Tuesday 7 September 2010

The sad week of the drought

Now that the strawberries are having problems I feel a bit frustrated with the garden. However, having some setbacks is something natural, and it is a common part of having a garden. I will continue to keep taking care of my plants and deal with whatever new problem arises. Like they say, take every mistake as a lesson.

Then, lesson learned, strawberries are not hard, they grow pretty easy, but they do require caring and attention. I must be careful with the water and take notice every day to prevent any problem before it becomes serious. I thought I was doing enough, but I can do better, and so I will.

This little setback reminds me of other problems I had with the garden. The most frustrating of them was that sad week of vacation drought.

My garden 0057 April 14, 2008

I don't have a photo of that day, but here is how it felt like(sort of)

It all started because I was going on vacations abroad. I was going to be away for six days, six and a half if I counted traveling time (and you must). I didn't know what to do with the plants, they were too many to carry to somebody else's house, and I live a bit too far to have them checked every day.

So I crafted an automated watering system a.k.a. I put some upside down bottles with holes on them. I had done this in my country a lot of times. You only need to fill with water a common plastic bottle, close it tight and make a little hole on the cap, then stick it upside down on the ground. The water on the bottle will come out gradually over a couple of days depending on the size of the bottle. Also, if the soil is moist, less water come out, if the soil is dry more pours out. It is a very nice self-regulatory system. The only trick is to make the hole the right size and to not stick the bottles too deep in the ground.

Then, what happened? A very silly and simple mistake, I didn't not count on the very strong winds of a balcony up here. When I came back, most bottles were on the floor, and only a couple had worked. Also, I did one more mistake; I stick some of the bottles too deep on the ground (the tomato one), preventing any water to get out to the plants. I should have tested if the water was coming out, but since I built everything on the last day I didn't had a chance.

The lesson I learned from that is obvious to me now. You never know when a gadget will fail. It is always better to have a real person taking care of the plants. After all, plants are living creatures; they require the tender care that people give.

One more lesson, don’t procrastinate, I should have given myself some time to test if it was going to work. Lucky the plants survived (most of them) but I should have done better.

My garden 0058 April 16, 2008

This damp used to be all full
Please take care of mother earth
and help prevent global warming

The next time I went on vacations. I did install the same gizmo again but I also had somebody to check on them and pour a little water on the plants if it was needed. The result, no vacation drought that time, success!

Good friends will always work better than gadgets when taking care of plants you love.

Have you ever suffered from vacation drought?


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. It must have been a shock to come home and find that your watering system had failed. I think we all learn from our mistakes. I'm lucky when I go away, my dad usually comes round and waters the plants in the greenhouse and in the garden, and I have plot neighbours at the allotment who will keep an eye on things there.

  2. No problem i really like your blog
    It was quite a shock specially because i lost a big crop of strawberries and tomatoes because of that.

  3. My country has just gone from drought to flooding rain (I live in Queensland) But I was spared from the floods and my garden is growing happily.
    Outside the birds are singing in the trees.

    1. we are getting dry now here in Pennsylvania but I think we are going to get some rain soon. Drought is a very sad situation, I have two very expensive bushes and when we have a drought we have to get special permiss from the police deparment to water them, only happened twice in 10 years but is a pain.


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