Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back from Vacation with Plant Results

There's nothing sweeter than coming home after a wonderful 11 day vacation.  I love walking in and hearing the familiar sounds, looking out the windows and seeing the familiar sights, and laying in my very own bed.  John and I had a fabulous time with his family in Maryland and some of my family in Virginia.  We went fishing, played games, ate amazing food, had late night chats, and greatly enjoyed being with our wonderful families.

Coming home I was nervous about our plants. Before leaving I set up a vacation watering system in our bathtub designed to keep the plants watered.  I was mostly worried about the fact that the bathroom has no access to natural light and our vegetables were sun loving fiends.  

At first glance everything looked pretty good...until I started pulling the plants out one by one and taking them outside for a better look.  We had some hardy survivors, mostly houseplants acclimated to less sunlight.  We also had some victims, mostly newer plants I had just planted or transplanted that lacked the root system necessary to survive a stressful 11 days. There wasn't a single plant that had dry soil, but several had grown mold from the wet, hot, and humid conditions in the dark bathroom.

Here are some basil I transplanted just a few days before leaving as well as some newly sprouted flowers that didn't make it through our vacation.

Established basil rocked the vacation watering system as did the thyme.

Our main focus was our vegetable garden. We were worried our vacation would ruin our dreams of homegrown carrots, bell peppers, and cayenne peppers. I'm not sure yet if the dreams are dashed.

The carrots are looking yellow and wilted from the lack of sunlight and one plant had some mold growing on it.

The bell peppers are looking a little stronger, but the tops of each plant are crispy.  When we left the plant was covered in white blooms which have all died away...I'm worried this means no bell peppers for us.

Our houseplants rocked the vacation, though, and all survived including this one.

We learned several lessons through this self-watering experiment.  First, when seed packets say the plant needs full sun, they cannot go 10 days in a dark bathroom.  If I were to do this again, I would remember to keep the bathroom light on for at least a hint of light for the plants and I may even try to decide if a particular plant would survive no water or no sunlight better.

I'd also turn the fan on in the bathroom and perhaps bring in small fan to keep the air moving. With all the water and the heat in our apartment, mold grew on the weaker plants.  Perhaps creating some air movement would help lesson the humidity and also cool down the plants a tad.

I wouldn't call our vacation watering system success, but with the amount of survival, especially considering we were gone for 11 days when the temperatures averaged 90 degrees, it was far from a fail.  If anyone has any advice on nursing our plants back to health, please share.  Also, if anyone knows if vegetable plants still produce vegetables after losing their blooms, I'd love to hear.


Rebbie said...

Glad you had a fun vacation. Your plants are behaving like my dogs did when I was at your house. I think your peppers will get more blooms. They produce all summer and ripen at different times, kind of like tomatoes. Maybe you could introduce the plants back to the full sun gradually, so they don't go into shock.

Julianna said...

I had such high hopes. Though if anyone can a bring a plant back from the brink of death it is you. So happy to have gotten to see you this last weekend!

Kim @ Too Much Time said...

UGH, I know how frustrating that can be. Next time set up a small lamp with a timer to get some more light going in there. I did that and it kept my baby plants going strong! I will be trying your bathtub vaca watering system for sure next time I am out of town! BRILLIANT!


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