Why is Rainfall So Much Better For Your Garden Than Watering?
Have you ever noticed how healthy and green everything looks after a nice rainstorm? It never looks that good after you run the sprinklers does it? I love the rain and come August when I am so tired of dragging the hose out to water the garden each day I really welcome it.
Did you know that when it rains it provides the earth with a lot more than just water? Rain is a natural fertilizer for the earth. Everything growing in the ground uses nutrients from the soil, particularly nitrogen and sulfur. A lot of plants get many of their nutrients from rain too. So watering them with the garden hose does not provide them with nearly as many benefits as having it rain on them.
Rain and lightning provide many much needed nutrients to the plants and soil, including the nitrogen and sulfur the plants take from the earth. When lightning strikes the earth the ground is filled with large amounts of nitrogen pulled from the atmosphere. All plants need nitrogen to help them make chlorophyll, so rain and lightning are very much needed in our gardens.
Another benefit of rain is dust. Yes rain tends to settle the dust that is in the air making it easier to breathe but it also does more than that. The dust in the air is filled with minerals, organic matter and microorganisms that benefit plants and the soil. The dust floats around in the atmosphere until it rains. The rains bring all of these good nutrients back to earth where they are so useful.
Snow is another natural fertilizer that not only adds nitrogen to the soil but also phosphorus and other minerals. Snow is essentially rainwater, but obviously in a different form. This matters though because it captures different minerals from the atmosphere that will help our soil in the long run. The slow melting and soaking that occurs each spring in snowy climates really benefits our plants and soil in different ways than rain can.
So even with modern technology allowing us to water anything we need, included huge fields of crops in the middle of nowhere, it is really the rain that we need more than anything. Droughts cause lots of problems and even watering regularly during a drought won't provide your plants with everything they need. I see an added benefit to getting rain barrel set up, in that even when it isn't raining anymore, you can capture those benefits to be used later on during a dry spell. This almost makes me want to do a rain dance.