Friend of AllClear, Diana Morgan is a blog-post writer, social media marketer, and eco-retailer. In this guest post, she shares her gardening survival guide for while you’re on holiday…
Summer holiday season has arrived!
But many gardeners have mixed feelings about leaving their good work unattended…
Worry no more!
Here are 6 tips to keep your garden thriving while you’re on holiday.
Ask a friend for help
- Don’t forget about this helpline! Ask a friend or neighbour well in advance to do some light care and watering. And offer to return the favour! Last year I was away in South Africa for a month in April / May and recruited a friend’s son – fortunately, he needed the funds for an air cadets visit to NASA! And I’m pleased to say everything was fine when we got back. Still, it can be a good idea to have more than one person involved to share the load – especially if pet care is also part of the arrangement.
Add watering gels or crystals
- Add water-retaining gel, crystals or similar products when planting pots and hanging baskets. Also, move all of the containers into a shady area before you go away, so that they need less water and for the convenience of your helper – who probably needs to be made aware the pots will need watering even if it rains!
Mow the lawn one last time
- Mow your lawn before departure then forget about it! But if you’re away for a long time, can you ask your neighbour to mow the front lawn? After all, you don’t want to advertise your absence.
Ditch the water sprinklers
- Mass watering with a sprinkler is really not necessary. It uses vast amounts of water (as much in an hour as a family of four uses in a day), which is not targeted to where the garden best needs it. Established beds and lawns can go without water for a few weeks.
Consider investing in automatic windows
- If you have a greenhouse, why not invest in an automatic window opening and closing system? I have memories of my poor mother-in-law trekking up the road twice a day to open and close a friend’s greenhouse while the friend was on one of her frequent holidays! We are in the second season of our greenhouse, and are really glad of having this feature – plus a solar powered automatic irrigation system which we haven’t fully put to the test yet. This year I put my seedlings in a big plastic tray on top of a newspaper which I thoroughly soaked, so they survived a few days very well.
Prioritise your plants
- Can seed sowing / planting out be delayed until you get back? Most plants will soon catch up. But in a vegetable garden, many plants will need plenty of water as they reach their peak. Peas need the most water when they are in flower, to help the resulting pods swell. Tomatoes also need plenty, plus a liquid tomato feed. Courgettes are thirsty for feed and water too, and the fruits need picking regularly (a nice perk for the person left in charge) once they start, otherwise they will stop producing. Peas and beans also benefit from frequent picking. However, most houseplants will survive a few weeks quite happily! There is more chance of your helper over-watering them than under. Just move the plants away from a sunny position and point out any that need special care.
With your garden taken care of, all that’s left to do is enjoy your holiday! And don’t forget a small present for your helper!