One of the biggest worries when on holiday or away is how the garden will survive. It can be hugely disappointing to spend so long pouring your heart and soul into making those cherry tomatoes grow just to have them wither.
The most important step is to ensure the plants will have water while you’re away.
For plants in garden beds, this means pulling up weeds that compete for scarce water in the soil, putting down a good mulch bed to limit evaporation, and providing a water source.
Timed watering systems attached to the garden tap are a good idea and affordable. If you’re heading away for a week or so you can fill a wine bottle with water and plunge it deep into the soil. The soil will slowly soak up the water and hydrate the plants.
Of course, give any plants a thorough soak before you go to make sure they have a head start.
If your garden is in pots, group them together to improve moisture retention, and pop in a bottle or two.
Once you’ve mulched, watered and grouped, have a look at what’s in the garden. If you’ve decided to plant more delicate salad and vegetable crops they will require shade. You can do this by either putting in some hardier shade plants or constructing a shady area from mesh, wire and stakes.
Finally, don’t let all your hard work go to waste. If you’re heading off just before harvest time, pick anything that can ripen in the fridge. Also, make sure to pick anything that will stop the fruiting cycle. Basil seeds need to be pinched off, while peas, beans and zucchini will stop fruiting if they mature on the vine.
So, with a little bit of planning your garden can be as happy as you are, while away from home.