Summer vacations are wonderful for gardeners but not so wonderful for their gardens. While you’re spending a delightful week or two at the beach or in the mountains, your garden is on its own and at the mercy of the elements. If the weather is mild and rainfall is consistent while you’re away, your garden should manage just fine without daily ministrations. You’ll have a few more weeds to pull and some deadheading to catch up on, but well-established plants can tolerate a week or two of mild neglect. However, with the dog days of summer nearly upon us, the weather while you’re away is likely to be broiling hot and desert dry. To protect the investment you’ve made in your garden – not to mention the sweat equity you’ve poured into your little piece of heaven -- you’ll want to add a few garden care chores to your vacation to-do list to ensure that when you return from your travels your garden will be just as beautiful as it was when you left.
- The week before you leave, unless your neighborhood receives a drenching rain, water your garden beds every other day to thoroughly soak the ground. This will allow plants to become well-hydrated and will allow moisture to permeate more deeply into the soil. When the soil is thoroughly saturated, it takes longer for soil moisture to evaporate away. Even small amounts of moisture in the soil will nourish plant roots, helping plants to survive in dry weather.
- If you will be gone for 10 days or more, enlist the aid of a neighbor (or their teenager) to keep an eye on your garden. Strategically position soaker hoses and sprinklers to reach garden beds. Ask your neighbor to turn on the outdoor faucet for a couple of hours every 5 days if it doesn’t rain.
Next time: Vacation care for hanging baskets and houseplants