Nothing is sadder than coming home from vacation to a yard full of dead flowers, vegetables and herbs. Unless you’re lucky enough to have family, neighbors or friends look after the plants, then you’ll have to make some preps before you leave.
The day before you leave, water everything deeply. Hopefully, you have a 3 inch layer of mulch throughout the garden, beds and borders. If not, then water all the plants slowly, so that the water sinks in the soil near the root system. Slow watering will deliver gallons of water deep into the soil where the plants need it most. Do the watering early in the day, so it does not evaporate in the sun and extreme temperatures.
Take down all hanging baskets, water them well, and place them under a tree, shrubs, or a shady carport. Somewhere shady and cooler will help them survive longer than hanging up in the sun. You can place trays filled with water under the baskets/planters and this will water them slowly. It may rain while you’re away, and it may not.
All potted herbs, flowers and vegetables should be moved into a shady area. Even sun-loving plants will survive in the shade for 10 days or more. Better shade and cooler temperatures than a blazing hot sun beating down on them all day. Water everything slowly, and if you have time, mulch the soil on top of the pots. Just a thin layer of mulch will help hold in vital moisture in the soil.
Now would be a good time to do some pruning and harvesting of the herb plants. Cut some branches and snip some leaves and lay them on paper towels on the kitchen counter. The house will be cool and dark, and they’ll dry while you’re away.
Houseplants will need some attention as well. If the pots are small, fill the bathtub with an inch of water and place the pots in the tub. The water will be absorbed through the bottom of the planters. Wipe the pots off when you return and place them in a brightly lit area. They may look a little pale, but they’ll recover quickly. Big planters should be watered completely until the soil is soaked. They’ll be fine while you’re away.
Pick all the vegetables that are ripe, and water tomato and pepper plants deeply. Same for cucumbers and squash. Some gardeners pick off the small squash and cucumbers before they leave. This way the vines will keep producing instead of going to seed.
Trees, shrubs, perennials and ornamentals could use a deep watering as well. It’s a lot to take care of before you leave, but if you don’t water, you may not have anything alive when you get back.
Have a safe vacation, enjoy yourself and your loved ones. Perhaps the Fey will turn on the sprinkler while you’re away.
Blessed be ~ sweet ones.
~ Meadow Walker