Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > June 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - CARING FOR CONTAINER GARDENS AND HANGING BASKETS WHILE ON VACATION

IN THE DIRT with DOUG - CARING FOR CONTAINER GARDENS AND HANGING BASKETS WHILE ON VACATION

Let’s dispense with the notion that you are taking your potted plants with you on vacation.  As absurd as this may seem I suppose this has been done.
Summer is officially here and so is vacation season.  Here are some ideas and thoughts to think about as to what to do with caring for the plants while away from the house.  Some homeowners have family or friends that are willing to house sit and plant sit.  That’s nice.  But, for some, this luxury is not available.  What are some other alternatives to consider with keeping your plants watered and healthy while being away?
  1.  The morning before leaving be sure to thoroughly saturate the soil in each container garden and hanging basket.  I MEAN REALLY SOAKING THE SOIL.  This could buy you three or four days before the plants need water again.
  2.  Celebrate the beginning of vacation with a couple bottles of wine.   And, save the bottles.  Seriously, each container garden could use a wine bottle inserted into a PLANT NANNY.  A Plant Nanny is a terracotta spike that you insert into the soil.  Fill your wine bottle with water. Cover the mouth of the bottle with a fingertip.  Turn it over, then remove your finger as you set the bottle in the stake.  A Plant Nanny releases water deep within the soil mass as the soil dries.  A wine bottle full of water will last for days.
  3. If possible, take down your hanging baskets and place on the ground.  The baskets on the ground will dry out much slower than if they were left hanging in the hot, dry air.
  4. If possible, you could move the containers and hanging baskets into a little shade for a few days without causing shock to the plants.  Some cooler shade will extend the moisture time in the soil.
  5. For bigger raised gardens or half whiskey barrel planters, we sell OLLAS.  Ollas are a terracotta, round pot with a lid that you insert into the garden soil buried up to the neck of the bowl.  Fill the bowl with water.  The porous terracotta will slowly release water into the soil.  Ollas have been a way of watering gardens for over 2,000 years.
  6. Consider using TREE GATORS around the base of shrubs and trees.  Tree Gator is a plastic, slow release watering bag that you place around shrubs and trees.  You may have seen Tree Gators in your travels.  These are the green bags that you see wrapped around newly planted trees.  Once placed around the shrubs or trees you then fill the bag with water.  The bag has tiny, pin-sized holes that allow the water to slowly seep out thus giving the plant a deep, thorough watering.  So, just before leaving on vacation you want to fill the bags with water.
All these watering tips that I just shared with you are for short term vacations, such as a week.  Anything longer than one week away you will want to make other provisions for caring of the plants.
 
Enjoy your vacation.  And, be safe.  Your plants will be anxious to see you back home. 
Posted: 6/29/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 2 comment(s)
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