Summer is here, and its vacation time! Like most people, you might be planning to go on vacation to take a breather from work or go on a beach trip to enjoy the breeze and soak up the sun. But if you're a gardener, you must be feeling worried about the well-tended garden that you've worked so hard on this spring to keep healthy and beautiful.
Landscape plants are growing actively during summer and are susceptible to drought injury. Hot temperatures, unforeseen problems, and spotty showers can set you up for disappointment when coming home to a parched and withered garden. Fortunately, you can avoid this disappointment by using some gardening tips to water your plants and take care of them so they can thrive even in your absence.
These 10 great tips allow you to enjoy your vacation without worrying about your garden. Let's get started!
1.Clean your garden
This is the first and foremost step in taking care of your plants while you're on vacation. Before you leave, spend some time tidying up your garden and making it clutter-free. Pull out weeds, deadhead blooms, and yellowing and dead leaves. It ensures your plants will get water without any hurdles and gives them a good chance to survive without your daily TLC.
Besides, pick anything that is ripe and check out plants that show any signs of damage from pests. If your plants are healthy when you head out for vacation, they're better prepared to deal with a new care schedule and a few days of stress.
2.Thoroughly water and mulch plants before you leave
If you're going for only a few days, your garden plants can survive with thorough soaking and a layer of mulch over the soil. Whether you've raised beds, a container garden, or an inground plot, deeply water your garden before you leave and when you return. After giving a complete soaking, add mulch to the area. The mulch helps plants retain moisture and keep the soil shaded and cool.
It is vital to add two to three inches of mulch to your garden bed. Don't add too much mulch, as it can encourage fungal problems and block oxygen to roots. However, if your garden is already well-mulched, only water it deeply before leaving. Make sure the soil is well-soaked a few inches below the surface. It will keep your plants healthy during your short vacation.
3.Install Drip Irrigation System
Install a drip irrigation system before going on vacation, as it can benefit your garden in many ways. Installing this system is quite simple. You can get an inexpensive drip irrigation kit that connects to your outdoor hose faucet. Our drip irrigation kits provide all the materials that can help you grow your garden and save water when you're away. Moreover, you can link it to the timer to automatically water exactly when you need it when you're not home.
High-end timers can also sense the intensity of rainfall and can adjust accordingly. The drip irrigation system is the most efficient method because it waters the plants precisely where needed without wasting water. Ideally, the drip irrigation system should be installed before the beginning of the growing season, when you can adjust the placement of the plants in your garden.
4.Set timers on hose sprinklers
You can still benefit from timers if you've not yet installed a drip irrigation system in your garden. This is an excellent tip for watering your garden when you're on vacation. Timers also work well with a hose connected to the ordinary garden sprinkler. Place the sprinklers on timers and turn on the water source to water your plants simultaneously every day.
It is recommended to water in the early morning or evening when the sun won't quickly evaporate the water. Most importantly, make sure hose connections are watertight because even a small leak can waste gallons of water if it drips when the timer is off.
5.Set up rain barrels and attach them to soaker hoses
Rain barrels are an excellent way to store water from rainfall. And they can help keep your plants well-hydrated while you're vacationing. So, attach a long soaker hose to your rain barrel and run it through the garden. The barrel will slowly drip the water into your plants and soak the ground.
When you leave home, make sure the rain barrel is full. If the rainfall has not filled it, you can fill the barrel with a hose. The full rain barrel can distribute water to your garden through a soaker hose for as much as a week.
6.Move plants in the shade
Protect your garden or raised beds by hanging shade cloth or umbrella to diffuse sunlight. Shade cloth can be used to protect your plants from the scorching heat of summer. You can hang the cloth from two poles or stretch it across a fence. Besides, you can also use old screens or sheer curtains for temporary use during a short vacation. These things will help protect the plants from direct sunlight.
Furthermore, if you have a container garden, group the containers together and relocate them to a shady area. You know container gardens need more water and dry out if not watered daily. Moving them into a shaded location helps the soil keep moisture since the sun will not beat them directly.
7.Use Watering Bulbs and Drip Jugs
Use glass or plastic watering bulbs to water your container gardens and indoor plants. Fill the bulbs with water and embed them into the soil. The bulbs will slowly drip water into the container over a week. However, make sure first to water the potting soil deeply before you leave, then fill and embed the bulb. Using this method to hydrate your plants can be expensive if you've many plants.
In addition to watering bulbs, drip jugs are another way to water your plants. Although it is not such a pretty solution, watering jugs can supply moisture to your plants and help them survive in your absence. This works best for in-ground plants as well as container-grown plants. The idea is to take a 2-liter plastic bottle or milk jug, poke multiple tiny holes in its bottom, partially bury it in the ground adjacent to the plant and fill it with water. The jug will slowly soak the plants' roots for a week or more.
8.Don't forget to water your houseplants
When you're thinking about taking care of your garden while away on vacation, don't forget your houseplants. A great way to water houseplants is to stand them on gravel trays and then water them. The gravel will remain damp and create a healthy, cool atmosphere around the plants.
Another excellent way to water your indoor houseplants is by creating watering wicks. Set up a bottle or jar full of water and run a wick of cotton string from the water to the soil, around 1 inch deep. The wick will absorb the water from the jar and transfer it to the soil. Alternatively, you can run some water in the bath and place your houseplants in it. A cool bathroom provides an ideal atmosphere for most plants.
9.Add water-retaining crystals
Another tip to keep your plants hydrated while you're on holiday is to blend some water-retaining polymer crystals into the plants' soil. These little crystals can absorb water and then slowly release it back into your plants. It is best to use this method along with another watering method to make sure your plants remain well-hydrated over time.
10.Call in a garden buddy
If you are away from home for two weeks or longer, you'll need a garden buddy to water your plants and tend to your garden while you're vacationing. Find a neighbor or friend and offer to care for each other's plants during holidays. Give them a tour of your garden and provide all the details of watering and plant care to make things easier for them. Besides, ask them to harvest any produce that ripens in your absence and enjoy.
Finally, it is a sweet gesture to bring them a little thank-you gift from your travels so they will be happy to take care of your garden again in the future.
The Bottom Line
Your plants don't have to suffer while you enjoy your vacation. There's no reason you should not be able to relax without coming home to withered plants. Now, you have multiple ideas for garden care when you're away from home. All of these are free or inexpensive methods that can help you enjoy your holiday knowing that your plants are taking care of themselves. With little planning and a few tips, you can return to a healthy garden. Follow these ten tips to keep your garden happy, and make sure it thrives while you're away on vacation and enjoy a great restful holiday.