Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Watering while away or on vacation (1)

Watering plants is the daily important task for gardeners but who will do it while you’re away or on vacation??? Here are some helpful ways to solve the problem: 

- Ideal way is to have a friend, neighbor, or family member come to the house and water. There are some drawbacks to this idea and you must weigh them carefully before entrusting this chore to someone else.

- Enclose plants in large transparent or clear plastic bags. Place the plant inside the bag and then close the top tightly with lightweight twine or ribbon. If the top flops and bends the plant, put a tall stick in the pot to hold up the bag. This way will work for 2 weeks vacation.    
 It's important not to water just before enclosing the plant. If you do, so much water will condense inside the bag that the plant surface becomes too moist. 

- The simplest method for outdoor pots and hanging baskets is to move all of them into your dark, cool garage, bathroom or place. (Do this BEFORE watering them; they’ll be lighter and easier to move.) The temperature and will remain constant and evaporation will slow. Always use drip pans under the containers to retain water. For ten days, they should be fine.

fill a washtub with gravel, fill the tub with water just to the level of the gravel, and set a plant on top of the gravel. The humidity from the water will prevent it from drying out. Another method is to set bricks in a bathtub, fill the tub with water to the level of the bricks, and set plants on the bricks.

- Move all your containers to a shady, protected area. Place drip pans under each and water well. Group together those that need less water and place in the most protected spot; then group the thirsty ones together and place them close to the others. Unless a heat wave comes while you’re gone, they should all be fine. If you will be away longer, then ask a trusted individual to come in and give any dry pots a drink.

Double potting smaller containers also helps insulate the soil during the hottest weather. Place the container inside a larger one, then fill the space with soil or fine mulch. (This is beneficial whether you're away or at home.)

- Adding a layer of mulch to the surface of each pot helps cut down on evaporation.

- Make your own self-waterer:
1.      Cut the bottom out of a plastic beverage container.
2.      Remove lid and cover the opening with a small piece of gauze, secured with a rubber band around the neck of the bottle. (This keeps the soil from forming a plug in the opening.)
3.      Push neck of bottle into the soil; do this near the edge so the bottle can rest against the pot.
4.      Fill the bottle with water the day before you leave; then on the day you leave, top up with water again.

- Use water Delivery Devices or Gels, or time-release water products.  Several products are available which utilize all-natural, biodegradable ingredients to keep soil moist. The gel-form water gradually releases the moisture when it comes into contact with the soil.

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