As a self-employed gardener it is sometimes a bit of a gamble as to whether I can work in the rain or not. These are the things I have to weigh up as I gaze out into my garden:
- Where am I working ? Some gardens drain very fast, some have heavy clay and remain sticky for a while. There are gardens where I can reach most of the soil from the path, but others have deep beds and lawns where I will make a muddy mess just arriving and departing.
- What do I need to do? Pruning is normally ok. Planting in sodden soil in the rain is like inserting plants into porridge. The soil structure can be damaged by doing this, and this will harm its ability to drain in the future. Weeding can be easier in a shower after a long period of drought, or harder if the soil is waterlogged.
- Will I need to tread on the soil (bad in heavy rain), look up (almost impossible), stay very still (nasty in cold rain) or use electricity?
- How long it has been raining? If it is the first rain for a few weeks the ground will be dry and will probably be fine. If it has rained solidly for two days and the sun comes out 5 minutes before I start, the ground will still be waterlogged.
- Is there a wet-weather job like stripping ivy from walls, tidying the greenhouse, edging the path, clearing leaves, turning the compost heap?
- Have I been out in the rain for several hours already, in which case I might be soaked through?
- Am I taking the mickey? I don’t want people to feel that I am turning up when I can’t really work.
- Occasionally I have work I can do from home, so I need to make a decision quite quickly so I can get on.
If you have lots of wet weather jobs, if it is urgent or important, or you want to sit and plan next year, let me know and I will come anyway. Unless I have to swim to get there!