Since the pandemic and the quarantine process, we may have sought out new hobbies. One of those hobbies could be gardening! At some point, we might have anticipated food and supply shortages so what better way than to grow our own foods. Fortunately, society did not have to reach that dire state where everyone is struggling to survive. Still, you probably already spent a lot of effort to start your garden so why let your beautiful work go to waste?
These days, the virus seems to be a bit more controlled with better hygienic practices and the introduction of the vaccine. You probably thought of taking a vacation after being home for such a long time. But, now you face a new issue: how can one water their plants while away?
Perhaps the plants are still young so you can probably just let it go and start anew when you return? It’s possible. But what if your plant has been thriving for some time now? It would be a waste to let that or the younger plant go. So are there methods to keep your plant alive? There are a couple methods!
5 Methods to Water Plants While On Vacation
Create a Water Bath System
This method works best for potted plants.
- Simply fill a tub with a few inches of water. (You can do this with the sink or bathtub too).
- Then place your potted plants into the tub. That’s it! (Be sure that the pot has drainage holes or else the method will NOT work. Your plant may drown.)
How this works is, once the soil or roots are dry, they will soak up the water from the bottom up. It is an interesting way since we may be so accustomed to watering the plants from the top and watching water sink downwards.
Create a Water Bottle Drip System
To do this method:
- Obtain some empty water bottles with caps.
- Drill or poke holes on the cap (perhaps with a thumb tack, nail with hammer, etc.). More holes equal faster water drainage.
- Fill the water bottle with water. Close it with the cap (that you just created holes with).
- Dig a little hole on the soil by the plant.
- Place the water bottle inverted into the hole.
Keep in mind that this simple method works best with potted plants. It does not work as well with raised beds. The raised bed prevents plants from drowning through good drainage and are significantly larger. Therefore, it will absorb a lot of water from the bottles. It may be empty within a couple of hours. Plants in buckets may be okay.
Also, if you have flimsy water bottles, sometimes the bottle itself will bend and crush the plants (if they are small enough). This is due to no air exchange as the water exits the bottle. To counter this, you can drill holes at the base of bottle. Keep in mind that water will drain out of the bottle much faster though.
If you want to avoid the hole drilling, it would be good to use (without that) on larger plants. Basically, not on plants that are little sprouts. That way, if the bottle bends towards it, it can tolerate the force.
Make a Wick Watering System
To create this system:
- Find a container of some sort (bowl, vase, cup, etc.) and fill it with water.
- Find some rope (cotton, shoe-lace type of material works best). Cut enough to be able to connect the water in the container to the potted plant.
How this works is through diffusion and gravity. Water will travel through the ropes from places of higher concentration of water to places of lower concentration. In other words, from the water container to the plant!
Recommendation: Please test this method out before you travel. The water gets diffused at a certain rate that might not be at the rate that your plant may need. For bigger plants, you may need a couple of ropes per system. For smaller plants, you may need a smaller type of rope.
Use Self-Watering Tools
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Of all the tools I’ve used, my favorite has been the self watering spikes. Very similar to the water bottle method, it will work via a drip system. The difference with this tool is that it drips water not underground, but above it through an adjustable valve. You can control the rate at which the system drips.
To use this, just:
- Attach the tool to the opening of the bottle instead of the regular cap. (Don’t forget to fill it up with water first).
- Then invert the bottle and spike it to the soil by the plant.
- Set the desired rate on the valve
You may encounter the water bottle bending problem (that may crush your plants). You can drill some holes at the base of the bottle for that air exchange as water leaves the system. There is no need to worry about faster water drainage because you already have the valve controlling the drip rate.
Keep in mind that the faster the drip rate (due to demands of plant), the faster the water will run out. If you need a large amount of water while on vacation, just set up several of these systems in place. Have these self watering spike systems drip at the slowest rate.
Call a Family, Friend, or Neighbor
If all else fails, there is nothing better than to have someone else do the watering for you. Please provide them with detailed, but simple directions to follow. Remember to thank and reward them for going out of their way to help!
Summary of 5 Plant Watering Methods
- Create a Water Bath System
- Create a Water Bottle Drip System
- Make a Wick Watering System
- Use Self-Watering Tools (i.e. self watering spikes)
- Call a Family, Friend, or Neighbor
Gardening can be a very fun experience and it will require much time and effort. However, keep in mind that it shouldn’t have to limit you from doing things like traveling. You now know ways to keep your plants healthy and watered. You have many methods and tools like the self watering spikes at hand to use.
Hope you are able to see a beautiful garden or plants that bear many fruit before the end of the season!
Did you enjoy this article? Which method or tools have you used before that work really well for you? Please leave a comment below!
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