|Some unusual plants popped up in our garden....|
The solution came in a post from Emma at Craving Fresh. She uses beer bottles full of water and pushed into the soil to keep it moist between watering. I tried it the first time just before I knew I was going to be away for a few days. Pete was going to be home, but not sure if he would get time to water, so I placed beer bottles full of water next to my favourite plants, just in case. It was very hard to choose which plants received a beer bottle though, they are all so precious! I set it up a couple of days before I went away so I could see how much water was used. Some bottles were almost full the next day and others had drained a few centimeters. I guess it just depends on the soil drainage. I would recommend doing a trial run so you can assess your soil and see how the plants cope.
Since I first tried this method, I have found that its also useful for reducing the frequency of watering. I can set this up as I'm watering one day, and then I don't have to come back and water for a few days as they plants are recieving a drip-feed of water from the bottles. I have a stockpile of bottles as you can reuse them for a long time. I place them around any new seedlings to make sure that they have moist soil as they are getting started. I find that glass beer bottles work better than plastic as they are rigid, so the sides don't suck in at the water drains, this make them slower to drain (comparing pouring from a plastic bottle vs a glass bottle if they are both turned upside down, the bottle needs to gulp air to release the vacuum as the water leaves the bottle, the plastic bottle will empty more quickly).
How do you manage your garden while you're away?