You have a beautiful vegetable garden. For once, everything is coming along well. Now, it’s time for your summer vacation. You have no idea how to keep your garden flourishing in your absence. You don’t want to miss your vacation. It’s the first opportunity you’ve had to get away in years. How do you keep your vegetable garden from going bad while you’re away?
Hire a maintenance service.
There are professional garden maintenance services that will come in and take care of your garden while you are away. Most people think this type of service has to be a season long thing. On the contrary, many pro landscapers will manage your vegetable garden for the short term. While you’re at it, why not have them take care of yard maintenance, pond maintenance and decorative gardens during your time off?
Enlist a friend or neighbor.
Not all of us can afford professional garden maintenance. That’s where loved ones come in. Consider asking a friend, relative or neighbor to care for your garden in the two weeks you’ll be gone. Luckily, you have something to trade for their efforts. You can pay them in fresh vegetables. Leave them clear, specific, written instructions for garden maintenance, especially if they’re not gardeners themselves. Call them a few times a week to see how things are going or if they have any questions.
Do this in your veggie garden before leaving on vacation:
Water your garden thoroughly.
Give it a good soaking in case your maintenance help takes a few days to get to it. Landscapers will likely have you on a timed schedule of some sort. It may be a couple of days before they get to you. As for the non-professionals, they may not realize how important it is to check the garden frequently. Why leave watering to chance?
Remove all weeds.
That way, even if your friend or neighbor slacks off a bit, you won’t come home to a jungle. The other thing about hiring a non-professional is that they don’t always know the difference between vegetable seedlings and weeds. In which case, it may be better to do the weeding yourself before leaving. As for the pros, they’ll likely appreciate your diligence.
Check and treat for infestations and disease.
Your hired help may not be as knowledgeable as you. It’s best to be safe so veggies won’t succumb to disease and pests in your absence. Landscapers will be better at recognizing issues. They may even be better than you. (Perish the thought!) That’s one good reason to use them if you can afford it.
Pick anything that’s ripe and won’t be good if you leave it for two weeks.
For instance, onions will keep in the garden for some time. Tomatoes will rot if not picked promptly. Leave instructions for when to pick your veggies with whoever is maintaining the garden. You can be sure this is done by offering for them to keep a certain portion of what they pick. You might consider having them leave some hardier items, like squashes in a cool dry location for you, while keeping the perishable items for themselves.
Portions of this article were originally published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.