Green Fingers: Watering plants while you are away

James Vaughan


James Vaughan

Green Fingers: Watering plants while you are away

Take them to the tub: You can use the process of osmosis to water your plants why you are away

THIS week in our garden we have been harvesting some of our fruit from the fruit garden.

We continue to get some strawberries. We had to place netting over the entire patch of them because the birds, especially blackbirds, were becoming a nuisance and eating them. We lost the battle with the blackbirds as far as the redcurrants were concerned. They must be watching out because they seem to know exactly when the fruit is ripe. We have some apples coming along on our apple trees but far less apples than in previous years.

The fruits of our plum trees also fell victim to the birds. I have seen blackbirds, thrushes and even a hen pheasant all congregate around the plum trees. The fact that we are not getting much fruit from these trees does not really bother me. The trees are young and will only produce a small crop anyway.

So long as the fruit trees themselves remain healthy and continue to grow then I will be satisfied.

Watering plants while on holidays.

This is one of the busiest times of year for people to be on holidays. While away we may forget about the garden but our help is needed nonetheless. The biggest task in the month of July is probably watering. I have previously mentioned how mulching your plants drastically reduces the need to water. Aside from this, I leave outdoor plants to fend for themselves while we holiday.

Indoor Plants

Houseplants, unlike outdoor plants, rely on us completely for every aspect of their care. Without us regularly watering them, they would simply wither and die.

One trick that I use is to place a towel along the bottom of the bath. Place the plants on top of the towel ensuring that the bottom of the pot has good contact with the towel. When all the plants are placed on the towel then add the water. Add water only to the deep end (plug end) of the bath. Do not submerge the plant pots into the water.

The part of the towel that gets wet will actually act as a wick and draw water up along the entire towel. The compost in the plant pots will then soak up this water. This happens through a process known as osmosis.

If you do not have a bath the same process can be completed in the kitchen sink. Place a towel on the draining board and down into the sink. Place the plant pots onto the towel on the draining board. Then half fill the sink with water. As the plants soak up water from the towel, this water will be replenished by the water in the sink – again, by osmosis.

There are also some indoor irrigation systems that you can install but these can be cumbersome and expensive.

By taking these simple steps, you can avoid the disappointment of returning from holidays to dead and withered house plants. Our mood is, after all, already deflated enough when returning from our holidays.

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