Growing your own vegetables is a rewarding experience. It also gives you the chance to eat healthy, organic food, which is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Adding a few fruit trees to your garden can make it more visually appealing. It is also good for the environment.
I’m a gardening expert – avoid making a classic mistake with your plants before you go on holiday to make sure they survive
A gardening expert has warned against the number one mistake people make with their houseplants while going away on holiday.
Speaking on This Morning, horticulturalist David Domoney urged owners to resist overwatering their plants, which could ultimately rot the roots.
‘Half the time it’s not because of neglect,’ he told Alison Hammond and Dermot O’ Leary.
‘When you go away for holiday, in some cases many people’s plants actually do better while they’re away because most times plants are killed by kindness.’
In particular, David blames pot covers with a solid base at the bottom – which leave the plants suffocating in a pool of water after the owner soaks it before leaving the country.
‘This is bad,’ the gardening expert stressed.
‘Water is absorbed by the compost through capillary action, just like dipping a corner of a bit of tissue into water.
‘It rises up, saturates, removes the plant’s ability to take up oxygen and what happens… the roots then rot.
‘And they don’t come back, it’s very difficult with a plant that’s completely died through.
‘Overwatering is the bigger killer than under.’
The pro also added that an underwatered plant has a much better chance of being revived.
‘Never let plants sit in water,’ he insisted.
DAVID’S TOP TIPS FOR PLANTCARE
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO CARE FOR YOUR PLANTS WHILE THEY’RE AWAY?
The gardener said sitting your plant pots on some damp towels in the bath is one of the best ways to ensure they’re holiday-proofed.
‘Put the towel at the bottom of the bath… put the plug in,’ David instructed.
‘I don’t put water over the top of the towel just so that they’re heavy.
‘Take the pot cover off, of course, so the bottom of the container has got its holes in.
‘You sit it on the damp towels and go away on holiday.’
He explained that the bath not only ‘contains the water’ but also ‘shields the plants’.
‘It absorbs enough moisture from the towel but it’s not sitting in water,’ David added.
‘Baths are usually white so it reflects a lot of light which is good for the plants.
‘The water evaporates and creates a nice little microclimate for the plants so when you come back from your holiday refreshed and revitalised – they’ll look better than before you went away.’
David also advised that while you’re away, gadgets which drip-water your plant could be the perfect solution.
These have different structures and models – including pouches with a wick or a more rounded design with siphoning – so you can test out what works for your flora.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO WATER YOUR PLANTS?
‘I usually think if a plant can absorb water itself from the bottom of the pot, it’s better,’ David said.
With watering plants, he usually likes to ensure that the compost is hydrated and then goes to sit the pot on top of some garden rocks.
‘Put a plug in the sink, put about an inch or two of water, go and get all the pot plants and put them into the sink,’ he recounted.
‘Leave them for half an hour, pull out the plug, they drain and put them back onto the shelves.
‘And that’s the best way to water, so they’re never sitting in water they just hydrated the compost.’
He said it then depends how long you leave your plants for before hydrating them again.
‘Plants are pretty good to tell you and they’ll wilt,’ David explained, adding you can also ‘just dip your finger in the corner’.
He advised getting a shallow bowl plate, filling it with some garden stones and placing your plant pot on top.
You can then sit this on the window sill (or on top of a radiator in the winter). That way, excess water will sit in the gravel and evaporate – creating a nice bit of humidity for both the plant and yourself.