As a rule of thumb, rain is believed to be a blessing for most varieties of plants, because water is considered to be the most valuable resource for crop production. And yes, in the best case scenario, rain waters all sorts of crops and provides a much-needed respite for farmers.
However, as they say, too much of anything is not good.
While rain is almost like a farmer’s salvation, it can sometimes become a prominent source of challenges as well. Higher than ideal rainfall can lead to significant problems, ranging from drowned crops to lower yields.
Wait, is rainfall really harmful?
Yes. Extreme rainfall has been known to cause heavy damage to a wide range of crops grown across the country, in farms ranging from a couple of acres to hundreds of acres.
Too much direct water can saturate plants to the point where mold and mildew begins to grow. More often than not, this ends up killing otherwise healthy plants.
Moreover, in traditional farming, the harmful effects might not even present themselves immediately. Say that the leaves of a plant that you’re growing are beginning to go brown. Unlike what you’re likely to immediately assume, this might not be because the plant is not receiving enough water.
Instead, because of waterlogging, the roots could be facing issues supplying the readily available water to the leaves. Hydroponic plants are not prone to this issue, because of absence of soil, but it is better to always ensure proper drainage in your hydroponic system.
So, how to make sure that your crops are safe?
1. Ensure proper drainage
Setting up a well planned drainage system before the monsoon season can go a long way in reducing the negative effects of rains. Usually, rainwater accumulates in a field and percolates into the soil, in the absence of an appropriate drainage system. This eventually drowns the roots and destroys the plants.
While your hydroponic plants might not run this risk because they are not grown in soil, they might suffer in other ways. And waterlogging is always an inconvenience if your plants require regular attention, like most hydroponic plants do. If there is too much water on the ground, you would have a difficult time navigating your farm and getting to your plants.
You can combat this problem quite simply by building a basic canal or channel in order to provide a pathway for the excess water in your farm to an area designated to collect rainwater.
2. Regularly prune all damaged plants
Well, this one just makes sense even if you’re not concerned about extreme rainfall. You should routinely check your plants for signs of ill health, especially after a harsh bout of rainfall.
If you spot any parts that show signs of browning, weakness or look like they’re about to fall off, cut them immediately.
By doing so, you’ll probably stop the problem from spreading to the other parts of the plant and chances are, the plant will start growing back to health as time passes.
3. Set up a rain cover
One of the most obvious ways of protecting your plants is to literally stop the water from getting to them, by setting up rain covers. Specifically, if most of your plants grow in an open area, rain covers could be a major game changer for you.
There are a few factors that you should keep in mind before choosing one though. Firstly, make sure you pick a cover that is durable and tear resistant, as well as readily reusable.
It is also important to map out the size of your farm as well as the plants that you grow against the dimensions of the cover, so that you do not underestimate or overestimate the area that the cover will protect.
4. Provide extra support
When heavy rains are accompanied by strong winds, they bring a whole host of added troubles. Smaller plants, for instance, are very tender. So, they might bend and break due to the force of winds.
To prevent such an outcome, it is advisable to stake your plants. Install a wooden stake really close to the plant and attach the plant’s stem to the stake using a few strings. This gives an extra layer of strength to the plant.
If you do stake your plant, ensure that it is atleast a bit taller than the plant. This ensures that, in future, the plant grows in an orderly manner and the stem does not bend or break as it grows.
Protecting your crops from atmospheric conditions does not have to be rocket science. If you follow these simple methods and keep a close eye on your plants, they are most likely to thrive.
More importantly, always remember that prevention is better than cure. Take multiple measures to ensure plant safety, and rest assured that you will not regret going the extra mile when you see them bloom.
As one of the major stakeholders of hydroponic farming in India, we aim to empower both seasoned and amatuer farmers against the challenges commonly faced during this process. To this end, we offer a variety of crop protection solutions, in collaboration with Pic Plast Ltd.
Their premium reinforced covers provide a reliable means of shielding your plants from the harmful effects of rainfall. Since they also minimise the effect of hail, frost, and sunburn on your crops, they are the perfect solution for all-round protection.
You could also choose to set up their unique net house kit, which is highly suited to growing plants in tropical climates such as those in India. It comes with an internal rain protection system, so that you can reap the benefits of superior produce, regardless of the weather.
All in all, it’s better to be prepared for extreme weather conditions in advance, so that while your crops are protected from rainfall, you can take a break to enjoy the glorious weather!