Watering While Away

August 1, 2019 11:01 pm

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How to keep your plants healthy and happy while you enjoy your trip

It’s vacation time! You’re going to be gone for two weeks, your friends, neighbors and family members are all busy, and the weatherman says it’s going to be “hot, hot, hot.” What about your garden?

Fear not! A few minutes of thoughtful planning and a quick trip to the garden center will ensure meeting your plants’ watering requirements even when you can’t be home for daily moisture checks. Popular and effective solutions include…

  • Pre-Watering: Before you leave on your trip, make sure your plants are well-watered. Many plants can withstand some watering neglect. In fact, if you’re watered them right before your trip, they may not need any further supplemental solutions. Take care not to overwater, however, or you could be compounding the problem and drowning your plants. For trips longer than a week, try adding the following safeguards…
  • Anti-Drought Solution: Prior to leaving, water with an anti-drought solution. It temporarily forces the plant into dormancy. This reduces the water requirement for roughly two weeks. Effective control will vary by product and plant type, so check with an expert to make sure this is a good choice for your plants. This can also affect blooming or growth periods, so read instructions carefully and use the solution exactly as directed.
  • Self-Watering Containers: Planting your plants in self-watering pots is a great way for frequent travelers to plan ahead. A reservoir holds water under the pot, and this water gradually travels to the soil via a wick, always keeping the soil moist so long as the reservoir contains water. If you want to use a specific pot without a built-in reservoir, use a conversion kit. Various sizes are available and some use fill tubes. Consider adding liquid fertilizer to the reservoir water to ensure your plant gets proper nutrition while you are away.
  • Individual Pot Drippers: These generally hold water above the plant. Various sizes and styles provide water to small and large pots. From beautiful blown glass globes to simple plastic bottles, these allow water to drip down into the soil through a drip-tip inserted in the soil. One style even looks like a flask attached to the side of the pot with a tube dripping water to the soil. Because they show above the plant, many people only use them during their vacation.
  • Automatic Watering Irrigation Systems: These are more elaborate but very effective options for outdoor gardens and landscapes. Irrigation systems are designed to do the watering work for you through an array of options. A large water reservoir feeds to your greenery through small tubing attached to drippers inserted in the soil. These systems pump water on a regular basis using and timer, making them ideal for regular watering when you may be taking a longer trip. These also allow liquid fertilizer in the reservoir, so your plants are properly nourished. Irrigation technology knows when and where water is needed without any prodding or encouragement from homeowners.
So go ahead and enjoy your trip…your plants will be just fine!

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