Cally over at Country Gate Gardens has kindly and quickly penned the first, on the subject of holiday watering...
|Grouping pots together in bowls of water is one option to keep your plants happy whilst you're away on holiday|
When Cliff Richard boarded that red London bus and started singing, it was all too apparent that here was no gardener. Anyone who has more than a pot of tomatoes to worry about at this time of year would not have been able to head off to Greece with such abandon. I remember only one extended holiday when I was growing up. Every sunny day on the beach or sightseeing was punctuated with mutterings from my mother about whether Aunty Betty had remembered to water the greenhouse.
In contrast I am relatively relaxed about the holiday watering regime. With a bit of planning and organisation most gardens will survive quite happily in your absence. Here are my top tips...
- Get your plants in training. Giving them a good soak every few days is SO much better than little and often. It encourages the roots to push down deep and become well-developed. Then they’ll stand a much better chance of finding water in a dry spell.
- Try to ensure that all your plants are well established before you go away so no sowing ten days before you’re jetting off. Seedlings are not going to survive a fortnight’s neglect. I know - thanks to years of dealing with the burgeoning school garden during the Easter break.
- Soak your plants thoroughly just before you go away and mulch to ensure that the soil holds onto the moisture for longer. Use well-rotted manure, compost, bark chippings, leaf mould, shredded comfrey leaves, straw or newspaper. Don’t worry about drought-tolerant plants. They’ll be fine. And don’t bother about the lawn. Grass will recover from even the most severe drought once the rain falls.
- Heat sensitive plants like salads, which are prone to bolting will benefit from shading. Use green netting. Container grown plants can be moved into the shade.
- Dig out that old paddling pool, put it in the shade, fill with a few inches of water and leave your containers in it for the duration of your holiday. Houseplants can be placed in the bath.
- You can rig up a homemade irrigation system. I sink porous pots next to big plants and fill them with water. This allows water to seep slowly to the roots. Plastic bottles with a pinhole pricked in the bottom are less aesthetically pleasing but do the job just as well. Or invest in a soaker hose like this one.
- Quadgrow’s self-watering pots get the thumbs up from a friend of mine keeping thirsty tomato plants healthy for a fortnight. [NB there's lots of suppliers, so Google quadgrow and look for the best deal - Ed]
- For the really upmarket option check out Rainwater Gardening
Or you could just rely on your Aunty Betty.
Thanks Cally for a great post! Our neighbours have kindly agreed to substitute for Aunty Betty this year ;)
Do you have any top tips to add? Leave them in the Comments below. I also have guest post spots available on growing salads using hydroponics or the hotbox technique. Drop me an email on vegplotting at gmail dot com if you can help.