Going on holiday? Use these clever watering techniques to ensure that your plants are alive and happy when you return
LEAVE YOUR POTS ON AUTOPILOT
“An irrigation system on a timer will take care of beds and lawns while you’re on holiday,” says landscaper Natalia Sinclair of Whirlwind Gardens. “You can also use it to keep your containers watered if they’re not already connected up to the system. Place your pots between the plants in your flower beds in spots where they’ll be watered by the automated sprinkler system. Do a test to make sure the water reaches the pots. Use bricks or rocks to lift the pots or dig down slightly to lower their level where necessary.”
MULCH YOUR BEDS
“On the day before you depart give all your beds a deep soaking and cover them with a thick layer of mulch,” advises Natalia. Mulch is one of the best ways to retain moisture in the soil and can be incorporated into the design of your garden, no matter what the style. Choose from living mulches such as groundcovers, which come in an array of colours, textures and shapes, as well as options like pebbles, different coloured gravels, shells, leaves and bark chips.
MAINTAIN MOISTURE WITH SOIL ADDITIVES
Landscaper Craig de Necker of The Friendly Plant recommends incorporating water-retaining additives to your soil before leaving to go on holiday. “This way, moisture will be retained in the soil for longer, so your plants will require watering less frequently,” he says. “By mixing a product like vermiculite into the soil, water will be retained and the release of nutrients to the plants will be increased,” he adds. There are a number of water-retaining granules, such as Aquasoil and Stockosorb, available at garden centres. You can increase the efficacy of these products by topping your beds and pots with a layer of mulch.
MAKE A DIY DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM
A good solution if you’re heading off for a short getaway is to make your own drip irrigation system from two-litre plastic cold drink bottles, here’s how.