Provide the right watering to go on vacation without worrying.

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The weather is nice , it’s hot – yes, there is a counterfeit, we let you find it – and we are preparing to go on vacation just when our plants need the most watering – the summer! … Everyone does not have a complacent neighbor who stays at home all month and loves to take care of other people’s plants, before leaving you have to evaluate what your plants will need .

Some basic notions:

Flooding the pots and placing them in a basin before you leave is not a prudent option  – except for papyrus – as you may suffocate the roots .
For a short time, however, you can water them to fill the cup.

Which plants are likely to suffer from lack of watering during the holidays?

little ecological note : do not plan a general watering sprinkler garden-unless you have no ecological awareness and you have water for free – because it weakens your plants that should fend for themselves, and it wastes lots of water.

In the garden

Normally, garden plants – unless you have planted really bad species or there is a big drought – should get by without you! This is especially true for trees, shrubs, perennials and climbers.

On the other hand, if you have recent plantations – less than 6 months – you will have to help them. It can not be seen, but a young plant does not have the same rooting quality as a plant that has been well established for years, so if it is dry, it will begin to suffer after a week. Whence, moreover, the advice which one often gives to make one’s plantations in the autumn – like that, the rain sprinkles on your place, clever no?

Same thing if you have sown annuals – they will often need help.

In the kitchen garden

Groww’s vegetable policy is to water as little as possible, however fruit vegetables usually need more water than our summers offer . So if you have tomatoes, squash, beans, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, melons even very well mulched it will provide them a little supplement.

Pot

With the exception of cacti and succulents, you will inevitably have to water the potted plants during the summer , and this at least once a week, unless a summer is really rotted. This is also true for potted plants indoors. Outside, find their location rather in the shade – but not safe – they enjoy the rain if it falls! Inside, same thing, move away from windows and direct sun for your absence.

Adaptive watering or not?

Yes, it’s almost essential!

Unless you leave very little time or to be Mrs. Irma, it is impossible to predict the watering needs of your plants.
As much as possible, you need a system that sprinkles according to needs , otherwise you may as well drown your plant as to dry. This is the disadvantage of the good old system of the bottle returned and pierced.

Let’s leave aside the automatic watering solutions connected to a weather station or a probe which are intended for another use.

There are low-tech solutions for watering without necessarily connecting to a probe and a whole battery of electronic components.

Our favorites, because they operate without electricity and without connection to the drinking water network.

1. Solar watering, the DIY solution for the vegetable garden

We have already talked about it, but the principle of solar watering pleases us a lot!

Advantages: the hotter it gets, the more it flows .
Disadvantages: small reserve of water, and it sprinkles just on the surface .

2. The watering cones to screw on a bottle.

This solution is suitable for indoor pots .

Advantages: one chooses its cap according to the flow that one wishes, and it filters partly the limestone.
Disadvantage: the weight of the bottle can spill the small plastic pots.

3. Cones connected to a gravity tank.

This is a variant of the previous solution, in king size version : we use a single tank for many pots. And the cones are used to modulate the flow of water, not to diffuse it.

Advantages: it is rather discreet, and if the tank is connected to a descent of water, it is completely automatic.
Disadvantages: it’s expensive, not easy to find – we found some, but it’s from Germany, which is being tested by Thibaut – and a bit more complicated to install. Oh, yes, and it does not work in a soil that is too draining.

Pump systems seem less interesting for occasional use : they are more expensive , must be connected to probes or a weather station, and are rather intended for large gardens.
There are also special pots with water reserve, however it is better to avoid them outdoors because they can easily cause a pool effect and drown their occupants.

Good to know: Do not use drip systems all year round . Why ? Because the roots will be content to stick to him, and will no longer explore the entire container. In the long run, it is very detrimental for your plants.

4. Do not leave

Last solution: do not go on vacation, and enjoy the garden instead.  You will not be able to say that you have not been offered!

Well here it is not complicated all that! One last tip: do not put your plants in complete darkness, it’s very bad. Place them in a moderately lit place if you fear they will dry too much.

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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