Liquid Sunshine

Liquid Sunshine is what has been falling over much of our area this spring. While we are so grateful for it, there have been days I’ve longed to see the sun shine for one entire day, uninterrupted by the daily shower. It’s turned our high, dry, desert southwest into an oasis. I was driving through Arizona about a month ago and was delighted at the abundance of cactus flowers in bloom. Another day I was coming back across the Reservation and was able to see both ends of the rainbow for the first time! (Too bad I couldn’t see the pot of gold too!) Rainwater truly is Mother Nature’s gift!

So what makes it so good for your plants and in your yard? Lots of things!

First of all, and perhaps most important… it’s free! No high water bills over the course of the last month and that has been a very good thing for many people. But there are lots of other benefits too.

Rainwater is free of toxins like chlorine and salts that are found in other water sources. The salt free water increases the uptake of nutrients and improves water retention in your plants. It increases the effectiveness of detergents so you can use less, and it minimizes mineral build up found in our hard water here.

You’ll find a good many beneficial nutrients in rainwater to help your plants. These include nitrogen, sulfur, and microorganisms, to name a few. Since plants draw nitrogen from the soil, rainwater helps to replenish and increase that in the soil. Plants use sulfur to form amino acids necessary for their growth, and microorganisms help to fertilize the soil.

So is there anything bad about rainwater? Yes, there can be. Pollutants are always a concern, though not so much in this area. Acid rain is generally a problem in larger, more populated areas. But overall, in our part of the world, rainwater is far more beneficial than detrimental to your plants.

There is one downside, however, to all of this wonderful rain. Have you noticed a gray, fuzzy substance on the leaves of some of your plants? It’s most likely powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is caused by too much rain, too much humidity on leaves that aren’t able to dry off before evening. Because of the very wet spring, we’ve noticed this on our plants for the first time in a very long time. Coming from the humidity laden East Coast, we’re unfortunately familiar with this though. Treat powdery mildew by using Copper Fungicide or Infuse. You may also have success with Neem. While it isn’t pretty, it is easily treated if caught early, so keep your eyes peeled for this in your garden.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the very green spring this year, but if you haven’t, don’t worry ~ monsoon season is just around the corner!