Well better late than never, we’ve taken the plunge and are off to Port Eliot in Cornwall this month, our first ever festival, obviously we’re taking a comfortable approach to this little adventure and hiring a motorhome with loo and shower. As well as music, there’s books, film, comedy and food, I am particuarly looking forward to the flower and fodder stage, which sounds like just my cup of tea.
In the midst of all this excitement I’ve been thinking about the practicalities of how the garden and allotment will cope while we’re away, this is my little plan:
Plants in containers:
My garden is mostly in containers right now, until the actual garden gets remodelled and planted later in the year. I’ve got pots of herbs, lettuces and a couple of big pots of pelargoniums that have been growing nicely so far.
- the number one thing has to be giving all containers a big drink to really soak the soil just before you go, aim the water at the soil rather than the plants,
- snip off all dead, dying or about to die flowers to encourage fresh flower production while you’re away,
- drag plant pots into a shadier part of the garden, they’ll dry out more slowly if they’re not in hot sunshine all day,
- ask a neighbour to water the essentials, or if you have a dog like us your house-sitter can do some watering. Call me pernickety, but I’d leave notes about what you want watered, how often and when,
- If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse you can rig up a watering system for container plants, but if you’re away for more than a few days you’ll need to organise a friend to top-up it up. Leave the doors and vents open and paint that shading on if you haven’t already, so it doesn’t get too hot in there,
Plants in the ground:
This is a lot easier with all that soil around their roots, vegetables are the priority here, they don’t react well to erratic watering
- make a shallow dish shape in the soil, without exposing any roots, so that the water doesn’t drain away too quickly,
- water well then put a thick layer of mulch, chunky compost mixed with straw would be ideal, on the soil around the base of the plant,
- pick all vegetables that are ready and all the tiny ones too for the same reason as flowering plants, see above,
- do some weeding, they compete for water and the flowers will dispense their seeds everywhere while you’re away,
- cut the grass, not too short, and leave the clippings on the lawn as a mulch to help it conserve moisture.
Happy holiday, Jill
photos: Jill Anderson