The year seems to have gone so fast it’s hard to believe we’re already in the holiday season. I’ve been on a practice weekend away recently, leaving on Thursday and returning home late Sunday. Weather cool and windy with some rain showers. Everything survived and only one plant looked unhappy, a fruiting cucumber in the corner of the greenhouse. What worked and what needs tweaking before I go away for longer? How can I protect my plants if the weather has a warm spell?
I have enlisted the help of various friends and relatives to help me out so that the plants are checked over every 2-4 days. I want to make it as easy as possible for anyone who comes to water by giving them good clear instructions. eg cucumbers are very thirsty please check every day/two days.
Make it easier by
Before you go away, reposition plants that need to be sheltered from winds and direct heat. Stand plants in the shade of the house on a protected side. My salad crops are by the side of the house which gets a short period of late afternoon sun and as the containers are a bit short on compost I will put a tray underneath to catch the overflow from watering.
Ensure those plants that need to keep their roots out of standing water have adequate drainage or are placed on some gravel. In my case the amaryllis and succulents that are outside for the summer months will need moving. I may decide to bring them in as the greenhouse temperatures have recently dropped to 9OC overnight. This leaves me with the question of do I leave the greenhouse door open or closed in order to allow insects access and to allow for higher temperatures on sunny days? I am erring on the side of leaving it open to enable access for pollinators as well as shelter for the cat if it rains.
Water well, giving a good soak the day before you leave. Give a good soak around the roots so the water will get down into the depths of the soil.
Feed well the week/evening before going away - as it simplifies care instructions. Unless you are going for more than a fortnight then you may need to include this.
Try to ensure plants are weed free in order to reduce competition for water.
If n friends or relatives available, install and be familiar with any automatic watering system and know it works as expected before you go.
Pray! For good rain overnight and sunshine in the day - for your plants and for you to enjoy your holiday.