It is prime vacation time throughout America right now. The kids are out of school, the weather is just right, and all the summertime hot spots are thriving. It is time for that week long (or more for those fortunate few that can take more time from work) to load up the car and head to the beach, or other summer destination.

In the excitement of getting ready for your long over due vacation, don't forget about the vegetable garden! There are some tasks you must take care of before being away for an extended period. Here are some tasks you should take into consideration before loading up the car and taking off:

Packed Car Ready for Vacation

  1. Water your vegetables thoroughly a few days before you leave, and the day you plan on leaving. Watering deeply is much better than frequent short waterings. Get a neighbor or relative to water your plants while you are gone.
  2. If you are container gardening, try to group all vegetables that have similar needs to make it easier for your watering recruit to do the watering. This will remove any confusion the waterer may have. Make sure to leave them explicit watering instructions, and perhaps a small map of where everything is and what to do to what.
  3. If you can't find a volunteering soul install a quick do-it-yourself drip irrigation system to do the watering for you. Place the irrigation system on a watering timer so that it cuts on and off at certain intervals.
  4. If you haven't already, mulch your garden. Mulch will help to retain water, reduce run off, and help control weeds while you are gone.
  5. Pull up any weeds in the garden you may find before going on your trip. This will make it much easier to maintain once you get back. Mulching will greatly help, like mentioned above.
  6. Pick all and any vegetables that appear to be ripening. Throw a big vacation get-to-together and use any vegetables that you have for a meal extravaganza. Try to freeze, or can, any vegetables you have left over. Give the extras to the neighbor or relative that is doing the watering as a small payment.Get the watering friend to pick any vegetables they may find that are ripe. It would be a good gesture to tell them to keep any pickings for themselves.
  7. Store any ladders, or gardening tools in a shed or garage while gone. You don't want spying eyes to find your items out in the wide open for easy taking.
  8. Install outdoor motion-activated lighting around your home. Also installing a motion-activated sprinkler near your garden can scare any animals that may use your unattended garden as a buffet.

What do you do in the garden to prepare for a vacation or extended time away from the garden?