You’re starting to get excited and look forward to your summer holiday.
Check lists are being made.
And who can blame you? We all look forward to a break, getting away from the humdrum of work and normal life. It does our soul and minds good to explore a different place or country. To relax and rewind, and recharge our batteries.
But what about our gardens… neglected for too long they will soon start to look unloved and uncared for.
Well… I’m going to suggest that you make another check list. One to remind you of essential garden tasks you should do before you go on your holiday.
A lot of people choose to go away in the summer, the weather is good, hopefully. Kids are off school.
Sunshine, good food and beaches beckon.
It just happens to be the time of year when our garden plants are growing the most and need our attention.
Whether you are going to be away for just a few days or several weeks there are certain jobs you need to do before you can go.
In order to help the garden and your plants to maintain healthy growth, and to survive, follow my check list on how to prepare your garden before you go on holiday.
Essential Check List for the Garden
Deadhead faded or dead flowers in the lead up to when you are away. This will help to keep plants looking good. The plants energy will be directed to healthy growth and more flowers.
Harvest any ready to eat crops. I hate to think of any food going to waste.
Pick any vegetable or fruits that are ready so that it doesn’t spoil.
Either use the produce yourself or give it away to friends and family.
Mow the Lawn
Give the lawn a short cut. Trim the edges to maintain neatness and to stop the grass from growing into the beds and borders. ryobi-olm1833h-one-lawn-mower-18-v-review
This is good practice whether you are going away or not.
A deep layer of mulch around your plants will help to retain moisture. It also keeps weeds and slugs at bay.
Make time to weed the borders, paths and patios in the weeks before your holiday. electric-weed-burner
Weeds, as we know, grow at a rate of knots, left alone to do so they can soon take over. They will also take water and nutrients away from your plants. Plants do not need to be competing with weeds whilst you are away sunning yourself on a beach somewhere.
You would come home only to find the weeds doing very well thank you and your precious plants struggling to survive.
Top up the Pond
Making sure that your garden pond is well topped up will help wildlife, fish and water plants should you be planning to be away for a prolonged period. If you do have fish then ask a friend to pop in to feed them. Ensure you have left enough fish food for the duration of your absence.
Feed the Birds
I know many of you like to feed the birds, but once you start then you have to maintain a substantial daily feed for them. Again I would suggest you ask a friend or your good neighbour to come in and make sure that bird feeding stations are kept topped up with food.
Provide Enough Water
- Potted plants and flowers are more vulnerable to drying out.
- Group potted plants together somewhere in the shade.
- Placing them together creates a damp, cool climate which will help to keep them healthy.
- Moving potted plants to a shady area will stop them becoming too stressed if the weather is hot.
- Place the pots in saucers or trays of water.
- Install a watering system, either an irrigation kit or improvise.
- Recycled plastic bottles make great watering systems. Fill them with water and insert the bottleneck deep into the soil in your pots and containers. The water will filter through as the plants require it.
- I would also suggest taking down hanging baskets and stand them in a saucer of water. Unless of course you have set up an irrigation system for them.
- Pots can be sunk temporarily in to the borders, where you have room to do so. The soil around the pots will help to keep your plants cool. They will be able to get moisture from the soil if they need to.
- Water everything thoroughly just before you go.
- Enlist the help of a garden buddy. A friend or neighbour or indeed your gardener may be willing to come in on a daily basis to check that all is well.
- You can return the favour when they go away on their holiday.
Secure all outbuildings and store away tools and equipment.
Remember to gather up any tools and equipment that you may routinely leave out, and store away in sheds/storage. Ensure that all outside buildings and sheds are securely locked.
Many thefts of garden equipment take place when it looks obvious that your property is empty for a while.
Other items that are frequently stolen from gardens are bicycles, ornaments, power tools, toys, furniture and plants.
Enjoy your Holiday
With these tasks done you can rest assured that you have done everything within your power to keep your garden fed and watered while you’re enjoying your well earned break.
When you return, hopefully it will be to find that your garden has survived without you, and that plants haven’t been under any stress.
One of your first jobs when you get back home will be to check that everything is OK.
Deadhead as soon as you have time, make time for some weeding and if you’ve been away for a few weeks, no doubt the lawn will need a cut again.
Check pots and container plants for any disease or pests and deal with them as necessary. Check border plants, shrubs and vegetable or fruit crops as well.
Give everything a good watering if required and a general liquid fertiliser.
What holiday? ????
Do Not Bring Plants and Flowers Home
One more thing to remember: Please do not bring any plants or flowers home from your holidays abroad. Pest and Disease in plants are on the increase in our UK gardens. Some of them have the potential to cause a huge amount of damage if they spread. We can limit this damage by not bringing plants into the UK from unknown sources.
Any tips of your own? Pop them in the comments box and let’s share them.
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Happy holiday and happy Gardening.