Going on holiday during the summer can be difficult if you’re a gardener. With the British weather notoriously unpredictable, you could easily return to wind and rain-battered plants or containers full of dried up twigs.
The perfect solution is to find a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on things, water if there’s a heatwave, pick sweet peas and beans to keep them producing and courgettes to stop them turning into marrows. But what if there’s no one to help?
Here are some steps you can take to make sure your garden survives the holiday separation.
• Move plants in containers out of direct sun into somewhere shadier and make sure they’re not sheltered from the rain by overhanging porches or house eaves. Standing them in saucers or trays will help conserve moisture while grouping them together makes it easier if someone’s coming in to water.
• Invest in a drip irrigation system for thirsty crops, such as tomatoes, or make your own using plastic bottles with small holes punched into the lid. Water the soil well then fill the bottle with water, put the lid back on and place the bottle upside down into the pot making sure it won’t fall over.
• Deadhead thoroughly including any flowers that have opened but will be over before you return from holiday.
• Get on top of the weeding before you leave, especially weeds that seed freely such as dandelions and bitter cress.
• Stake tall plants to prevent wind damage, in particular any with large flower heads, such as sunflowers or dahlias.
• Harvest your fruit and veg and either eat, freeze or give it away. If you’re on holiday for more than a few days, pick baby veg, including beans and courgettes, to keep the plants productive.
• Mow the lawn and do the edges as there’s nothing worse than coming home from holiday to a meadow.
• Check the weather forecast: water everything thoroughly if it’s going to be dry and just the greenhouse if a monsoon is expected.