The weather is warming up and the flowers are blooming in your garden. The veggies will soon be ready to harvest and the garden is looking like a fresh oasis, perfect for al-fresco dinners and cooling down after a hot day.
Then comes the time when you have to leave for a holiday. After a long year of caring for your plants, two weeks can make the difference between your refreshing oasis and the Sahara dessert. Caring for your garden, while you’re away takes a certain bit of dedication and preparation, but it’s definitely not an impossible task even for the newbie gardener.
That’s why we created this helpful guide to keeping your garden alive during the holidays:
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
This word must be repeated like a mantra, and preparation for your departure should take place about a week before. Get rid of all weeds, trim the hedges and cover the soil with mulch.
Just before you leave, water your vegetables, and make sure you reach the roots.
2. Think about your veggies.
Taking care of vegetables while away is one of the hardest tasks when being a gardener. Make sure to stake and tie your vine plants, even if they don’t look like they’re as big yet. Harvest anything that’s ready or almost ripened, as many veggies can ripen while await. Finally remove any baby courgettes, peas and beans, if you’re leaving for longer, as they will stop giving fruit if left to mature on the vine.
3. Your pots.
Pots are even harder to take care of, but by grouping them together, you can help them form their own mini eco system. Place them in a shaded space if possible, but make sure they can still receive rain.
A smart idea, which many might not know is to utilise bottles as watering devices. Simply fill a wine bottle or similar with tater to the brim, turn it around and plunge the neck into the pot. The soil will slowly absorb as much as it needs, although if you’re going for a long trip you might want to secure more than one bottle.
4. Pest control.
Check for pests about a week or two before your planned holiday, and make sure to take extermination measures before you leave. Even if the problem doesn’t seem big, it might turn out to be by the time you come back. A stitch in time saves nine!
5. Helping hands.
If you’re lucky enough to have some friends or neighbours with spare time, ask them to come by and tend to your garden and pots. You don’t have to have the house unlocked, just install a garden tap, and leave the hose and watering devices out.
Also don’t forget to remind them that plants need to be watered, regardless of whether the weather is rainy or not. Many people tend to forget that.
6. Post-holiday care.
Once you’re back, plan some extra time to spend with your garden. Water, trim and harvest, wherever your attention is needed. Check for pests and plant health problems, as they might have started as you were away. When you’ve finally checked everything, have a quiet evening, and just appreciate the wonderful space you’ve created.