How to Take Care of a Vegetable Garden While on Vacation

If you have a vegetable garden, it’s likely that you’re either going on vacation or someone in your family is. Maybe it’s not the end of the world, but we all know how vegetables get when they’re abandoned for too long. Most plants simply don’t need to be watered often. This means that between watering every ten days and pruning earlier than necessary, there are some things that can be done to bide time and keep your harvest coming in nicely. Here, we will check a few tips on how to take care of vegetable garden on vacation.

How to take care of vegetable garden on vacation

Here are some tips on how to take care of your vegetables before leaving for a vacation:

how to take care of vegetable garden on vacation
How to take care of vegetable garden on vacation

1. The key here is to wait until your veggies start looking droopy before watering them again. It’s true that you’ll have to wait a little longer before they are crisp and fresh, but it’s better than losing them completely.

Root vegetables should be kept in a large bucket of soil. No need to plant them or anything; simply keep them with their roots in the soil, and you’ll be able to check up on their progress more easily.

2. Another vital tip is to prune early before you leave. While many veggies will be fine if left alone for weeks at a time, some of your more delicate plants like radishes and tomato plants will need pruning if they begin looking too tall or unruly.

Not only does this pruning help keep them from becoming scraggly, but it helps you with future decisions as well.

Since you will be looking in on your garden a lot earlier than you thought, it makes sense to see what’s happening under the soil and make plans now rather than later.

If you decide to prune early, here’s another helpful tip: If the plant is diseased or otherwise looks bad, don’t just hack off the entire thing; try to leave at least a few of the bottoms on each stick. This will make it easier for your plant to regain its shape and strength.

3. If your plants have already done some damage, there are other steps to take before going away. If they’ve bolted too early or become twisted and gnarled, you can simply cut them off and use them for cooking. If your plants have become too large, you can simply cut them back.

4. Ask a friend to tend to them while you’re away. If you have a vegetable garden of any kind, it’s likely that there are people in your community who would be willing to help out while you’re on vacation.

Perhaps they have a small vegetable garden themselves, or maybe they don’t even grow vegetables and are willing to take care of them for the sake of friendship.

If you do ask someone to take care of your plants, pay this person upfront according to the hours he or she will be spending tending to them.

5. Another option for taking care of your vegetable garden while away is to hire a gardener at an agricultural center. These centers tend to have many varieties of plants, all ready to be harvested the moment you need them. They generally charge a small fee per day for their services and take care of the plants while you’re away.

Just keep in mind that these types of places are fairly expensive; if you want to do this yourself, consider taking notes and pictures so that you can look back on what was done and make changes going forward.

6. If all else fails, move your vegetables indoors. Greenhouses can be cheap and easy. A simple plastic tent can keep your plants protected from certain storms and other dangers while you’re gone.

If you want something a bit higher quality, you can have an indoor garden that includes light and air in a greenhouse setup. These setups tend to be more expensive, however.

7. Set a sprinkler timer. If you can’t check on your plants in person, don’t worry too much. While there’s nothing quite like walking around and taking a hands-on approach, you can get by with just a sprinkler timer, and an understanding of how it works.

You can set the timer off on some weekends while you’re gone; this will ensure that your plants keep getting watered and are not forgotten about.

If you’re trying to grow a garden that’s both delicious and beautiful, make sure you schedule some vacation time for yourself as well.

Just because you’re trying to grow a vegetable garden doesn’t mean that the rest of your life should come to a standstill.

How Long Will Vegetables Survive Without Water?

How can I keep my vegetable garden watered while on vacation
How can I keep my vegetable garden watered while on vacation

After you’ve given them good watering, you’d probably like to think your vegetables will be fine for the next few days. However, fresh produce has a definite shelf life that you can use to determine when it’ll be ready to eat.

The best way to figure out the viability of your fresh produce is to know exactly how long vegetables can survive without water.

The general rule with most vegetables is three days without water will start damaging the plant. After seven, many vegetables will either die or not yield their best harvest. There are some exceptions, however.

Beets can remain edible for up to three weeks without water, as long as the tops and bottoms of the plant are fully green. Rhubarb stays fresh for more than two weeks with just water; it should be cut off after a week.

Annual vegetables tend to last longer in between waterings, but you should still give them at least a week and probably not more than ten days before digging in for your next harvest.

The best way to ensure that your vegetables keep growing is to have them watered a day or two before they need it and then check up on them as often as possible during the rest of your vacation.

How to Prevent Pests In Your Vegetable Garden Before You Go On Vacation

If you’re someone who’s interested in growing your own produce for freshness and health, it’s important to keep your vegetable garden free of pests.

Pests can wreak havoc on a carefully tended garden, and they can even make it impossible to grow any crops at all. That’s why it’s so important to get ahead of these pests before they start doing their damage and increase the chances that you’ll have a successful harvest.

Here are some things you should do before you go on vacation so that your vegetable garden stays pest-free:

1. Keep an eye out for aphids. Aphids are small insects that tend to crawl around in groups, eating away at the plants around them. This can leave your garden looking sickly and almost dead, which won’t leave you with plants for your next harvest.

To get rid of aphids before they take over your garden, wash them away with a strong spray of water. Also, be vigilant about removing any affected plants from your garden so the insects don’t spread elsewhere.

2. Control slugs and snails. These pests love to eat away at your vegetables, especially as they’re just starting to grow green leaves. The holes left behind from snails can also endanger the rest of the plant by exposing its roots to rot and decay.

To keep them from stealing your vegetables, keep snails and slugs away by spraying all of your garden with a strong mixture of water and vinegar.

It’s also a good idea to cover the soil in the garden with fine mesh to deter the snails and slugs from digging under it.

3. Keep away weeds and grasses. Many types of weeds, such as dandelions, can produce seeds that are capable of springing up in places they shouldn’t be able to grow in. They can also clog up growing equipment and make it harder for you to access your plants when they need water or attention.

To keep the weed population down, make a point of removing any that you see in your garden as quickly as you can. Use a garden rake or rake when working your land, and while raking does not move the plants you are raking up with it.

This will allow the ground to dry out and kill off any weeds that have been underground for too long. Then clean up the area to ensure that other weeds are prevented from sprouting.

4. Avoid insecticides. Insects are an inevitable part of gardening, so you’ll have to deal with them at some point. If you’re looking for an easy way to kill off insects without killing your plants or killing the insects, read up on natural ways to control them.

You can also try mixing cayenne pepper into a spray bottle and spraying the affected area when you notice any insects coming close to your plants.

Other good options include using garlic or onion as a barrier for ants and adding peppermint leaves near the base of your plants so that they act like ant repellent as well.

5. Mulch and fertilize often. A good way to increase the longevity of mulch around your plants is to fertilize it often.

Sometimes I even do it mid-week when I remember. Just press your thumb or fingernail into the mulch and if it comes up fairly easy, you’re likely to need to fertilize soon.

Mulches are a great way to combat weeds and make sure that your plants get enough nutrients in the ground as well as improving soil aeration.

6. Consider getting rid of crepe myrtle trees in your yard, especially if they’re close together on one side of your yard. The leaves of this tree will fall off and leave space for insects to get inside the trees and overwinter.

They can then crawl out in the spring, infest your garden, and make it impossible for you to grow most flowers or vegetables.

If you absolutely love these trees, consider putting them on the opposite side of your vegetable garden to keep from dealing with their extra problems.

7. Discourage beetles from eating your flowers by planting onions around them. While you’ll no doubt be tempted to rip these plants up, later on, they can actually help fight off some of the pests that are looking for a home in your vegetable garden.

8. Trim back your plants if they are becoming too tall. While this may seem counter-intuitive, it can actually be a good way to prevent pests from taking over your garden.

If you trim the tops of your vegetables, they won’t have any leaves or other parts of the plant to attract insects who want to eat them. This is especially important for plants like tomatoes.

If you decide to trim back some of the growth on your plants, don’t think you need to wait until you get home; trim them before you leave so that there will be less for pests to eat while it takes time for the new growth to develop again.

What do I do with my plants when I go on vacation
What do I do with my plants when I go on vacation

You may like the following gardening articles:

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your vegetable garden can be a lot of work. If you’re leaving for a few days or even a couple of weeks, it’s easy to feel like you’ll be doing more harm than good if you don’t tend to your garden while you’re away.

The fact is that there are many things you can do before you go on vacation, however, so that your vegetable garden will remain in good shape while you’re gone. If there is no one who can help out while you’re away, ask a friend or neighbor if they’d be willing to check it once or twice every couple of days so that nothing goes wrong.

With good planning, you can get through your vacation without having to worry too much about how things will unfold when you get back. As a bonus, after you return home, the garden will be more than happy to welcome back the gardener!