilliant rain we have just had, check off these three simple jobs that are best done as soon as possible:1. Start weeding.
Recent rain, along with the longer days of the season, means the weeds will start sprouting with a vengeance. Tackle them now while they're seedlings to prevent them from taking over your garden. 2. Spread loads of mulch love.
To keep the weeds away after you've removed them, spread a 5 - 7cm thick layer of organic mulch on your soil. Not only will the mulch smother any weeds threatening to poke through the ground, it'll help hold in moisture and keep the soil warm, which is especially important after rain.
Mulch also keeps the soil from eroding (and the rain from washing away all the nutrients) if we have another deluge (which may well be the case, if the BOM has their forecasts right). If you have existing plants in your garden bed, mulch around the stems (leaving a "moat" of a few inches around) and not right next to the stem, as it could cause rot. To mulch large areas, lay down pieces of weed mat or cardboard and apply a thin layer of organic mulch to keep everything looking tidy.
3. Turn the compost heap.
If you have an open-air compost heap in your backyard, you'll want to fluff it up with a garden fork. Turn it over, stir it up, and give it some good aeration after it's been soaked and compressed by several days of rain. Overly wet compost can't breathe; it suppresses aerobic bacteria (the ones breaking down all the organic matter) and introduces anaerobic bacteria (the ones that cause compost to smell rotten). Above-ground compost heaps need good air circulation to properly decompose. You'll want to do the same thing even if you have a closed compost heap, as heavy rain can easily leak into a lidded bin or compost tumbler.
To help you out with the mulching bit, we have a fantastic special on Tea Tree mulch at the moment. You can buy it at $75m3 (normally retails at $82m3). This offer is available while stocks last. You can order it online here.