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Travel Tip: How to Water Plants When Away on Vacation

Many of us spend part of our summer traveling, whether it's a quick weekend away for Labor Day or a longer vacation at the beach. Before you go, though, it's important to make sure your home and everything in it will be OK while you're gone. And if you have an overflowing garden and several indoor and outdoor potted plants, you'll have to come up with a care plan for them – that way you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about your beautiful greenery. That said, take a look at these tips for keeping your flowers and plants healthy and robust while you're away on a summer vacation:

Check the Forecast
How the weather is expected to behave while you're away will have a lot to do with how you should prepare your outdoor planters and gardens before you go. If your area is expecting plenty of rain and cloud coverage, your plants may do just fine without any extra help. Plenty of sunshine and high temperatures, however, will dry up the soil and could damage your plants. Either way, it's important to know before you start making a plan.

Use an Automated Sprinkler
If you're expecting only sunny days, one way to keep your garden and lawn happy is to set up an automated sprinkler system. You can buy timers for your hose, and set it up before you go to water the plants once a day (or however often you feel is necessary). 

Move Planters to the Shade
If you take the automated sprinkler route, it's a good idea to move your outdoor containers into the vicinity so that they get enough moisture as well. If that's not possible, relocate them to a shady area where they'll be able to retain moisture a bit better. You can even push some of them into your garden's soil, to keep them cool and moist.

Soak Your Gardens
If you don't set up an automated sprinkler system, and you're leaving for just a few days, you may be able to get away with giving your garden one good soak right before you leave and refraining from watering for the few days you're gone (this is also a good way to conserve some water!). Just make sure to soak the soil and roots as much as you can so that they don't dry out while you're away.

Apply a Layer of Mulch
After soaking, apply a layer of mulch around the base of your plants. The sun won't be able to soak up as much moisture from the soil with mulch protecting it, which means your plants will stay healthy and vibrant for days.

Water House Plants Right Before Leaving
Just as you should soak your garden before leaving, it's a good idea to give each of your house plants a good douse before your vacation, too. Then, move them away from windows and into a cool, dry and shady area in your home so that the moisture will last longer. If you want, lay down some newspaper in your bathtub, and keep your house plants in it with the shower curtain closed – it'll act as a miniature greenhouse.

Hire Some Help
Of course, no matter how long you're planning on being away for your vacation, hiring someone to come and take care of your plants and gardens is always a good idea. That way, you won't have to worry about them at all. Before leaving, have your neighbor or house​ sitter come over and explain the day-to-day watering requirements of your garden and house plants. Make sure he or she knows not to over-water and how to check the soil for the correct amount of moisture.

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