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Holiday Gardening tips - (Courtesy of ‘The Sunday Gardener’)

We love to go on holiday but what about the garden and the veg plot?

Hours of time carefully raising plants can be spoilt by a spell of tricky weather, particularly a dry spell. The main need is to keep plants watered and away from too much direct heat if a prolonged hot spell is forecast.

So here is the Sunday Gardener's best holiday gardening tips:

1. Move any young plants out of the green house into an area of semi shade area. Without regular attention plants in the greenhouse can get very hot and dry out, especially young plants in small pots. Put the young plants in trays raised off the ground away from slugs.

2. Sounds obvious but check the 5 day weather forecast it is now much more reliable and gives you a good idea what to expect whilst you are away. If no rain is forecast for the first few days water heavily before you leave for holiday

3. Invest in capillary matting as it can nurse a plant through a week (as long as it’s not a heat wave week) Soak the matting and set the plant on it to keep hydrated. 

4. The slugs won't be on holiday put down your favourite method of killing them and put down extra as they the slugs are bound to make hay and chomp away whilst you are away.

5. It's worth looking at drip feeders for inside the greenhouse where it can get very hot and dry out quickly. Early in the year, when the plants are still small, either move from greenhouse (where they may bake) into semi shade or set up drip feeders.

6. Check garden stakes on all perennials plants - it may not be windy the day you go away, but a summer gale, particularly if combined with rain, can flatten the garden if tall perennials are not well staked. Stake it or lose it.

7. Plants and veggies growing in pots are very sensitive to drying out in a warm spell of weather - move for the holiday period only into semi shade. It’s worth using water retaining gel in bedding tubs and pots to guard against dry spells.

8. House plants on window sills and in a conservatory can suffer if there is a spell of hot weather. In the summer months, you can risk putting household plants outside in a sheltered spot, rather than leave on (baking) sunny window sill or Conservatory.

9. For the veg plot a hose pipe with a sprinkler and timer switch to come on twice a day is very helpful .....provided there isn't a hose pipe ban.

10. It is a good idea not to sow seed to germinate before going away. Tiny seedlings are very vulnerable to extremes of weather. In particular they need just the right amount of water to nurse them through the early stages of germination. Tiny seedlings dry out very easily, even when you are keeping a watchful eye on them . If germinated and then there is a hot spell without water they will die.

Best of all is a friend or neighbour who will pop round if the weather is dry and water for you, and perhaps kill a few slugs as well. To make it easy for your friend stick a flag or something memorable in the pots and baskets so they know what you want watering and so no falling out when you come back from holiday to find your gardening  pride and joy has been missed.

Happy Gardening

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