Take Steps to Keep Your Garden Going While You’re Gone

The kids are out of school and it’s officially vacation time! Summer is here with trips to the cottage, visiting family and camping. But what does this mean for your garden as you leave days on end? With the warmer dryer temperatures (hopefully) upon us it can mean that your garden experiences desert-like conditions while you are away. Further, pests can quickly take hold without your supervision. Quickly all the plants you’ve worked so hard to raise can fall ill and all your troubles are for nought. Here are some ideas to keep your garden healthy while enjoying your much needed time off.

Mulch

Keep evaporation to a minimum by adding a healthy layer of mulch to the surface. Short times away (5 days or less) mean you can give plants abut an inch of water before you leave and a thick layer of mulch should help it retain enough to get by until you return.

Drip-irrigation

This can be fairly easily achieved by purchasing a few key items. A hose timer, drip pipe and mulch will make an inexpensive irrigation system that is also very efficient. Simply connect and weave through your garden bed covering with a layer of mulch. Set the timer for early morning to minimize evaporation.

Containers & Houseplants

The key to maintaining a healthy containers is by limiting the amount of sunlight and keeping up the soil moisture. Outside containers can be moved to a shady spot and if placed on saucers they should be filled to the brim. If you’re going away for a just a few days, all you really need is to give the plants a good soaking. Grouping them together will also allow the foliage to keep up the humidity.

There are also many clever vacation watering devices on the market that incorporate recycled 2-liter pop bottles as reservoirs. Inexpensive plastic or clay spouts that will gradually send water directly to the plant’s roots.

You should also be using a good quality potting soil like Miracle Grow. Absorbent material like coir is added to the soil and this helps retain water.

Treat before you leave

If you’ve noticed any leaf holes or other visible signs of pests or fungus I highly recommend using a safe universal treatment such as Safer’s or a nematodes prior to your trip. In my experience problems left unattended quickly escalate in your absence and can sometime lead to irreparable damage.

A little planning goes a long way in assuring that your garden is as beautiful as the day you left for vacation. Now get out there and enjoy!!

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