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Originally published Friday, March 7, 2014 at 8:01 PM

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Rainy weather can brighten the day for gardeners

For gardeners, rainy days are the best. There is so much to do when it rains — besides splashing around in the puddles in your new pair of Wellies, of course. Here are some things to do.

The Orange County Register

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I have this theory that gardeners were the kids that rocked at playing outdoors.

We were the ones that climbed the trees, hung the tree swings, dug the holes and made the best forts.

Gardening, more than anything, is about being outside. And we’re the ones who can’t quite give up making those mud pies.

For gardeners, rainy days are the best. There is so much to do when it rains — besides splashing around in the puddles in your new pair of Wellies, of course.

Drag the houseplants outside. Rain is an opportunity to wash the tap-water salts out of your houseplants and give them a perky start for the new year. Put them under a corner of your eaves and really soak the larger pots. Be sure to drain the catch tray under the pots before you bring them back inside.

Collect rainwater. If you have a rain barrel installed outside your home, that’s even better. Collected rainwater can be used on orchids, carnivorous plants and houseplants. If you don’t have a rain barrel, put a bucket or two under your downspouts and collect as much as you can to water your delicate plants through the winter.

Weed. Rainy days are the best for pulling deep-rooted weeds like dandelions or thistles. If the soil has been moist for a few days, you won’t even need tools to pull up entire weeds. I just throw them on the lawn where they will wilt as soon as the sun pops out and eventually get mowed up.

Scatter seeds. Wildflower, lettuce and other seeds can be sprinkled across the top of the soil and will germinate quickly while the soil is saturated.

Check runoff. If too much water is running down your driveway and into the storm drain, think about redirecting the rain to a place on your property where it can soak into the soil. A low depression lined with rocks, called a rain garden, is a good place to put plants that like a lot of water around their roots, like some irises and bog plants.

Clean out your bird feeders. Soaked birdseed is bad news, quickly breeding harmful funguses and bacteria. Dump out wet seed, wash your feeders thoroughly and put them outside again when the sun is shining.

Peruse the catalogs. Once you’re snug inside, pull out your stack of seed catalogs and order for next year. Consider trying something you’ve never tried before.

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