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Going away..worried about my seedlings

I'm going away next week for a week, and with the daily max temperatures already ranging from 25-30+ Celsius, (77-86+ f if I've got my conversions right) I'm worried about my seedlings not getting enough water and dying. I /think/ we have a friend coming to house sit, but I'm still not confident she'll water enough so I'm trying to think of ideas to mitigate.

Firstly some photos to show the size of what I'm dealing with :roll:

These are the biggest tomato seedlings. I'm pretty sure I'll just plant them out at this stage.

Watermelon, smaller toms and rockmelon

Capsicum...these buggers are taking forever.

Cukes and smallest toms.

Basil and coriander.

Strawberries and mint...next time I'm buying seedlings :roll:

Okay, so my ideas. The only one I'm vaguely sure of is potting everything up (because that'll mean they stay moist a bit longer, right?) The cukes and melons will be grown in containers this year anyway, so a bit early shouldn't hurt them?

What about moving them all into shady areas/areas where they get dappled sunlight/only for a few hours a day?

Just how bad would putting the pots in trayfuls of water be? Or would this be okay for some of them and not for others? :?

Sooo, are any of these worth giving a try, or do you guys have any better suggestions?

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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:08 pm
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Ohh and I forgot the eggplants which are only now just poking their heads out of the soil.

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The biggest ones should be fine with even a modicum of care - or possibly even with none, if you put them in the ground and conditions are favorable.

I would worry more as the size goes down. The ones in the orange cells in the next to last picture, I would definitely separate out and put in their own pots before you leave; they will be crowding each other out otherwise and will be harder to maintain.

The ones in the bottom picture are too tiny to transplant, so that will be just hope for the best. The strawberries and mint will definitely do well in a part shade area. The rest will be ok there for a week and will be more protected in case of some very hot sun days, but then will have to be gradually acclimated to full sun again when you get back.

I'd be sure they are all in trays and give the caretaker instructions about bottom water only and not excessively.

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Putting them in dappled shade will definately slow down evap. It depends how long you are going to be gone. It would be fine to pot up things like cukes, squash into final containers at this stage, infact it would be better.
If you have enough strong small pots you could fill to the top with soil and set them in a pan of water, then place the pot to be watered so that the drainage hole on the bottom is firmly in contact with the drainage holes of the pot you need to keep watered. You will effectively have created a temporary self watering pot and the water from the tray will be wicked up through the soil into the pot above.
If you can get a hold of an old acrilic blanket you can use it to self water the pots. Just make sure it will wick the water along well. Then place sections of the blanket so the ends are submerged in a large tray of water. place the pots to be watered on the blanket and let the blanket do the watering for you. Be sure the surface it is on is waterproof. That is the principle behind those selfwatering mats you can buy from England. You might be able to find them there, if you did you could use them year after year to keep you starts evenly moist, just a thought, but the right kind of blanket material will work as well. They made a lot of acrilic ones just before the more modern polyester ones.

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Thanks a bunch guys, have started the potting up process, now just to find the time to finish doing so before I go away :) and decide on where to put them in the shade where the dogs can't poke their noses in them :x

I /think/ one of the dogs blankets it an acrylic crocheted thing, so again, if I have time, definitely going to see if that works.

I'm over the worst of the anxiety and now I'm just excited to come back after a week and see how much everything has grown :D

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