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June 23rd, 2012

Since I’m the gardener everyone knows, I’m often asked to plant sit when friends go on vacation. So far this month I’ve spent 2 weeks looking in on different people’s plants.

The funny thing is that I rarely ask anyone to plant sit for me, though I met a neighbor last year that I’ll ask next time we are away. Over the years, I’ve developed a system for my plants when we’re gone. What’s my system?

I move everything to a shady corner of the garden. I collect some big plastic storage containers and put the pots in those. Then I water them well the night before we leave and top them off the morning of our departure. I try to make sure there’s an inch or two of water in the bottom of the container. I’ve successfully used this method many times when we’ve been gone. When we are planning on being gone for more than a week I usually move the potted plants to the basement and put a grow light on them. After watering them in well they will last for almost a month with no water in the cool basement.

In the last eight months we’ve become great friends with a neighbor that lives only a few houses away. She’s an avid gardener as well and is well versed in taking care of container plants. I’m actually plant sitting for her this week, so next trip we take I’ll have her look after all my potted plants.

Do you ever plantsit for others when they travel? Do you have someone that watches your plants while you’re gone?

8 Comments to “Plantsitting”
  1. KimH on June 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Back when I had lots of neighbors who gardened (almost 30 years ago), we all kind of took care of each others gardens when we were out of town or not able to work the garden. All my neighbors were elderly, and they could work circles around me most of the time. ;)

    No one asks here & now but I do get requests to babysit plants at work sometimes. Some of the guys just come hang out at my desk because all the plants there make them feel good, they say.

    Also, at the community garden, if someone is going to be out of town, or notice the plants are in trouble, we’ll give them a drink of water. Its the neighborly thing to do & so far, everyone has appreciated it.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  2. Emily on June 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    That’s a great idea for potted plants but what do you do for your raised beds? We’re going to be out of town for a week and the weather in Chicago has been a real scorcher this year.

    Reply to Emily's comment

    • Susy on June 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      I don’t usually do anything with my raised beds, they seem to do OK. Last year we were gone for 3 weeks in August and everything survived.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Rick on June 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Our back door neighbor had a plant sit several times until they moved. We can usually get away with leaving our plants for a while, but now we have to find a neighbor to chicken sit and look in on the cat when we go on vacation.

    Reply to Rick's comment

  4. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm on June 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I have used a bathtub with a little water in the bottom. The plants last a long time indoors with the water in the bottom of the tub and the shower curtain pulled across to help keep the humidity in. I think it’s the same principle as the container with the pots in it in the shade.

    I have successfully plant sat for others but never had anyone sit for me.

    Reply to Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm's comment

  5. bonnie on June 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    My neighbor and I plant sit for each other. It’s nice to have someone do that for me.

    Reply to bonnie's comment

  6. Maybelline on June 24, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Nope. Automatic system plus I never go anywhere!

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  7. Maley@ditesouistiti on November 11, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    My tip for making sure your plants don’t die while you’re out of town: Find a really good, responsible neighbor that you can trust, give them a nice bottle of wine and some chocolates and your key and ask them to come by once or twice to water all your plants. It’s always worked for me!

    Reply to Maley@ditesouistiti's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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