By Kira Hamman
So you’re going out of town.
Good for you! But… bad for your tomato plants, right?
There are steps you can take to make sure your babies stay happy and healthy while you’re away and go on to provide you with delicious tomatoes after you return.
1. Weed. Naturally weeds will appear in your absence, but if your garden is weed-free before you leave then you’re much less likely to return to an impenetrable jungle.
2. Prune. In fact, prune a little extra to make sure your plants are getting light and air as they grow while you’re not there to do daily checks.
3. Stake. As with pruning, give extra support now in anticipation of the growth that will happen while you’re away.
4. Water. And water, and water, and water. Make sure that your plants are well-watered before you leave, and provide a source of water for while you’re gone. You can try the upside-down soda bottle trick, a sprinkler on a timer, or a reliable neighbor. I find that pre-teen kids are usually happy to come water the tomatoes in exchange for a little extra spending money.
5. Mulch. Make sure that water stays where it belongs, in case the kid you hire turns out to be less than reliable.
And, finally, have fun! Worrying about the garden will not help a bit, so once you’ve prepared as well as you can give yourself permission to forget about it until you return.