HOL­I­DAY CHECK­LIST

Wor­ried about your gar­den while you’re away on hol­i­day? Here’s what to do be­fore you leave to en­sure it sur­vives un­til you re­turn

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

Keep your gar­den happy while you’re away

DON’T

Plant new plants.

Fer­tilise your lawn as this will pro­mote new growth.

DO

Check the ger­mi­na­tion time be­fore sow­ing seeds and make sure they’ll only pop up af­ter your re­turn.

Col­lect plas­tic bot­tles to make self­wa­ter­ing fun­nels.

Dig wa­ter-re­tain­ing or soil-en­hanc­ing ad­di­tives into the soil.

Give the gar­den a thor­ough wa­ter­ing. Or­der in mulch, for ex­am­ple, com­post, bark chips or straw, which will keep the soil moist and pre­vent weeds grow­ing.

Check that the ir­ri­gation sys­tem is work­ing.

If you have a rain­wa­ter tank, at­tach a soaker hose to it and run this through your gar­den. The wa­ter will seep out slowly and sat­u­rate the ground.

If you have a pool, buy a shock treat­ment (su­per­chlo­ri­na­tor), chlo­rine f loater and an al­gae­cide.

Ask a friend or neigh­bour who is not go­ing away to check on your plants and wa­ter them, if nec­es­sary.

JUST BE­FORE YOU GO AWAY

Pick all fruit and veg­eta­bles and dead­head f low­er­ing plants.

Mow the lawn a lit­tle shorter than usual. Wa­ter the whole gar­den and ap­ply mulch to beds and plants in con­tain­ers.

Fit a timer to the ir­ri­gation sys­tem and set it be­fore you leave.

Move pots to a shady or pro­tected area in f lower beds to slow down evap­o­ra­tion and where rain­fall and the sprin­kler sys­tem can reach them.

Cut off the bot­tom of a few plas­tic bot­tles to make fun­nels. Punch holes in the caps and press the bot­tles into the soil around the gar­den with the necks a few cen­time­tres un­der the ground.

Fill with wa­ter (which will hope­fully be topped up with rain­wa­ter). This will seep slowly into the soil.

Stand in­door plants next to a large bowl of wa­ter, cut an ab­sorbent cloth into strips and put one end of each strip in the bowl and the other in the plant so that they draw wa­ter while you’re away.

Clear de­bris from the pool weir and pump bas­kets, and clean the pool sur­rounds. Shock treat, vac­uum and back­wash the pool. Check the pH bal­ance and ad­just ac­cord­ingly. Top up and put in a chlo­rine f loater and al­gae­cide. Set the timer so that the fil­ter runs for sev­eral hours a day.

Clean the sur­face of wa­ter fea­tures and ponds.

Cut­ting back on fer­tiliser slows down lawn growth.

Fun­nels made from plas­tic bot­tles will di­rect rain­wa­ter to plants’ roots.

Run through your full pool main­te­nance rou­tine be­fore go­ing away.

Place pot plants where they’ll be wa­tered by the sprin­klers.

Mulch well with an or­ganic prod­uct.

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