how to keep garden plants hydrated while gone for a week

lilleyl2005(napa)September 8, 2006

The family will be gone fo a week--not sure how to keep plants hydrated during that time. While rain is possible during the autumn, it's not a sure thing. I did a quick web search on self-watering and have pulled up self-watering systems for container plants. Are there something similar for outdoor plants--bushes and trees? Can I rig up something simple like a 2 L bottle with holes in it for each plant?

The yard gets lots of sun all day long, and is particularly windy. We do not have a drip irrigation system--the person responsible for setting it up never did. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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A 2-liter bottle with holes in it might just work. Also, you could set up a soaking hose with an inexpensive timer set to go off say at 6 a.m. and water for "X" minutes. If you do that, stretch out the soaker hose and see how long it takes to thoroughly water your garden, then set the timer accordingly.
For future reference, you might try "olla" (pronounced oh-yah) gardening, which is simply burying an unglazed terra cotta pot near your plant, filling it with water, and placing some type of lid on it. the water will seep through the terra cotta to the plant roots, keeping them watered.

Here is a link that might be useful: Desert Gardens

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 7:40PM
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Superabsorbent products have worked well for me in the past. I use Zeba Quench - it's all natural and lasts for up to a year. I just mix it into the soil when I plant and it stores water in the root zone until my plants get thirstly. I've been able to cut my watering almost in half, so I'd imagine it would work well during your vacation.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 7:22PM
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Why water? A week isn't long for your plants to survive without fussing. I don't water my main garden at all, only new plants when they are planted, and a couple of times in the first summer. Trust them and they will survive without your help

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:59AM
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I stumbled one day on this company's website selling self-watering planters:
they have a very original system with very attractive pot designs. I managed to order a couple of them on Amazon:
I now have an indoor plant in it and an outdoor plant also. Once the tank is filled, you're good to go for 2-3 weeks without problem.
I like the fact that there can be no overwatering and that the plant takes just the right amount of water by capillarity.
Overall I like this product a lot.

Here is a link that might be useful: self-watering planters

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 2:49PM
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The week is long past ..... and I am sure your plants did just fine! I use "wet pots" that are buried ~15" in the sub-terrain and they certainly do the job in providing sustainable nourishment to the plants.

My system is now in the sixth working year and I have not had a single problem, every now and then I dig one up to evaluate it's performance. Working like a charm!

I keep adding pots ( I must have cast >150 them to date) and the water savings is very, very obvious.

The current cost-of-pot versus cost-of-water is still a mis-match (but every day it gets better and better), but for me that is no reason "not to preserve a precious commodity". Look at it this way casting pots is also fun and challenging.

E-mail me if you want additional information.

Shaz the RaineMaker

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 4:49PM
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I found the perfect solution. For years I was single but have 8 acres of land with a good portion in flowerbeds, hanging baskets, etc. We can have 90 degree weather and there's a 2-3 week period in August when it tends not to rain and plants wilt or die without extra watering.

If I had to travel for business during that time I'd hire a local kid...walk him carefully through the yard, show him specific plants that need the water and would explain he'd get $1 / week for every indicated plant that was alive and thriving when I got back.

I'd typically pay him $30-50 when I'd return from a trip but it was great to see the ferns still lush, hanging baskets of fushias loaded with flowers, nice looking flower beds.

I found out something hilarious several years later. A key thing he needed to do to become a member of his church was to tell anyone he had done wrong to...what he had done and ask for forgiveness. He came to see me and was very nervous...explained how he had 'cheated' me. One year he didn't water my plants as much as he should and several died. He dug similar plants from his mother's garden and transplanted them here...and I never discovered the deception. I smiled...and told him I thought he needed to ask for his mother's forgiveness...I came out ahead in the deal!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 4:48PM
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