The summer holidays have begun and those of us lucky enough to be going away for a couple of weeks of sand and sea, country walks or maybe a luxury cruise are excitedly stocking up on our holiday essentials and eagerly planning our itineraries. Among us gardeners however there is a niggling sense of unease due to the nagging concerns at the back of our minds:
“what’s going to be with my garden whilst I’m away?”
“Who will water my plants and tend my flourishing vegetable patch?”
“How will I stop my greenhouse over heating?”
“Will I come back from my holiday to a messy wasteland of dead and dying plants?”
Well let’s try to put our minds at ease. First of all living in the UK where temperatures do not usually get too high for extended periods of time and there is a reasonable expectation of rain every few days it is unlikely that leaving our gardens untended and not watered for a couple of weeks will cause any lasting damage to all but the most delicate plants.
It is a bit late now but remember this for next year – do not plant anything new for at least two weeks and preferably longer before you go away. Plants always need the most care in the first few weeks after planting whilst they are settling into their new homes and putting down roots!
Obviously if you have an automated watering system you will have far fewer concerns in leaving your garden for a couple of weeks. If you are one of the many gardeners who is not lucky enough to have this luxury then maybe you have a friendly neighbour who you can ask to pop in once or twice a week to give your garden a quick watering?
Most modern greenhouses come with automated vents which open automatically when the temperature gets too high. If you don’t have automated vents then simply remove a couple of pains of glass preferably from higher up or even the roof of your greenhouse which will also let in any rain showers.
Another tip for next year is to plant any annual greenhouse vegetables in bottomless pots directly on the soil floor of your greenhouse. This method has two advantages – it gives your plants access to the soil which makes them less likely to suffer from lack of watering; it also allows you to plant each year in fresh compost in the pots rather than having to replace the whole layer of topsoil.
Enjoy your holiday!