I’m a homebody. I love my home, love these three acres of pine and oak woods, and I definitely love my garden. Every spring, summer, and fall, I’m dragged away from my garden for camping trips which might last from five days to two weeks. It’s a lot of work to get ready to go, especially when it’s planting season, and I have seedlings in both the greenhouse and the garden, or when it’s harvest time. People ask me, “What are you going to do about your garden? How can you leave it for so long?” In harvest time, if I can’t be there to pick, I have friends who will harvest for me. More problematic is leaving during the spring planting season. As in now. As in I’m going to be away all next week. Oh, dear.
Obviously, I have to find somebody to take care of the seedlings—tomatoes, peppers, eggplants. Despite being dumped upside down on the greenhouse gravel last week (I bawled over that one on Facebook), the tomato seedlings that survived my hasty replanting are doing well. I have no idea now what’s what, for the most part, because the tags got scrambled in the upset, but the main thing is, they are alive.
This year, it’s a young friend of the family, Emily, who’ll come over and open up the greenhouse in the morning and water the seedlings, and my daughter-in-law, Tori, who’ll close it up at night. It’s already getting up to 100 degrees inside by 10 a.m., and my greenhouse is only semi-automated. That is, I have the drip for the planting beds on a timer, and the fans are also on timers, but the doors and vents have to be opened manually.
And at nighttime, we’re still getting temps in the 30s. Not freezing, but cold enough to make it advisable to close up the greenhouse at night. So I am definitely depending on these girls to take good care of my babies while I am gone.
By the time I get home, if all goes well, I’ll be able to transplant my tomato seedlings into larger containers, and they won’t need the grow light any more. Also, the peppers and eggplants should be ready to set into the planter box in the greenhouse, so I can shut off the heat to the sandbox that keeps them warm at night while they are small and the nights chilly. They pout when it gets cold. A pouting pepper is a sad, droopy thing.
As for the garden itself, we use battery-powered timers with lots of Y-gates to turn on the hoses, sprinklers, drip and soaker hoses, and if I have set it up right, all the areas of the garden that have been planted—beets, carrots, turnips, lettuces, kale, spinach, garlic, cabbage, potatoes—as well as those more permanent plantings–blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, loganberries, and blackberries, rhubarb, horseradish, asparagus–and all the herbs (lavender, hyssop, oregano, lemon balm, sage, clary sage, tarragon, lady’s mantle, chives, dill, parsley, and winter onions) will be watered while I’m away.
I know I’ll come home to miraculously-large weeds and some yard-high asparagus. I hope I also come home to see carrots and beets, which seem to be taking their own sweet time this year to emerge. And maybe the tops of the red potatoes the grandkids and I planted will be sticking out of the straw they are blanketed in. And surely some apple blossoms will have unfurled—I saw buds blushing today. Oh, I hate missing that first burst of pink!
Will I worry about the garden while I’m gone? Of course, I will. I’m the worrying sort about things I love. But the garden actually gets on pretty well without me; I miss it more than it misses me when I go away. The plants just go on doing what they do. Grow.