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
Keep your garden happy while you’re away
Plant new plants.
Fertilise your lawn as this will promote new growth.
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.