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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're planning a week vacation this May maybe June (east coast weee), but I'm tad worried about our container garden.

Our garden is in those 18gl big tubs, part of it is in shade half the day, other is in sun 3/4 the day. We generally have to water every three days when the plants aren't producing fruit/vegies and there is no rain (may, june is our rainy time). It doesn't get overly hot those months and it does tend to rain a bit (tubs have drain holes to prevent flooding).

I'm not sure if I would trust our neighbors (college students) to water the garden or even do it right. :help:

Anyone have suggestions? Some mysterious contraption or what not that would work?
 

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Perhaps drip irrigation on a timer would work not only while you are on vacation but at other times as well.

If you are comfortable using man made compounds you might consider adding polyacrylamide to your soil. Often known by Soil Moist or other trade names.

A 1# box of high quality cross linked polyacrylamide will absorb a barrel of water and when mixed into soil will allow plants to uptake the water from the expanded granules. They can be used to extend watering periods and with the right rainfall can even eliminate artificial watering.

A benefit is that without plant stress due to uneven watering most plants produce greater, higher quality harvests. One dramatic example I'm aware of was Kandy Korn producing not the normal two ears per stalk, but instead producing seven.

The key is whether you are comfortable using polyacrylamide or not as there is a lot of controversy over using it.

http://www.hydrosource.com/serv01.htm
http://www.watersorb.com/index.htm
 

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I'm pretty sure that's the "active ingrdiant" in the Moisture-Control soil I buy at Home Depot. I swear by it. We're only at th lake for weekends now and its a long time for the containers to go dry.
 

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When I cannot not water my containers for a week, for going away, I move them into the shade. Yours seem to big to move, but maybe you can provide shade some other way.

karsan
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think I've enough room I can move the ones with the most sun to the shade. Just in case, I'll looking into the water meter. Thanks folks :)
 

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I put my containers and raised beds on drip/micro sprinklers system on timers. It made things alot easier and we didn't have to arrange for someone to water them while away.
 

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Grouping all the containers close together will also help slow moisture loss. They protect and shade each other and block the drying wind for each other. Mulch the soil surface in the pots to slow evaporation, too.

Your pots might be too big for this, but another thing I do when I have to leave mine is I have a kiddie wading pool that I put most of the potted plants into before I leave, water them well, and add an inch or two to the bottom of the pool (depending on how long I'll be gone). They suck up the water pretty fast, and even if they don't, most things won't drown in a week's time.
 

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Here's something you might try. After watering well, invert a completely water filled gallon milk jug and insert it mouth down in the soil of the pot. As the soil dries the vacumn holding the water in the bottle is broken and some will spill out, resealing the vacumn. This will happen over and over again till the jug is empty. Works on the same principle as the office water cooler.
 

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Why don't you just wait a little bit toplant when you are back from vacation.

if you are in Wisconsin near a university and want to get your garden done by mi may, I presume that you are in southern wisconsin and probably in Madison or milwaukee.

I lived for two years in Madison and was planting a raised bed garden. You cannot really plant enaything before may 15th even june forst for pepper. Honestly if you wait two weeks for planting everything in early june you won't see a big difference, it is usually cold and windy in may in wisconsin so things don't grow so much. you might even take advantage of that time to make an experience, add rabbit poop to your tub, add some red wigglers from the bait shops in mid april and let them work and when you will plant in early june that will pay really quickly.

If you really want to plant in may, water thouroughtly before you leave, mulch the surface, and use the jug trick that work pretty well too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great ideas and good points. Guess we'll have to see what the weather is looking like and how our seedlings (indoor grown) are doing by then.
 

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Great ideas and good points. Guess we'll have to see what the weather is looking like and how our seedlings (indoor grown) are doing by then.
It is always easier to foster seedlings to fellow friend gardener than to have them coming watering the garden.

Where are you in Wisconsin ?
 
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