Every time I close the door to my roof terrace before going on vacation, I have to swallow briefly. I love traveling and know how important it is to take a break from everyday life. Nevertheless, I would prefer to stay. Because I never know what awaits me after my time out in the small roof garden...
This year I was lucky and knew that a lovely neighbor was taking care of the potted plants. Although I now use an irrigation system for watering, not all of the tubs and pots are covered by it. If you are interested in how I prepare the potted garden before the vacation, please read my last blog post . After all, not all potted gardens are pampered by an irrigation system or reliable watering support.
Today we're talking about caring for potted gardens after the holidays.
When I come home, my first step is always towards the roof terrace and kitchen garden. I often leave my suitcases and check the situation there first. Do you feel the same way? Because no matter how well the plant sitter has taken care of it, there will always be loss. Really always.
What to do? Here is my list of first things to do after vacation:
- Check the plant soil for dryness, notice severely dried plants and do not throw them away.
- Depending on the time of day and the weather, do not water immediately! Especially when the sun is shining hot, watering makes no sense. A large part of the water evaporates and the plants are also under a kind of heat shock when exposed to strong sunlight. You absorb less water than in the morning or late evening. In addition, the earth is often so hard and dry that it cannot absorb much water.
- If you still want to do something immediately: Check all plants for diseased or dried leaves and flowers. Remove these with scissors and dispose of them either in household waste (diseased plant parts) or in organic waste or on the compost.
- As soon as it gets late in the evening or the next morning, water all plants thoroughly and for a long time. This means little by little until the pot saucer is well filled and you feel that the potting soil has completely absorbed the irrigation water. If there was a heavy downpour the day before, this tip obviously doesn't apply. Then I would only water where the foliage prevented enough water from reaching the potting soil.
- All glass bottles of clay cones and also the Ollas are refilled.
- Harvest what there is to harvest. I don't just include vegetables. It is also good for flowers and herbs if they are harvested well after a long vacation. Dahlias, for example, produce more flowers if they are cut regularly. I remove lettuce from the pot unless I want to get seeds.
- Re-mulch the pots if the old mulch material has dried out or broken down. You can use your healthy plant cuttings or, for example, lettuce leaves that have been eaten by snails. If you don't have anything like this at hand, use sheep's wool pellets for mulching.
I always use the care work after the holiday to sow again in areas that have become vacant, to move pots or to think about autumn and winter in the roof garden.
August is a great month to sow lettuce again, for example rocket or lamb's lettuce. I also sow winter vegetables, such as kale, or grow them in small clay pots or the seed tray using the ball sprayer . If you have a raised bed on the balcony and would like to add new nutrients to the soil, you can do so now by adding this green manure for raised beds .
If you are interested in what you can sow now for autumn and winter, please take a look at my sowing and planting calendar . Here you will find a great overview of the sowing and planting dates for herbs, vegetables, cut flowers and small trees for pot gardens throughout the year.
Finally, I would like to say something about plant emergencies after the vacation. There is always at least one plant that needs to be resuscitated after the vacation for various reasons. Please don't just give up on her here. Plants are more robust than you think. I've been surprised and proven wrong so many times.
Here are my emergency tips for saving plants:
- Tomatoes: Remove dried foliage generously. Tomatoes do not necessarily require lush foliage to produce flowers and fruit. Dip the root ball and the pot well into a bucket of water until no more air bubbles appear. Only then is the soil sufficiently moisturized and the roots can breathe deeply. Then fertilize, mulch and keep your fingers crossed.
- Berries: Cut back dried shoots, water the pot thoroughly and for a long time, better yet, immerse it in water as described in the last point.
- Perennials/potted plants: Cut them back heavily, immerse them in a water bath, fertilize a little, mulch and wait. Pruning encourages the plant to sprout again. Of course, this doesn't happen within two days. Give it some time and see what happens by fall...
For more tips and tricks about urban gardens, join me on Instagram and Facebook in my gardening season. Feel free to link me if you sow, plant or otherwise want to support me. I am always very happy to see what emerges and grows from the Sprießerie products.
And: Feel free to write to me if you have any questions or would like advice on designing your city or balcony garden. I would be very happy.
Have a lot of fun gardening in the city and always have enough time to enjoy.
- Seeds for young and old