There is always some chance of rain in the forecast in the seven day forecast. And that rain runs into our storm sewers carrying dirt and other toxic chemicals with them into our rivers. The rain also causes stream and creeks to rise, eroding the shoreline, taking away some of the beauty that makes up nature.
One way to help reduce the danger to the environment is by making a rain garden. Not only will it help keep some of the water from entering streams, creeks and rivers causing pollution and erosion, it will also help reduce the need to water your garden or even small parts of your lawn, because water will be available more readily.
Did you know rain gardens can absorb 30% more water than the same size area of a lawn?
Because they are versatile, they can be any shape or size. It is important where you place your rain garden. Most people plant them at the low spot in their yard. However, do not plant your garden in an area where the water creates a mini-pond after a rain storm. According to extension experts at the University of Missouri, those mini-pond areas usually mean the soil is to low to absorb the water.
Ok now that we got all that out of the way, it is time to start planting your garden. Be sure to place your rain garden at least 10 feet from buildings to keep the water from seeping into and damaging the foundation.
Start by digging a 4 to 8” hole, with gradually sloping sides. A good rule of thumb is to size your garden at 30 percent of the area where it will be collecting the water. If you prefer to hold water in your garden in drier times, dig that hole deeper, like 18”.
Once you get the hole dug, test your soil’s ability to hold water by filling the hole with water. If it drains out, you may want to install a plastic liner where you want the ponding to occur and then install the plants around the liner.
So what types of plants should you consider? Well it all depends on your climate and where you have put your rain garden.
For partially shaded areas, you might want to consider Virginia Wild Rye or maybe a Cardinal Flower.
If your rain garden is in full sunlight, then you might want to think about Soft Rush, Blue Sage or maybe even Wild Quinine.
While it may be a rain garden, you will still need to water your native plants every other day until their roots are fully established. This should be done for the first two or three weeks or until the plants show they are doing well.
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