According to the “experts” we may be in for a Godzilla-sized El Nino this winter.

We really need the rain, but is your garden ready for “The Big One”?

When the rain comes, you want to be sitting by a cozy fire with a cup of cocoa and a good book, not soaking wet in the pouring rain unclogging your drains. Here are three easy ways to ensure you get the hot cocoa option when El Nino comes.


  1. Clean gutters and downspouts. We have gone 4 years without any significant rain. A few downpours, yeah, but nothing like El Nino promises to bring. Downspouts and gutters clog with leaves, dirt and other kinds of debris when they aren’t in use (even little animals can be living in there) so be smart and clean gutters and downspouts now. It’s pretty easy if you do it while the sun is shining. Sweep out the gutters and test the downspouts. Put a hose down every downspout to make sure they are working as they should.
  2. Drains and catch basins get filled with dirt, leaves and all kinds of stuff. Lift off the drain grate and clean the catch basins. Then test drains to make sure they are working. I spoke with a plumber a few days ago and he told me tree roots are intruding into drains, sewer lines and water lines like never before because of the lack of water. You may need to call a “Roter Rooter” type service to clear the lines of roots. This includes French drains.
  3. Moisture Against The Foundation. We haven’t had to worry too much about moisture gathering against or under the house because it has been so dry. However, if the rain does come, now is the time to ensure that the soil falls away from the house. Check around your home and make sure your home isn’t sitting in a hole. Get soil away from the foundation and if you are concerned, dig down about 6 inches deep all around your house and fill the resulting trench with gravel. That will ensure you keep the foundation dry. If you are concerned about ground water, a French drain will draw water away from the house.

Next week, I’ll give you more ways to ensure you are prepared for what we hope will be a really gully-washer this winter.

Until then, fill your garden with joy!