Your Summer Holiday

Summer Holidays – How to Prep

Gardening To-Do List

If you’re going away on (no doubt) well-deserved Summer holidays, here’s a few pointers to ensure that all the hard work done in your garden over the past year is preserved.

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You will rest easier on holiday if you first take care of your garden.


  • If you’re only going away for a few days or a week, add water-retention granules to your plants in pots and hanging baskets. Move them to a semi-shaded position or to where they will receive early morning sun. Water them well and top with a layer of fine mulch or perlite just before you leave.
  • Weed the garden thoroughly, water well and spread a layer of mulch or compost on all the beds to help keep plants’ roots cool, retain moisture for longer and suppress any weeds that might sprout. Water the whole garden well again just before you leave.
  • If you’re going away for a longer period of time, you will probably have to enlist the help of a friendly neighbor, friend, gardening service or house sitter to water the garden and, especially your potted plants, every other day if it doesn’t rain. Try and make the task as easy as possible for this person and be sure to inform them of any plants with special needs.
  • Ensure that your irrigation system is functioning properly and that the person in charge of your garden understands how to operate it. Make sure it is set to irrigate during the times stipulated by water restrictions. In the Johannesburg area that would be from 6pm to 6am during the summer months. Most irrigation systems are now equipped with a rain sensor which assists in saving water when it rains. Click |HERE| to read our Watering Guidelines.
  • Check and fix all leaky taps and hose pipes before you leave.
  • Move all your contained plants together in a group, as above, to make watering easier for your caretaker. It will be even better if you could place them in an area where they can be watered by your irrigations system as well.
  • For potted plants that need more regular watering or are too cumbersome to move we suggest our Smart Irrigator.

With our NEW Smart Irrigator you will be able to supply your plants with enough water for between 20 and 30 days!

Step 1: Water plant normally to soften soil

Step 2: Fill an empty 1 liter bottle with water and firmly screw on the Smart Irrigator

Step 3: Push the Smart Irrigator into the soil leaving about 2cm of the Smart Irrigator above the surface

Step 4: Punch a hole in the bottom of the bottle in order to ensure a constant flow of water

Get yourself one – or a few – for just R99.99 each – available in the nursery now!

The Vegetable Patch

  • If time allows, consider installing drip irrigation in your vegetable patch, attached to a timer on your tap. This will ensure thorough and regular watering of your veg around the root area, where it is needed, and not on the leaves (this often leads to fungal disease in most vegetables). Remember to weed and mulch your vegetable patch and water deeply before leaving.
  • Stake and tie up all plants that need support.
  • Check for signs of insect infestations or disease and treat before you go.
  • Chances are that some of your vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, will bear fruit while you’re away. Although you will be missing out, rather encourage the person looking after your veg to pick and use leafy veg (before they bolt) and ripe fruits as this will encourage more fruiting. Before you leave, pick all ripe fruits and take it with you or freeze if possible.

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The Lawn

  • Weed the lawn thoroughly.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn too short because you’re going away as this may cause browning and long term damage. Leaving the blades a bit longer also helps to retains some moisture. Just take it one notch down and water very well just before leaving. When you return, set the lawnmower on a higher setting and avoid mowing off more than one third of the blades in one go.

Indoor Plants

  • Mulch the top of your pot plants with moss or fine mulch and water well just before you leave.
  • If you don’t have anyone to water your indoor plants, either invest in a few water bulbs or Smart Irrigators or place all your plants on a drenched blanket or towel in the bathtub or kitchen sink. Another option is to spread a layer of pebbles in a tray or plastic basin, add water until the pebbles are just covered and place the plants on top of this.
  • Leave the plants in a cool, airy room, like the bathroom with the curtains open for enough light, but no direct sunlight.
  • Caring for your Indoor Plants can be challenging if you’re unsure how – click |HERE| to find out how!
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Properly taking care of indoor plants is easier than you think! Here, Tillandsia are soaked for 25 minutes in water before air-drying, upside down, on a soft cloth.

Odds and Bobs

  • If you feed the birds in your garden on a regular basis, either gradually reduce the amount of food before you leave or ask your house sitter / neighbour to feed them while you’re away.
  • Add lawn clippings to your compost heap. Sprinkle some compost activator over, add water and turn, so your compost can continue working while you’re on holiday!
  • Clean all tools and store away. Check out our very own How to Video all about cleaning your tools, below!

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