It’s a lovely treat if you’re able to get away on holiday over the summer, but a niggling question may be at the back of your mind: how can I look after my garden whilst I’m away? It’s true there’s no substitute for being able to tend your garden yourself, and if you’re extremely lucky you might have an obliging neighbour who’s happy to help out. But in the absence of these facts, don’t fret – there are a few simple jobs you can do before you leave to make sure your plot is still looking fabulous to welcome you back off your hols.
The first thing to do is to check over your monthly garden jobs, and make sure you’re all up to date with tasks like weeding, mowing and deadheading. Be vigorous – it’ll all be worth it when you’re on holiday relaxing! Read my quick monthly garden jobs articles at the bottom of this article.
In the flowerbeds
It’s worth bearing in mind that lots of hanging baskets and flowering plants ideally need daily watering, so you might want to have a look at these great DIY home watering systems from Smart Garden Guide. A really simple option is to fill up a well-washed wine bottle with water and quickly plunge into the surface of the soil, screwing it well down. The water level will stabilise, and the water will seep out into the soil as needed.
If that all looks like a bit too much work, just make sure to move your pots into a shady spot, soak them well and stand them in a container full of a few inches of garden soil. This will help the roots retain moisture whilst you’re away.
In the greenhouse
I love to use reservoir watering systems in my greenhouse because they’re so little work, and fairly cost effective. They’re definitely worth looking into for the more serious gardener. Make sure to soak everything well, open any windows so the heat doesn’t get too ferocious and apply another precautionary coat of shade paint before you leave.
In the vegetable patch
I’m always surprised by how much my veggies can shoot up in height over a few weeks, so before I go away I always make sure to stake even the younger ones so that they have support if they need it. Pick anything that’s ripe (give to friends and family so it doesn’t go to waste) and put underripe strawberries and tomatoes in the fridge, where they’ll ripen whilst you’re away.
Leafy crops like lettuce, cress and oriental salads like bok choi are more likely to run to seed, and unfortunately this is rather inevitable unless you’re willing to erect some shade protection. To cheer yourself up, sow some salad leaves and water well just before you leave so that you’ll come home to some new shoots, nearly ready to cut and eat!
In the home
Most house plants will hold their own quite nicely for a few weeks, as long as they’re thoroughly watered – I tend to make it a job for the night before I go away. If you’ve got smaller pots and ferns, it might be a good idea to stand them in a tub or in the sink on a damp towel, after giving them a good water. Leave them there for the time you’re away and they’ll happily self-sustain.
Get on top of your gardening before you go: