We love our yard and garden, and we also love our yearly vacation, is there a way to have both simultaneously? Sure there is if you know a few tricks on how to vacation proof your yard and garden.
Home gardens and thriving lawns need a lot of TLC to grow, especially during the hot summer months. This is also the same time of year that many of us like to go on vacation but we know if go away for a week or so we will return to brown grass, over-grown flower beds and dying vegetable plants.
Go ahead and plant your garden and plan your summer vacation, then implement these tricks so you can come back home rested and to a landscape that is alive and well.
Check the 7 Day Forecast
A few days before leaving on vacation check the 7-day extended forecast for your area. This will give you an idea of how the weather will be at home during your absence and provide you with insight on how to prepare your yard and garden.
If lots of rain is predicted for your area during your absence you won’t have to water plants and lawn before leaving. If the weather is predicted to be hot and dry, everything will need a good soaking the day before you leave on vacation.
Special plant care will be needed if your vacation is timed for early spring or late fall. Check the 7-day forecast for predicted frost or freezing temperatures during your absence so you can provide plants with protection before you leave.
Tender spring plants or late season crops that are still producing in the fall will need to be covered to protect them from damage. Water plants thoroughly and cover with your favorite type of frost protection.
Install a timer on your lawn sprinkler system so it can come on at designated times during your vacation.
Checking the forecast will let you know when to set the sprinkler system to run to keep your lawn (and perhaps flowers and vegetable plants) well hydrated.
Put Everything Together
If you have outdoor plants in any type of container, put them together in one location so they will be easier to keep hydrated during your absence.
An inexpensive child’s wading pool is an ideal place for container-grown plants when you will be gone for several days on vacation. Place the pool in a partially shaded location and add a couple of inches of water to the bottom, then set containers in the pool.
This will keep plants hydrated and protected from overheating and scorching in the summer sun. Indoor houseplants can be placed in a bathtub with a couple of inches of water to keep them hydrated during your vacation. The humidity created by these moist micro-climates will be good for the plants too.
Fresh Layer of Mulch
Mulch helps the soil retain moisture, prevents weed growth and keeps the soil at an even temperature during the summer or winter. Add a fresh layer of organic mulch around your garden plants the week before you go on vacation to help keep them growing strong during your absence.
Feed and water vegetable plants and flowers, pull out all weeds, then add a 2-inch layer of hay, compost, shredded tree bark, etc., on top of the soil.
If your vacation will be longer than 3 days, go ahead and harvest everything that is ripe or almost ripe. By harvesting the almost ripe vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, the plants will require less water and use less energy because they won’t be ripening their produce.
Harvesting will enable the plants to tolerate environmental stress, like drought or too much rain, more effectively during your absence.
Set lawnmower down one notch and mow the grass a little shorter than normal so it won’t become over-grown while you’re away on vacation. Mow late in the evening and water lawn thoroughly after mowing.
A freshly mowed lawn, harvested vegetables, and picked flowers will make it look like someone is home and deter any potential home invaders.
If your yard has any type of drainage issue, like a clogged culvert or clogged house gutters, get the problems fixed before going of vacation.
A drainage issue could cause serious damage to your home while you’re on vacation if there are heavy rains. Clogged culverts or house gutters could cause areas of standing water in your yard that could seep into your house and cause costly water damage.
Soggy soil can also drown shrubs and trees in your landscape. If the roots of a large shrub or tree are weakened the high winds of a thunderstorm can uproot them and cause them to topple over on your home or neighbor’s property.
Flooding on the lawn or garden will also kill grass and other plant life in your yard, so it’s best to fix any drainage issues before it becomes a major problem.
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