Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean death and destruction for the garden you’ve put so much hard work into.
Although it’s always a good idea to have a friendly neighbor on call to water your plants, you can do a bit of prep work yourself to make sure everything is on track for your return.
Move Container Plants
Your pot plants are likely to suffer most during a vacation: even if you’re only going away for a weekend. If you can, move your containers into a shady area of the garden (or even better, into the garage).
This will keep the soil cool and stop the plants from losing too much water. Cover exposed soil with mulch or bark to stop water from evaporating. If you’re going for longer than a weekend, another precaution is to sink the pots up to their rims in soaked wood chips to keep the soil moist.
Train Your Bedding Plants
If you know that you’re going to be taking a vacation this year then you can start preparing early by training your plants to need less water.
At the start of the season water your garden deeply, but less often, and your plants will put down deeper roots and won’t need a daily drink. If your plants are well trained, they could last up to a week without watering (depending on the weather). In this case you can give them a big drink before you leave, and pray the weather isn’t too dry.
Keep Moisture In
Soil can dry out very easily in hot weather, so if you’re going away for a week or more make sure that your garden is well mulched.
Pine needles and wood chips are good for this; not only will they keep moisture in the ground where it belongs, they will also hinder the growth of weeds. You can also throw frost protection sheets over your vegetables and flowers to stop water from evaporating from the leaves. This is a good way to keep pests like slugs out, too.
Hire House Sitters
The best way to make sure your garden survives your vacation is by having someone there to tend to your plants and lawn. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune: websites like TrustedHousesitters.com match home-owners with people who are happy to look after their homes for free in exchange for accommodation.
House sitting is becoming more and more popular, so when you set up your profile be sure to mention that you’re looking for an avid gardener (for inspiration, you can see examples of other house sitting job listings here). This will narrow down the number of applicants you get, and will make sure that you’re matched with someone who is perfect for your property and garden.
Do some serious mowing and weeding
Dedicate a few hours to removing weeds from flowerbeds before you leave. Left unchecked, the weeds will grow quickly and choke out your favorite plants: whilst stealing all of that precious moisture. Mow your lawn before you leave, too, so that when you return home your garden will be looking great: not like an overgrown jungle. Depending on the weather, your grass could look good for up to ten days.