Warm weather spells the start of the holiday season for most people. Whether you’re going away for a week, 10 days or more, there are some steps that you should take to ensure that your garden is still alive when you return home.
A few days before you go away, it’s beneficial to weed your beds and planters, as the weeds will compete with your plants for water. If you have vegetables growing in your garden then you should water them deeply and spread the soil with either clippings, compost or mulch. To ensure that the soil remains damp for as long as possible, you could even place large stones or planks of wood between the rows of vegetables.
If you’re only away for a few days, you can probably get away with giving your plants a good watering before you leave, and waiting until you return to water them again. However, if you’re going away for a week or more then you should think about investing in some self-watering equipment. Whether this is a sprinkler on a timer, a soaker hose or a drip line, there are many self-watering options that suit all budgets and requirements.
Alternatively, you can look into creating your own self-watering system by using plastic bottles. All you have to do is take several plastic bottles (if you wish to water an entire garden) and poke tiny holes in the bottom of the bottle. Place the bottle a couple of inches below the soil surface next to your plant and fill with water. The tiny holes will allow for the water to slowly drip to the roots of your plants. Depending on the bottle sizes, you can use one bottle between four plants.
Potted plants are much more susceptible to drying out than bedded plants. If possible, you should group your pots close together as it creates a damper micro-climate and reduces evaporation from the soil. The potted plants should also be moved to be in a position that’s shaded for a lot of the day but where they’ll still receive rain.
The plastic bottle system mentioned above will also work for potted plants. However, it’s recommended that you try this system out about a week before you go away so that you can see how long the water lasts, and if you need to put more, or larger bottles in the pot.
Ask a Friend
An alternative solution to all of the above is to ask a friend if they could pop round a few times a week to water your plants for you. To make the request work if their favour, if you have fruit and/or vegetable plants in your garden you could always allow them to take any that have ripened whilst you have been away, as they’ll most likely be inedible by the time you return!