How to Keep Your Garden Alive While You Are on Vacation
One of the biggest challenges a gardener faces is what to do about the garden while away on vacation. Summer is the season for family vacations, but it is also the biggest season for your garden. So much can go wrong when you are not tending your garden daily! The plants can suffer from too much sun with not enough water, damaging bugs and fungus may set in…it can be tough out there for your flowers, fruits, and vegetables when left on their own! The good news is you can keep your garden alive while on vacation with a little planning.
If you will only be gone for a weekend vacation your garden may not need any care or consideration at all. Shy of a wild wind storm or unexpected hail, most gardens can tend to themselves over two or three days and turn out just fine. Before leaving home for an extended period of time, give your garden plants a deep watering, and if necessary, some fresh mulch can aid in keeping your garden thriving over the weekend.
When you plan a week or longer vacation your garden needs a bit more attention. The first step should be to plan for someone physically stop at your house and check on your garden. Even with the best automation (sprinkler system, earth boxes, drip hose) and prior planning done before you leave town, your garden is still susceptible to pests (rabbits, deer, bugs). By having a friend stop by and check on your plants, their intervention and possibly treating an issue can save a lot of heartaches later. As a thank you measure, you can encourage the attendee to harvest any fruits or vegetables that ripen while you are gone, or, if the fruits of your labor are not ready yet (ha ha!), a bag of produce at harvest time would not be remiss. If your garden helper has all the produce s/he needs from their own garden, an offer to reciprocate when they go on vacation would be an excellent trade!
If you have a sprinkler system installed at your home, make certain you have a rain gauge installed. That will stop your sprinkler from going on when there is water in the gutters. Have you ever seen sprinklers on during a storm? I always shake my head. A $50 rain gauge can save so much water.
An automatic Wi-Fi enabled watering system can be your best friend. These devices are handy for when you need to leave town. Simply check the weather and set your garden to be watered right from your smartphone or tablet. This is really handy for any garden. Add watering globes or homemade ones using wine bottles filled and inserted into the soil to help keep your potted plants thriving while you are on vacation.
Before you leave town, tend your garden by pulling weeds and assess your mulch to see if a fresh layer is needed to keep weeds from taking over while you are away. Prune plants (garden vegetables – check for the correct time of year for trees and shrubs) before you go on vacation to reduce any dead and decaying plant material that will call to pests you do not want in your garden. Inspect plants and treat them for any pests already invading before they have a chance to take over while you are away. If aphids are a common problem for you be proactive and order a batch of ladybugs to be set free before you leave.
Feed your garden before you leave. Your garden will grow and thrive after being well fed. Use a liquid fertilizer or fertilizer pellets that can work its way past your mulch layer. A well-fed garden is stronger for fighting off pests and handling variations in the water cycle.
When you return from vacation your garden will most likely need some attention. Spend a couple hours when you get home harvesting any crops, pulling weeds, and inspecting your garden for bugs that have snuck their way into your garden. If you did not feed your plants before leaving on vacation take a moment to do it when you get home.
Your garden can thrive while you are away on vacation and if all else fails the time you took to prep before leaving home will reduce damage and allow your garden to bounce back when you get home and are able to care for it again daily.
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