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Welcome to another installment of Tuesdays in the Garden! This week, our group is sharing tips for growing your best garden this summer! Today I’ve got a re-vamped post I originally wrote three years ago before we went to Paris – 5 Ways to Prepare Your Garden Before Your Vacation. 

Prepare your garden for vacation in 5 easy steps

Boy do I wish I could tell you we have exciting European travel lined up this summer too, but alas we do not. However, we do have several smaller trips on the schedule and need to make sure we leave our garden in the best possible shape before our vacations. Here are the tips we’ve found useful over the years.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Garden Before Your Vacation

5 ways to prepare your garden before your vacation

1. Weed & Mulch

Get busy weeding before you head out of town. Mulching really helps keep the weeds at bay, but it’s always helpful to get as much out of the mulch as possible before leaving for several days. I’ve also found mulching around the perimeter of my garden to be very helpful as well. Make sure you weed carefully so you don’t accidentally remove something important! And did you know it can be possible to find free mulch? Here’s how we’ve been able to get most of our mulch for free, year after year.


 2. Harvest as much as possible before leaving

It’s important to pick your garden to the best of your ability before you leave for an extended amount of time. If you don’t your garden might stop producing while you’re gone. So make sure to do a thorough harvest before you leave on vacation. If you don’t have time to process the produce before you leave, give to a friend or neighbor, but make sure you pick it instead of leaving it on the plants.

3. Take care of pests

cucumber patch

I do keep an organic garden, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything for pest control. Dealing with garden foes like the Cucumber Beetle and Colorado Potato Beetle is very important, because if you don’t they can wipe out your crops while you’re gone.If you’ve got pests bothering your garden,  Neem Oil and Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth  might be able to slow them down while you’re gone and not able to hand-pick.

4. Water 

I honestly don’t water my garden very often, but sometimes it’s necessary. For easy watering while you’re gone, install a water timer like this one. It’s easy to program and includes a rain delay feature so you can rest assured that your garden gets what it needs while you’re gone.


5. Line up a Garden Sitter ~

Probably the most important thing to do when you leave a garden that’s in full production, is to line up reliable helpers to pick while you’re gone. I’ve asked a few people to come over and help themselves to my garden goodies – if the beans aren’t picked the plants will just go to seed. Ask a reliable neighbor, a teenage kid, or any friends who might love to take advantage of your wholesome goodies! I’d recommend inviting them over before you leave so you can show them around and teach them what to do.

Those are the 5 ways I’m preparing my garden for my vacation! How do you prepare your garden for time away? Did I forget anything??

And now it’s time for Tuesdays in the Garden!

Tuesdays in the Garden

Be sure to check out these lovely posts from my gardening buddies. I love working them on Tuesdays in the Garden and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I hope you’ll hop over and check out my friends’ posts! Great tips here this week, as usual!

an oregon cottage

From Jami at An Oregon Cottage –

Frugal Family Home

From Shelly at Frugal Family Home – 2 Natural Ways to Fight Aphids

The Freckled Rose

From Angie at The Freckled Rose – 5 Steps for Veggie Garden Success All Season Long

homemade food junkie

From Diane at Homemade Food Junkie – Lasagna Garden No Till Method

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. You will love Paris. The Louvre is wonderful,but you need a full day to go thru it. If you get a chance to go to a market, do it. I got a gorgeous painting from one. If you do go to the Louvre take a camcorder . They don’t allow flashers,so pictures sometimes turn out dark. Make sure your camcorder battier is charged. I didn’t and it died half way thru. Lesson learned LOL

  2. If I lived closer, I would happily come and take care of your garden, but it looks like you have it totally under control. Absolutely gorgeous garden!

  3. Love this list! it is always so hard for us to go away this time of year (the chickens don’t help, either)! This is actually the first year we haven’t taken some sort of vacation at the end of the summer and I’m pretty excited to be here for all of the maturing and harvesting and deliciousness 😉 Enjoy your trip to Paris!!!

  4. Your garden looks great! How hard it would be to leave it for ten days with so much going on, but it looks like you’re doing everything you can to prepare. Great tips.

  5. Ha, I wish I had a European trip planned, too! Love these tips, in fact I do all these things regularly – except for the sitter – so maybe I’m always ready for a vacation? 😉

    1. That’s the goal, right, Jami! 🙂 Did you know I bought those black shoes you recommended several years ago when you went to Greece and I LOVED THEM!! Wore them all over Paris and was sad when they finally died. Wish I could order them again.

  6. Now I want to hear all about your Paris vacation! I think you have the garden prep for vacation covered. I love the idea of a water timer and great reminder about getting the garden picked while you are gone. I agree a garden sitter is the best solution for it all. We ask our kids to come pick when we can’t. Now, how was Paris???

  7. These are great ideas, Michelle!
    In the past, I’ve had my peas quite producing because I didn’t have time to pick. This year I had a neighbor come pick my peas while we were busy with a tile project in the bathroom. They loved having the peas and my plants were picked when I just didn’t have time. It worked out great.

    1. That’s awesome, Shelly! It’s fun when everything works out like that, isn’t it. 🙂

  8. Such fabulous tips! I had no ida about free mulch and took a look at that post as well. So much valuable information. Thank you for introducing me to the Freecycle Network. Can’t wait to check that out more! I have a timer hooked up to my soaker hose, but had no idea there was a rain delay feature on some. That is something I’d love to have in the future. I went on vacation awhile back and told myself just to leave the veggies and I’d harvest them as soon as I got back. Terrible idea! I’m so excited for some upcoming vacations, but I wish I could teach my veggie garden how to FaceTime me! ha! 😀

  9. This summer is the first time I’ve ever hired a garden sitter, but I have too much time invested now to let everything dry up. Thanks for the great tips about getting everything as ready as possible for leaving. Hope you have a great vacation!