Garden Holiday Tips


 Holiday Gardening tips

We love to go on holiday but what about the garden and the veg plot?

Hours of time carefully raising plants can be spoilt by a spell of tricky weather, particularly a dry spell. The main need is to keep plants watered and away from too much direct heat if a prolonged hot spell is forecast. The best way to look after the garden whilst you are away is a friend, neighbour or family member who will come in and check it for you but if that's not possible here are the best tips for keeping the garden going whilst you away enjoying yourself.

The Sunday Gardener's holiday gardening tips:

1 Move any young plants out of the green house into an area of  semi shade.  Without regular attention, plants in the greenhouse can get very hot and dry out, especially young plants in small pots. Put the young plants in trays raised off the ground  away from slugs for advise on how to beat the slugs follow this link

Sounds obvious but check the 5 day weather forecast it is now much more reliable and gives you a good idea what to expect whilst you are away. If no rain is forecast for the first few days water heavily before you leave for holiday. Equally if lots of rain is forecast make sure none of your containers or plants are place on drip trays as they will quickly fill up with rainwater. Plants dislike standing in water for prolonged periods.

3 Capillary matting can be useful and will nurse a plant through a week (as long as it's not a heat wave week) Soak the matting and set the plant on it to keep hydrated. 
4 slug in action

The slugs won't be on holiday and it is best to put down your favourite method of killing them, and put down extra, as they the slugs are bound to make hay  and chomp away whilst you are away. For more slug killing tips click here .

If when you come back from  holiday you find the slugs have chewed at bedding plants check out the slug tips page for how to rescue a bedding plant.

5 It's worth looking at drip feeders for inside the greenhouse where it can get very hot and dry out quickly. If you are going on holiday early in the year, many greenhouse plants are still small, either move from greenhouse (where they may bake) into semi shade or set up drip feeders.
6 Check garden stakes on tall perennials plants - it may not be windy the day you go away, but a summer gale, particularly if combined with rain, can flatten the garden  and tall perennials if not well staked. Stake it or lose it.
7 Some plants and veggies growing in pots, such as lettuces, toms, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries are sensitive to drying out in a spell of warm weather - move  the containers just for
strawberries in a container the  holiday period into semi shade.  Water well before you go away but bear in mind that containers only retain a limited amount of water in their soil which is why they are prone to drying out. Dont worry about veg such as onions and garlic they can survive for a while on the dry side. Its worth using water retaining gel in bedding tubs and pots to guard against dry spells.
8 House plants on window sills and in a conservatory can suffer if there is a spell of hot weather. In the summer months, you can risk putting household plants outside in a sheltered spot,so that they are not left (baking) on a sunny window sill or Conservatory.

For the veg plot a hose pipe with a sprinkler and timer switch to come on twice a day is very helpful .....provided there isn't a hose pipe ban.

10 Cucumber seedling emerging It is a good idea not to sow seed to germinate just before going away. Tiny seedlings are very vulnerable to extremes of weather. In particular they need just the right amount of water to nurse them through the early stages of germination. Tiny seedlings dry out very easily, even when you are keeping a watchful eye on them . If they germinate and there is then there is a hot spell without regular watering they will die. 
11  Best of all is a friend or neighbour who will pop round if the weather is dry and water for you, and perhaps kill a few slugs as well. To make it easy for your friend stick a flag or something memorable in the pots and baskets so they know what you want watering and hopefully there will be less falling out when you come back from holiday to find your gardening  pride and joy has been missed.
12 long lawn Make a break with your lawn care regime. It is not a good idea to feed a lawn before going on holiday. If whilst you there is a period of ideal growing conditions, warm sunny days interspersed with rain, you will come back to a meadow high field of grass. It is hard to show in the image right, but this lawn was fed shortly before just one weeks holiday; on return it was very long, and took a lot of cutting. Save the feeding until you are back.