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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 8 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The often HIGH price of being AWAY for Consulting

 Whenever we went to Indonesia, due to the long journey in itself, we were gone for 3 weeks.
Also for India it would be around 2.5 weeks and 2 weeks for Mexico.
Not so good for home and garden when being absent that long!
Consulting often resulted in an unexpected HIGH price of being AWAY

How we kept our HOUSEPLANTS alive...
In our kitchen bay window area, I kept many Delft white pots with houseplants, as well as in our veranda with its long windowsill on both sides and planter tables with larger pots.
We had friends offering to water them and they did, mainly on the final day before we would return home... to proof they DID water! My collection of 16 beautiful orchids shrunk rapidly.
A neighbor once insisted she would water while we were gone, so Pieter brought the most delicate houseplants over to her home. She placed them in her laundry room, Pieter thought she would place them later into the light, and in their final spot...
NOT SO, upon his return for picking up the houseplants, they ALL came out of her laundry room, without any window. She sure watered them but they looked all brain dead and yellow; many of them did not survive...
So we looked for better solutions.
A programmable Gardena Water Computer...
On March 17 of 1994, Pieter bought our Gardena Water Computer and also a heater for the greenhouse, so we never again would loose our tomato plants to frost in March!
Old spray caps being inserted in pipe, for misting plants from above, using the Gardena Water Computer.
On March 25 of 1994, Pieter worked on a system in the greenhouse with hanging pipe from above and using the old spray caps of Dad's greenhouse in The Netherlands.
For being able to do so, Pieter had extended the water pipe, outside on our garage wall, for use on the driveway with a faucet and eventually a hose. So he could use a valve for bypassing the piping system that he'd dug in over our entire garden, and not using the water being pumped up by our pump, but coming directly from our home water system.
Pieter hung all plants and checked if they got adequately water, even changed some that needed more than others.
It got all PERFECTED and once more we were off to Indonesia for 3 weeks.
Feeling at ease with all our precious plants being watered inside the greenhouse.
When we came home, we went to the greenhouse and both of us were SHOCKED!
We were staring at some skeletons hanging down... ALL DEAD!
Then, going inside and wanting to step into the shower, after such a long journey from Jakarta to Atlanta, we noticed we had NO WATER!
Great welcome home — what a feeling for hitting the mattress like that.
Only in the daylight of early morning, Pieter figured out that the teenage boy, who did cut our grass, had run over one of the pipes with faucet for attaching the water hose for sprinkling. Since Pieter had reversed the system on our main water pipe from the HOME, it kept flooding. So he brilliantly turned off the MAIN VALVE! Killing all our green children in the greenhouse by doing so...
He'd cut off more often a pipe so our dream of having our houseplants safe and cared for was out of the window.
We ended up instead, putting those Delft white pots in the trenches that Pieter dug alongside the Wood Trail to the left of our Gazebo area where it was rather wet in early years.
They were always wet from some underground wells and water was running constantly and there was shade from the trees above.
Worked perfect, except my Delft white pots were no longer WHITE... It was quite a task of cleaning them one by one and taking them back inside!
So that is what you see in this short video. 
So many challenges and right now I have no more houseplants... We gave up after all those years.

Related links:
{Fall & Winter Preparations} | previous post by me
{New Heater for Greenhouse} | previous post by me where you see the nozzles on the overhead pipe


  1. Hello Mariette, They say that for a farm or garden, the best fertilizer is the footsteps of the owner. It must have been disappointing to have so many schemes frustrated, and to have lost so many beautiful plants. I have often thought that a few green plants would brighten up my apartment, but with my going away schedule (sadly canceled these last few years), this is impossible.

    1. Dearest Jim,
      You no doubt do fully comprehend this situation. Even in our apartment in Italy we kept house plants and als out on the two balconies. But for now, only very few remain.
      Often we heard others say: "Oh we envy you for all your travels!"
      First of all we did not go on a vacation and when it is that frequent, there is nothing to envy about as it was never about sight seeing but going to work!
      Sad, that you have been stuck those two years... but you refrain from house plants for the very same reason!

  2. I think I would have given up on houseplants after all that mess, too, Mariette. I'm not known to have a green thumb when it comes to growing things indoors, anyway. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.

    1. Dearest Martha Jane,
      We were kind of forced to give up on them.
      Plants thrived very well in our kitchen bay window area and veranda where plenty of light helped them grow.

  3. Dearest Mariette,
    Your Delft pots are so pretty. I would want lots of plants for them.
    My mother used to put all the plants in bath tubs with full buckets of water. She would make wicks out of old sheets. Give the plants a good watering and run wet wicks from the buckets to the plants. I haven't thought of this in years, as I have always had Proge at home to take care of things when I have traveled, which has not been for many years. Thanks for the memory.

    1. Dearest Suzi,
      Those Delft white pots remain still very pretty but are for years stored away in the storage room under our balcony...
      Making wicks the way your mother did, was a very clever way.

  4. We used to stand pot plants in large bowls of water and keep them away from sunlight. Also the wicks trick mentioned by smartcat.

    God bless.

    1. Dearest Victor,
      Never easy to care for our 'green children' when being away. The wicks trick is a good one indeed.

  5. Always the most difficult part of traveling away from home, "who will come and water the plants?" I've lost many plants when we have been away - all outdoors as I don't have places with the right light indoors to grow much. But, at long last, my Christmas cactus seems to be doing well following this summer on the porch and is now back in the dining room. No flowers yet but looking healthy.

    This gardening life is becoming somewhat a chore which brings too much work and not enough joy! Perhaps I'm just feeling old, plus the pain from bending and walking a lot right now is working negatively on my psyche! Off to PT again - it has to start working soon.

    Meanwhile we await the leaves falling and requiring the usual autumn raking - looks like Bob will bear the brunt of that job this year, lol!

    1. Dearest Mary,
      Yes, with traveling for work or for leisure comes often a high price in regard to garden and house plants.
      We both have turned over the gardening to a crew that comes in about every 10 days and we love it this way. Yes, we all do age; like it or not!
      As for leaves falling, we never have done any raking. On the lawn, leaves are being mulched and otherwise they make a blanket for protection which turns into good, necessary humus. A big bonus from leaf litter!
      We never understood why people rake off the BEST from nature... Look in the forest, no critter is raking there. So Bob should finally start using nature's bonus while simultaneously getting a break!

  6. It’s tricky to get the plants to survive the journey. Fortunately, we still have a mother-in-law who takes care of watering when we are away from home.

    1. Dearest Anne,
      Yes, while being absent from the home it is very tricky to have houseplants survive.
      You indeed are very lucky for having your dear Mother-in-law available for looking after your plants while traveling.

  7. En el verano, hace aquí tanta calor, que hay que regar las plantas a diario. Si te ausentas de tu casa unos días, se resienten las plantas.


    1. Querida Antónia,
      Aquí es lo mismo y no puedes dejar las plantas solas. Tampoco puedes confiarlos a otros; a menudo tan decepcionante.


Thanks for your visit and comment.


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