Redundant Protection for Vacation

I was nervous.  We had a planned trip to California to attend a graduation party for one of my beautiful nieces.  I knew it would be a great time, but… I was a little concerned about the garden.

So I decided the best course of action was redundancy where possible.  I transferred the basil, chamomile, and several of the pepper plants to pots and bigger containers.  Then I transplanted the malibar spinach into the ground and started watering.  I spent a LONG time Saturday morning before we left, watering the raised beds, the main garden, and every pot and container I had.  Lots and lots of water.  Then of course I filled up the real ollas and then brought in the reserves by filling up a bunch of wine bottles and doing my wine bottle olla trick.  I even shoved beer bottles into some of the smaller containers.

Come on, I mean, I was getting a little desperate here!  I gotta save my plants!

I’m happy to say that it worked out well.  Other than one problem that you can see in the last picture.



These are really impressive because you can see that the water has not gone down much.  That means that the WHOLE bed is being well covered by the main ollas.  That’s good news, especially for these little Old Time Tennessee Melon sprouts.Image


And here is the problem.  It’s not what’s here… it’s what’s missing.  There should be two.  I’m thinking my pesky gopher is not gone, he just retreated into the common area behind my house.  GRRRRR!


This entry was posted in Arizona Garden, artichoke, basil, Dripping Springs Ollas, gophers, malabar spinach, Old Time Tennessee Melons, ollas, peppers, square foot gardening, tomatoes, wine bottle ollas. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Redundant Protection for Vacation

  1. I’d say you did pretty good and should be proud of your efforts. 🙂

  2. L (@0Wisky) says:

    I don’t get it? Water in wine bottles notting on the end of them for a trickle??

    • If I understand you correctly (sorry), no, there is nothing on the end of the bottle. You simply fill the bottle and turn it over into the ground. In order for the water to come out, air has to go in. If there is enough water in the ground then no air will go into the bottle. As the water is used or evaporates then air goes into the bottle and water comes out. It works pretty well and gives you an indicator of how saturated the ground is. The ground will not over saturate, so it works nicely. I hope that answers your question.

      • nebraskadave says:

        When the soil is saturated and the bottle is watering as it should, how low will a bottle of water last?

      • nebraskadave says:

        Should have been “how long will a bottle last?”

      • If the ground is already saturated in the summer time, I’ve found that the bottle will last a little over a day… sometimes less than a day, depending on how hot and windy it is. I was really encouraged that these lasted as long as they did. The ones in the containers were completely empty this morning. The ones in the beds varied, but were mostly full. I had two on one dill plant that were in a separate bed from the real ollas. Both bottles were empty. I’m very encouraged about the ollas. They seem to be getting the whole 4×8 bed pretty thoroughly. I am definitely going to put them in the other two beds.

  3. nebraskadave says:

    Being away from the garden for any length of time has always been my concern as well. I’ve tried to set up an automatic watering system and am still perfecting it. The water used is collected from rain water and stored in a 400 gallon horse tank. It takes about two inches of rain to fill the tank in the spring. I’m getting closer to adding another section of the house roof to the system which would then only take one inch to fill the tank. It takes about 90 gallons of water a week to keep my four raised beds watered during the hot part of the summer. With just a little help from summer rain showers, I can almost make it through the year with nothing but collected rain water.

    Now at Terra Nova Gardens the method will be a little different. Since there is a natural spring on the property, the irrigation for the garden will come from developing the spring. I haven’t really figured all that out just yet, but I’m working on it.

    Have a great day in the garden.

    • Wow, that’s impressive. We don’t get nearly enough rain here to keep the garden going from rain water, unless of course I collected every drop from my roof… and the roofs of all of the houses on my street. 🙂 Even then, the short bursts of rain that we typically get are so sporadic they are hard to depend on. I hope your fix on your system from last year holds.

  4. This is really smart. I’m always amazed when I read your blog by what you can be growing right now. In BC…. spring is just beginning. Your plants look great!

    • Thanks! AZ really is a great place to garden… 10 months out of the year. 🙂 I’ve read a lot of blogs and looked at a lot of pictures from BC. Wow! I really need to vacation up there some time, IT’S SO GREEN!

      • That is very true. Super green. Fewer drought problems however, where I am on the southern Island there is usually no rain from late June til August. Around 6 weeks to 8 weeks with out rain we start worrying.

      • Rain around here is so rare it’s easier to keep track of the days when we actually HAVE a sprinkle or two.

  5. Great idea with the wine bottles I will give that a go. I didn’t realise you could just fill them with water and stick them in the pots like that. Your plants are looking looking lovely and healthy by the way!

  6. Bill says:

    I’ve never seen that wine bottle trick before. I love it. I’ll probably give it a try on the raised beds!

  7. What a cool trick! I have a friend growing veggies on her balcony – bonus- she drinks a lot of wine!

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