How to Care for Your Garden When You're Away

Gardening and Getaways

When that final patch of snow melts on the north side of the house and brightly patterned pansy planters arrive at the supermarket, you know spring has arrived and it’s time to venture out to your local garden center.

Perhaps you are in search of your favorite variety of salvia or your must-have mint plant for those mojitos you enjoy all summer on the deck. But let’s remember, summer in Minnesota also means time up north at the lake and weekend getaways.

So, whether you are choosing the perfect color palette of annuals or picking up new vegetable cultivars for your garden, take some time to develop a strategy for caring for your plants in your absence. How will all those planters and garden plots stay watered and maintained? Plan ahead to keep your blooms in good health.

Ideas to consider:
-Enlist a green-thumbed neighbor to take over watering duties in your absence.
-Invest in a drip irrigation system that runs on a timer.
-Before leaving for the weekend, take down the most vulnerable hanging baskets and movable planters and place them in the shade in a pan (or a kiddie pool) filled with water so they can self-water from the bottom of the pot.
-Purchase hardy and resilient plants, such as succulents, lantana, dragon wing begonias, geraniums, celosia, gomphrena, portulaca and zinnias.  

With a plan in place to care for your plants during those weekend getaways (and a regular fertilizing schedule), you will be surprised how long your annuals will showcase their brilliant blooms for you. And, when in doubt, your local garden center can help answer plant questions. Enjoy your summer!

Karin Costa is the owner of Costa Produce Farm & Greenhouse.
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