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Watering Plants While on Vacation

Watering plants while on vacation
Spending time outdoors in your garden is a wonderful way to enjoy the warmer months. However, this is when many people also schedule a vacation. While it is possible to leave your pets in special facilities, ensuring that your garden does not wither away when you are on vacation is much more complex. However, with proper planning you can come back to a lush garden after a vacation or even a business trip.

Drought Resistant Plants

As most people go on a vacation each year and sometimes have to travel on work as well, it is better to select drought resistant plants and shrubs as far as possible. This will ensure that the plants survive even if they are not watered for a couple of days as you make a weekend trip to the beach.

Cover the Soil with Mulch

You can also help the soil in the yard retain moisture for a longer period of time by covering the soil around plants with mulch. Mulch will help keep the sun off the soil.

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This will also benefit you and the garden in the long run, as the mulch will provide vital nutrients to the soil and will reduce the amount of water needed by the plants throughout summer. This will help you reduce the time spent watering and lower your water bills as well. A layer of mulch will also reduce the growth of weeds and inhibit the presence of pests.

Watering System with Timer

You can also install a self-watering system with a timer, and attach it to the faucet. If you flip the switch for this system, ensure that you leave a note close to the tap to make sure no one turns it off when you are away.

Plant sitter

Plant Sitter

If you are planning a week long or longer vacation, the best way to help your garden survive is to get a plant sitter. You can either request a neighbor who is a gardening enthusiast to water your plants and return the favor when they go on vacation or hire a teen looking for a summer job (you do not need to find a garden enthusiast!).

Either way, you need to make sure that they are aware of the extent of the work and understand what needs to be done. You should write down exactly what they should do and make sure they are reliable.

Move Containers to the Shade

If you have containers of plants as part of your landscaping, move them to the shade so that they do not dry out quickly. You can then install a DIY drip irrigation system or wick irrigation system to ensure that the soil in the containers do not dry out fast.

Unlike your yard’s soil, the soil in containers can dry out faster. This is because they do not have the entire ground around them to keep them cool and because water drains much faster in pots than in your yard.

However, you can fashion a drip irrigation system by covering the opening of a plastic water bottle with gauze and cutting away the bottom. Now, upturn the bottle and place it nozzle first in the container of soil. Fill the bottle with water using the cut bottom. Also water the container. As the soil dries, the water from the bottle will seep into the soil, keeping the plant watered.

If you have a lot of containers that need to be watered, you can place a large bucket of water in their midst and fashion wicks by braiding strips of cotton from old tee shirts. Dip one end of the wick in the bucket of water and insert the other end into the soil in the container. Before you leave, water the container. As the soil dries, the wick will transport water to the soil, keeping your plant saturated with enough water.

drip irrigation system

Drip Irrigation Using a Hose

Another way of ensuring that the plants in your yard receive water when you are away is to use a hose and fashion a drip irrigation system.

If you have an old hose, punch a few holes along its side and lay it close to the rows of plants. Connect the hose to one that has no holes and connect this to the tap. Open the tap very mildly, so that water just drips out of the faucet. Leave a notice close to the tap to ensure that no one turns it off inadvertently.

Over the remaining days, the dripping water will gradually water the plants through the holes in the hose. Any excess water will likely be absorbed by the soil. However, you cannot use this system if your plants will only survive in dry soil.

Cover Plants with a Shade Giving Material

If you have plants directly planted in the yard and want to protect them when you are away you can cover them using a cloth tied to poles. This will provide them with shade and ensure that they do not dry out fast.

While plants thrive only when watered regularly, a lush garden does not mean sacrificing your vacation or fun time spent away from home. Instead, you can plan ahead and use a variety of methods to ensure that your plants receive the water they need while you are away on making new memories.

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About the Author

Greg Bailey is a partner at Outdoor Living Manufacturing Ltd, a value added forest company specializing in do-it-yourself western red cedar kits. He has been in the forest industry for over 30 years and an owner at OLM for over 10 years.

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