Water deeply, mulch beds and move containers into partial shade to keep plants alive while you’re away.
Ideally, a friend or neighbor would water and look after plants when you’re away, but that’s not always possible. Here are some ways to set up your garden for summer-vacation survival mode.
Weed beds. Weeds compete with garden plants for water and nutrients. And in warm summer weather, weeds seem to multiply when you turn your back. About a week before you depart, set aside time for pulling weeds in high-priority areas, such as edible and perennial flower beds.
Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch on beds and in pots to completely cover the soil, keeping the mulch away from the crown of the plant (where the stalk meets the soil).
If your sprinklers run in the middle of the night (great for cutting evaporation loss), it can be worth turning them on once during the day before you leave to check that the valves are pointed on your beds rather than on hardscape or the street. Adjust as needed. You can also use this time to scout locations where you could potentially move potted plants not on automatic irrigation so that they’ll benefit from the spray.