How To Prepare Your Garden Before A Vacation

If you’re heading off on vacation this year, you need to ensure your garden is as ready as you are. Of course, you’re not taking your garden with you on vacation, but you’re going to be leaving a gap in your gardening and maintenance schedule which needs careful consideration.

You need to think about all the elements of your garden and the needs of the different plants in each area as well as how long you will be away. Any gardener knows that this is about more than watering. If you’re only away for a couple of days or a long weekend, you may not have much to do, but any longer than that and you need to ensure you have a plan in place.

For example, if you know that you are taking a vacation at some point in the gardening season, it’s a good idea to mix water absorbing gels into the pots. The gels absorb the water and, as they dry, slowly release the moisture back into the soil. Here are some other green-fingered tips to help you prepare your garden for your next vacation.

If You’re Away For 4-7 Days…

Move Plants Into The Shade

You should move your pot plants and those in containers into a shady and cool area as this will reduce how much water they lose. Additionally, large containers with soil showing can be covered with cocoa shells, wood chips, or other types of mulch and water them thoroughly to provide a slower release of water.

Self-watering Containers

Self-watering containers are ideal for indoor plants. The pot has a false bottom which you can add water to. This water is absorbed by fabric which passes to the soil and the plant’s roots providing a steady supply of water. It is even possible to make a homemade self-watering container. It’s worth remembering that plastic containers will be better at holding moisture than clay pots which dry quicker.

If You’re Away For Longer…

Lawn Care

Caring for your lawn is no doubt something you put a great deal of time and effort into, so leaving it to fend for itself for a few weeks is a potentially risky move. If you’re away for up to 10 days, mowing just before you leave should be sufficient, but if your vacation is longer, you may need to make other arrangements.

You may want to ask a trusted friend to mow the lawn while you’re away, but they may or may not be able to maintain your standards and personal preferences. You may want to consider hiring a professional Chicago lawn mowing service to ensure your lawn is in excellent condition on your return.

Set Up An Automatic Watering System

If you take regular vacations or are planning on being away for a long period of time, an automatic watering system may be a wise investment. They range in price depending on the sophistication of the technology as some can be controlled by computers.

Watering systems can be fitted with a timer to come on and off at regular intervals. Alternatively, you can buy soaker hoses which are made from recycled materials and lay in the flower beds, slowly releasing water.

Weeds & Pest Control

Before you leave, you need to ensure your plants are fully weeded to ensure weeds do not compete for the water your plants need. This should be done a couple of weeks before you go and then again a couple of days before you leave. Adding mulch like straw, pine needles, or bark to the plant beds will help to slow weeds from sprouting in your absence.

You should also check for pests are hanging around and administer appropriate treatment if you find any. If you have vegetables or annuals, consider laying a lightweight fabric over them to protect them from pests and help them to keep moisture.

Harvest Herbs And Fruits

Ready herbs should be harvested before you leave so that they can dry during your absence. Remove the flowers from the herbs to promote new growth. If you have fruiting plants or trees, pick any fruit which is ripe or will become ripe when picked. Fruits which grow too large may rot and fall off which may lead to disease.

Avoid Planting Anything New

It’s best to avoid planting anything new for a month before you leave as you should be present to tend and water new plants. In addition, it’s often best to avoid fertilizing annuals before you leave; this will stimulate growth, which needs more water.

Find A Garden Sitter

In some cases, you may feel more comfortable with a plant sitter who will come to tend your garden while you’re away. Ensure you clearly list every task which needs completing and are specific about the volume of water each plant should receive.