The gardener’s holidays

Spread the knowledge
 Your perennials and herbs will have to do without you for some time? Megan Gruner, owner of Natural Path Gardens in Bognor, Ontario, explains how to prepare your garden for this absence.

Clean. Remove dead or dying shoots. Prune the perennials that go to seed to prolong their flowering. Tear up the weeds – turn them off if time is lacking – and harvest the ripe vegetables.

Sprinkle. Flooding the flowerbeds would waste water and ravel the soil. Early in the morning of your departure, water for a few hours with a oozing hose (pierced with small holes).

Put some mulch. Spread 8-10 centimeters of cedar chips, leaves or straw on your flower beds to slow evaporation. Surround trees and shrubs with cardboard or soggy newspaper that you will attach with stakes. Consider the size, species and weather to estimate the time your plants can spend without watering.

Protect potted plants. Place them in the shade. An inexpensive device called Plant Nanny (leevalley.com) will irrigate them for up to two weeks.

Recruit auxiliaries. “Offer your neighbors to harvest your vegetables in exchange for some weeding,” says Gruner. Or hire someone. In Guelph, Jean Mills pays a teen to mow his lawn.
Make choices. You do not have the time ? “Concentrate on what you value most,” said Gruner. You will lose some perennials, and after? You go on vacation! ”

Dr. Monika Mathur

Ph.D Yale University

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