Allotment Diary

How to look after your plot when you’re on holiday

Holiday season is nearly upon us and lots of gardeners and allotment enthusiasts will be going away to recharge their batteries and take advantage of a well earned rest.

As an allotment holder, there’s nothing worse than going away and returning to something else undesirable.

I’ve come up with ten tips so you can enjoy going away on holiday and not worry about the state of the plot upon your return. Enjoy!

1. Cut grass a little bit shorter than usual

If you have grass paths like me, during the summer, grass paths can sometimes grow quicker than you think. Lowering the blades on your lawnmower a notch will give you a head start and cater for that extra growth incurred while you’re away.

2. Weed, weed and weed some more

Ah weeding… The bane or many a gardener. Sometimes I find my weeds do better than the plants that I actually want to see grow and flourish – before you know it, you’re up to your neck in elephant ears. Removing the weeds removes the competition for water and space.

3. Harvest

Pick courgettes, tomatoes, berries and anything else that needs picking. This means that your crop won’t bloat or over-ripen while you’re away. It also gives your plants to produce another crop while you’re on holiday.

4. Watering little and often on the run up to your holiday

Watering can be a bit of a worry while you’re on holiday. By watering little and often before your holiday you’re improving your plants ability to absorb and manage moisture. You’re also making sure your soil is moist enough to hold water while you’re away.

5. Strike a water promise with another plot holder

If watering is a big worry – offer to water someone else’s plot while they’re away and agree that they’ll do the same for you while you’re away 🙂

6. Set up drip feeders

There are lots of different tutorials detailing how to make drip feeders, but for me, the wine bottle drip feeders from the chaps at BuzzFeed seem the simplest. Also more fun because you get to drink wine as part of the set up process.

7. Spray your plants with a washing up liquid mix

A seemingly unofficial method for shifting black fly and other flies attacking your plants is the liquid soap method. I’m unsure if it kills the black fly or simply creates a greasy film that stops the blackfly from clinging on to your plants. Eitherway the testimonials a numerous if you do a search online.

8. Set up your slug bins

Slug bins are really easy to set up. Find a receptical that’s big enough for slugs to drown in (usually a jar of some sort), fill it with beer and sit back and relax. The science behind slug bins is quite interesting – check it out here.

Dealing with slugs
Dealing with slugs

9. Tie up anything that needs tying up

When I ‘anything’ the first plant that comes to mind are tomatoes. Tomatoes are particularly notorious for growing out of hand very quickly. Before I go away I like to tie them up, against the support right at the top truss to ensure a good length of growth.

Tieing up

10. Prune any berries you may have.

Again, blackberries, raspberries and currents do have a tendency to grow out of hand before you know it. With blackberries I like to give them a little trim here and there as I go. The only fast and hard rule I use for blackberries is that, if it’s in the way of where I’m walking – it’s removed. This would be especially true if you’re going away on holiday – it won’t hurt to be a little more ruthless with your pruning habits.

And there we have it – a few ideas to help to enjoy your holiday, safe in the knowledge that everything at the plot is taken care of while you’re away.

But in all honesty, even if you don’t manage to do all of these – don’t worry. Growing your own and having a garden is meant be something enjoyable and we work so hard each year tending to it. This means we need to enjoy a break every now and then.

4 replies on “How to look after your plot when you’re on holiday”

I think the washing up liquid usually works by smothering the black fly with a film so that they suffocate. I usually go for ecover because it’s organic, still works just doesn’t add any unwanted chemicals to the soil. Hopefully not getting any this year, ladybirds galore!

Ah good to know! I’d heard soap does different things. I haven’t done too badly with black fly or white fly either this year. I heard if you see ants milking the whitefly you can put a little ramakin of jam out to as an alternative. Is that ringing any bells with you?

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