It’s almost poetic how our beloved fruits and vegetable plants decide to ripen whenever we’re out of town and can’t do anything about it. Whenever we’ve got to leave on a business trip, family holiday, or weekend break to see the in-laws, our gardens decide it’s time to produce the best harvest despite our careful watching and pruning throughout the year.
Even more, heart-rendering is when you return to a once flourishing garden, only to find it barren of any flowers, saplings, etc. If you, too, have experienced this betrayal from your garden whenever you’ve gone away, you might wonder, how can I tend to my garden while I’m out of town? Don’t panic. There are plenty of ways to keep your plants happy while you enjoy yourself.
So, if you don’t want to return home to a lack-lustre-looking garden, we’ve created this article outlining several ways to protect your plants while you’re away. From hiring local landscape gardeners near you and using water-retaining gel/granules to using mobile applications to control watering and mulching – keep reading to find out our top tips.
Enlist The Services Of Local Landscape Gardeners
In a perfect world, we gardening fans would have someone on hand to tend to our patches of heaven while we’re away, but alas, not all of us have this luxury. However, there are ways that you can cultivate one for the future by befriending a neighbour, joining a gardening club, or enlisting the services of local landscape gardeners.
In the past, you may have put your faith in a friend or family member to keep your garden ticking over while you’re out of town, but you may have found that they lack the understanding and knowledge needed to do a truly excellent job. If this is the case, you might benefit from looking for local landscape gardeners near you using online trade directories like MyBuilder.
Using their site, you can post an advert for just about any trade you’d like, from gardeners and conversion specialists to builders and tree surgeons. So, the next time you’re going out of town, consider posting a job using their site and see how it could help you find local landscape gardeners near you to care for your garden while you’re away.
Invest In Self-Watering Planters
Another way that you can ensure you don’t arrive home to a withered garden is by investing in self-watering planters. Using sub-irrigation, self-watering planters deliver water straight to the roots of your plants while allowing them to absorb more water as and when needed.
They’re also perfect for use when you’re not out of town, but you don’t have the time to water all your plants each day or are a bit of a lazy gardener! All you must do is keep the reservoir at the bottom of the planter topped up with water, which you can take care of before you leave for your holiday, and when it next needs filling, it will visually show you.
Typically, these are a much more cost-effective way of keeping your garden healthy while away since they can be purchased from your local garden centre or an online marketplace like Amazon. Plus, like traditional planters, they’re available in various styles and designs, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality! Or you could step it up and try your hand at remote gardening apps…
Use Remote Gardening Apps
In our digital world, technology rules every aspect of our lives, from workplaces to homes and even back gardens. Many gardening brands have developed their own mobile applications that allow avid gardeners to control parts of their garden from the comfort of their sunlounger on the other side of the world.
From your garden hose to your sprinkler system, some of the best mobile gardening applications can be connected to any compatible piece of gardening equipment you may have to keep your garden thriving and your plants growing. Just set them up before you go out of town, and lie back in your sun lounger, knowing that your garden will be suitably moist while you enjoy yourself.
Give Your Garden A Good Water Before You Set Off
It goes without saying that you should water your garden before you head out of town, but ensure to pay special attention to the plants that need it most, like any edible plants that require water for their crops to grow, plants that don’t have access to rainfall, and any plants in hanging baskets or containers.
Ensure you give all your plants a decent drink before you head out of town so the roots can get properly saturated (but not over-saturated!), which might keep them ticking over until you get back from your break.
Please pay special attention to plants that cant access direct rainfall, like the ones in your greenhouse or hanging baskets/containers, as they won’t be able to take advantage of the tumultuous UK weather, unlike all your other plants!
If these plants cause additional worry, you could always ask your neighbours or local landscape gardeners to pop over and keep an eye on them. If necessary, leave them a short set of instructions to follow if they’re not well-versed in looking after plants, or consider using a remote gardening app (as mentioned above) to keep them hydrated.
Make A DIY Irrigation System
Drip irrigation systems are one of the most effective ways to keep your plants watered since it allows water to drip precisely to the roots of plants, all while saving water and nutrients. You can get these installed below the surface or above. Yet, unless you’ve already got one installed, they can cost around £200-£800 (not including labour costs!) to implement, depending on varying factors.
However, if you’d prefer to keep costs down, consider DIY-ing your own irrigation system using a couple of plastic bottles. Not to worry if you’re not the strongest DIY-er, as you can find a variety of how-to guides on the internet to help you.
Alternatively, you could use terracotta, plastic, or pottery nozzles which can be used in conjunction with plastic bottles and pushed nozzle-down into the soil to replicate how irrigation systems work. If you’d like to go the extra mile, you could consider saving rainwater to fill your DIY system instead of using water from the hose which will save you even more money.
Buy Water-Retaining Gel Or Granules
Another way to ensure the health of your plants while you’re away is by purchasing water-retaining gel or granules from your local garden centre or online from sites like Amazon. Regardless of the type of growing medium, water-retaining gel or granules can be mixed into the soil to better its chance of retaining water, reducing the amount of attention it needs daily.
They can be used for hanging baskets, plants in the ground, containers, cutting flowers, and much more. Upon adding water to them, the granules will swell up to twice their size and gradually releases water into the soil, acting as a watering aid.
However, bear in mind, if you intend to use water-retaining gel or granules when you’re not out of town, they do not replace the need for regular checks for water, especially during extra sensitive times like during warm weather or while they’re growing from seedling to blossom.