How to keep your garden happy while you’re on vacation | Leaf Probably

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There are few things as satisfying as watching your garden transform during the growing season and enjoying the literal fruits of your labor. Gardens are a lot of work and require consistent care and attention. This effort must continue even when you are out of town.

You can still go on vacation without worrying about your garden, provided you take the right precautions before you leave. Instead of letting your garden wither from neglect, implement plans to keep your garden happy during your vacation.

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1. Clean your garden

Garden maintenance on vacation

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Before you go on a trip, spend some time tidying up your yard. Pull out weeds, dead flowers that are past their prime, pick anything that is ripe, and tend to plants that show signs of damage from aphids or other pests. When you leave your garden plants healthy, they will be better equipped to weather a few days of stress or a changed care schedule.

2. Mulch around plants

Garden maintenance on vacation

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In general, the biggest problem gardeners face when they go on vacation is keeping the soil in the garden moist. Adding about a 3-inch layer of mulch will protect your soil from the sun, regulate its temperature, and help prevent excessive evaporation.

However, there is such a thing as too much mulch – it’s a material that slugs seem to prefer due to its moisture content. Also, prevent mulch from accumulating on the trunks of trees or main stems of shrubs.

3. Water deep

Garden maintenance on vacation

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The last thing you should do before you go on vacation is to water all your plants thoroughly so that their roots grow deeper and stronger. Giving your yard about 2 inches of water should be all they need if you’re just going away for a long weekend. When you’re away longer (or during a heat wave), find additional watering methods to keep your plants happy.

4. Set up sprinkler timers and drip lines

Garden maintenance on vacation

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A surefire way to have peace of mind while on vacation is to install a sprinkler timer. With devices like the Gilmour Electronic Water Timer, the top electronic option in our guide to the best hose timers, you can program your hose or sprinkler to turn on and off automatically before you start your journey. With two hose connections, the timer makes it easy to water multiple zones.

Pair the sprinkler timer with a drip hose, like the H2O Works Heavy Duty Flat Soaker Hose, proven to be the most durable in our guide to the best drip hoses. Together, the timer and hose should ensure that every inch of your yard is getting the water it needs while you’re away.

5. Implement pest control methods

Garden maintenance on vacation

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If you’ve lived in the same house for a while, you probably know what pests to look out for in your garden. From insects to rodents to deer, there are always plenty of creatures that would love to come into your garden beds. If you do nothing about it, your garden may be ransacked when you get home from vacation.

One thing you can do to protect yourself from a decimated yard is to put up motion detectors or ultrasonic repellents. The mole repellent Mostatto was the top pick in our guide to the best ultrasonic pest repellents, and it’s powered by solar energy. You can also release beneficial insects like ladybugs, surround your yard with lattice fencing, hang scented soap between your plants, or take other pest control measures based on the bugs and critters you see most often.

6. Invoke the neighbor’s favor

Garden maintenance on vacation

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Team up with other gardeners in your neighborhood and offer to tend each other’s plants during vacations or business trips. Give them a tour of your garden beds and provide written instructions for watering and plant care, including any deadheads or pest control that may be needed.

Depending on how long you’ll be gone, offer to give them any produce that ripens in your absence, and they’ll likely do the same when they go on vacation. Plus, it’s always a nice touch to bring them a little thank you so they’ll be happy to look after your garden again in the future.

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7. Group container plants in a shady area

Garden maintenance on vacation

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One great thing about container gardens is that they are portable. One downside to container gardening is the speed at which containers dry out and require more water. If you have plants in pots, place them in a more shaded area of ​​your property and group them. Grouping pots close together makes it easier for growers to water them—plus it creates a wetter microclimate and reduces water loss (it helps if you mulch them too!).

8. Install a temporary greenhouse

Garden maintenance on vacation

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Greenhouses help plants stay moist by slowing down evaporation. These plastic covers collect condensation that drips back into the ground. Some greenhouses can even deter pests.

If you have large plastic bags and stakes laying around, you can build a DIY temporary greenhouse. Cover a plant with a large plastic bag, making sure the plastic reaches the ground on all surrounding sides, and use the stakes to prevent the plant leaves from touching the plastic. Otherwise, the leaves may rot due to the formation of condensation. If that’s too much work, consider buying a mini pop-up greenhouse, like this budget pick in our guide to the best compact greenhouses.

9. Stake and tie veggie plants

Garden maintenance on vacation

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Gardens seem to explode with growth in the blink of an eye. Squash plants take up entire garden beds, while pea and tomato plants grow incredibly fast. Many other edible plants need a little support to allow fruit and vegetables to ripen.

Pin and tie these plant species pre-emptively before you go on vacation, even if they aren’t tall enough to climb the trellises you provide. It’s best to have these structures in place early rather than coming home to a garden bed with produce lying on the ground.

10. DIY, buying or upcycling a water globe

Garden maintenance on vacation

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Water balls are water-filled containers with long, thin necks. They’re easy to use: flip them over so the neck of the device goes into the ground and dips deep enough for the ball to stay in place. The design uses physics to limit the speed at which water leaves the sphere while preventing air from entering. Depending on the size of the ball, soil type and plant type, a water ball can provide plants with water for up to 2 weeks.

An easy DIY version of a water globe is to use an empty wine bottle. Water your yard, then plant an inverted glass wine bottle with water for every 4 to 6 square feet of your yard. No wine bottles? You can try using this Wyndham House water globe set from Amazon instead.

11. Hire a company or individual

Garden maintenance on vacation

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Some gardeners spend significant amounts of time and money each year growing the perfect plot. Gardens with special needs or special watering schedules are likely to be best cared for by a landscaper.

Hiring a local landscaper or mom and pop gardening company can ensure your lawn and garden are taken care of while you’re on vacation. Although this option costs more money than others on this list, it’s a way to give your plants the full attention they need, even when you’re miles away.

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