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Timing veggie patch around holidays?

Hi everyone

I'm fairly new to veggie growing - 2015 was my first season and I had some successes and other catastrophes!

I have big plans for the coming year but am a little anxious because I'm away for 3 weeks and 3 days in May on my honeymoon.

I'm trying to decide what I can plant before I go away and what I can do when I get back (26 May) but am very nervous about leaving the patch for so long. I will have a house sitter who will do the watering, but can't really expect much else.

Will sowing seeds in late May be far too late? We're in Manchester and our last frost was early May last year. Any tips or thoughts would be hugely appreciated! I realise it's a bit of a bonkers time to go away but we didn't have much choice unfortunately.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,784

    rope in a friend  to help

  • Unfortunately we don't have any local friends who are able to help as we haven't lived here for very long.


  • Have you got a friendly green fingered neighbour? I went way last year in July and took pot luck in asking my neighbours across the road if they might be able to help. Until that point we had only exchanged pleasantries but had spotted a polytunnel in their garden so must have some idea and figured the worst case would be them saying "no". They said yes. All sorted and happy plants on my return. I would do it if a neighbour asked me, assuming it wasn't a whole nursery! You could always offer them some money for the favour?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,238

    Hello Sally M. I live in the Derbyshire Peaks and we always get a nasty frost at the end of May so I am always late in sowing seeds.

    Last year I sowed runner beans, dwarf peas, tomatoes, cauliflower, beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli and cabbage in mid May. I think you could just get away with a late May sowing. They usually catch up with the early ones.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,267

    Good advice from pansyface. You can also sow broad beans and peas in March in the ground and they will be ready to eat after you get back. You can plant onion sets too, they will be ready in July/August. They will just need watering if it's dry. You can always buy tomato plants, peppers and other things from a garden centre when you return.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Do the best you can and bask in the knowledge that next year will not be beset by such vexing problems.  Keep any Tomatoes and Peppers in largish pots on a South or West facing wall. Sow any squashes/courgettes a good 10 days before you go and when sprouted give to neighbour to water. Spuds will be OK in soil, earth them up well before you go. Plant out any runner/french beans, if they do get frosted buy more when you get back. Forget salads until you return. If you harden your plants off for a week before planting out they should survive all but the worst frost or drought. Good Luck, oh, and Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials.

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