a full garden with an upside-down wine bottle for irrigation

Maintaining your landscape and your vegetable garden can be a very demanding job, and in the summer months when it gets hot your plants require daily attention.

A GrowOya porous clay irrigation vesselsGrowOya porous clay irrigation vessel

Keeping up with the daily watering can be difficult and time consuming, especially if you have summer vacation plans. Fortunately, there are a few different things you can do to ensure that all of your plants will survive without you for a few days while you get a chance to get out and enjoy your summer vacation.

three self-watering plantersSyndicate Home and Garden
Never Dry Planters

The Oya is an interesting product that you can use to water your plants slowly and efficiently while you are out of town for a few days. It is a porous clay (terra cotta) vessel that is designed to be buried amongst your plants to provide them water directly into the soil and into their roots. Fill it with water before you leave on a weekend vacation and your vegetables and other plants will have enough water to last until you get home. The Plant Nanny is another product that uses the porous clay concept. It is a terra cotta stake you can put right into your houseplant or hanging basket containers. Just fill a bottle with water, flip it into the terra cotta stake and the water will slowly seep through the clay over the course of a few days.

The porous clay vessels are great options for short vacations, but if you are going out of town for more than a week or two, you will need something more substantial to keep your plants happy. Some self-watering planters can provide water for weeks. Self-watering planters are essentially a pot within a slightly larger pot, and at the bottom of the larger pot there is a reservoir for extra water and a wick that slowly soaks up water and delivers it to the roots of the plant above. Depending on the size of the planter and its water reservoir, self-watering planters can deliver water from a few days to several weeks.

Another thing you can do to water your plants while you're away is to install an irrigation system that operates on a timer. There are digital timers out there that hook right up to your hose faucet and can be programmed to water at specific times of the day. Hook up a soaker hose to your faucet and your plants will get a nice and even, deep soaking. An irrigation system like this is more efficient than overhead watering and takes a lot of the pain out of watering your plants.

a close-up of carrots being watered with drip irrigationDrip irrigation kits and parts available at Al's. Photo Credit: www.orbitonline.com

Regardless of what you decide to do, there are a few precautions you can and should take every time you leave for vacation. If the forecast calls for a lot of heat, pull your plants into a shady spot while you are going to be gone. Also, give your plants a deep soaking just before you leave. If you are worried that you are going to be gone too long for your plants to survive, for a small fee you can pay a neighbor's kids to do the watering for you. Taking these simple precautions will help make sure that you don't return home from your vacation to a dry and desolate vegetable garden.