4 Steps to a Flourishing Garden—Even When You’re Away

Jun. 30th, 2017 by W Scott McAdam Jr.

Summer is here for a while—but if you’re like many others, you are hitting the road for some vacation. How do you keep your garden flourishing in your absence?

Follow these four tips:

  1. Watering – For weeks, water deeply to establish a deep and healthy root system that is more tolerant of drought. 
  2. Weeding and cultivation – Both are crucial for water and nutrient uptake.  Remember that weeds typically grow much faster than your perennial plantings, and cultivation of the surrounding soil will improve gas exchange between the soil and air and also improve the soil’s ability to absorb water.  
  3. Mulching – Yet another way of maintaining moisture in the soil for longer periods of time.  Apply a thick layer (3”) of mulch around your plants and in the planting beds.  
  4. Composting – Incorporating compost into plantings, with its concentrated organic matter, helps maintain nutrients and moisture better than clay and loam soils. 

Follow these tips and you can rest assured that your garden is having an equally good time while you are away.

This installment of "Ask the Plant Expert" was published in the June 28, 2017 edition of the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, the Forest Park Review and the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.