Sunday, July 26, 2009

Preparing Container Gardens for Vacation Time

This year we've had a most unusual summer here in Powell River, BC. In July, we only got 51 mm (2 in) of rain and the daytime temperatures have been above average, mostly in the 25º C (77º F) plus range. Now that may not sound all that hot, but when you have container gardens, that's plenty to dry them out in short order.

This year I have lots of plants in pots. I need to water my pots every two or three days, or the plants begin to wilt. And here comes the glitch. We are preparing for a three week absence. Of course, my good friend John will come up to lake (a 25 minute boat ride each way) to water for me, but the time between his visits might exceed the plants' tolerance. So I decided to try mulching to help reduce surface evaporation.

Last spring I did a post about the benefits of mulching. I took some of my own advice. First, I watered the pots really well. Then I took newspaper, crumpled it up and spread it over the surface of the exposed soil in each pot. Then I gave each of them another watering to soak the newspaper through. The next morning I collected salal leaves and layered them over the newspaper. A final watering hopefully prepared my container gardens for a several day wait until John can return to give them a needed drink. I'll let you know how it goes when I return. -- Margy


  1. John needs a new outboard. That trip should take no longer than 15 min ;)

  2. What a great idea to use newspapers! I should do that for my plants up at the cabin.

  3. Hi Shelley - I've used newspaper as mulch for my mother's plants on her balcony when we've gone away for a month and it seemed to help. I figured it would work for my garden pots. Something is better than nothing. The leaves on top make them look more natural and it also gives some more insulation, or so it seems.

    Hey Jordan - Guess you drive a bit faster than we do. Even in our Campion it takes at least 20 minutes, more often 25 if the water is rough. Of course, there is the one foggy day that it took us over two hours. It was like flying blind and praying a work boat didnt' drive up our nose. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy