Gardeners should bribe neighbours before going on holiday

Gardeners torn between going on holiday and staying at home to tend to their flowers and vegetables have been offered guidance on how to deal with the trade-off.

Most Britons tend to go on holiday just at the point when their peas, carrots, salad, beet, beans, courgettes and tomatoes – which have been lovingly cared for over the previous three months – are bearing fruit.

According to Times contributor Jane Owen, while this means gardeners lose out in terms of the reaping the benefits of their labours, it also leaves them in a strong bargaining position.

For offering produce to neighbours (which would have been wasted anyway) might tempt them to help with greenhouse watering duties.

"However, blackmail may never be enough," Ms Owen adds.

"Leave strategically placed buckets, watering cans, hoses and even a hoe or two as a gentle reminder that a garden needs tending."

Other tips from Ms Owen include moving potted plants into the shade, adding a thick layer of mulch to containers and to vulnerable plants and picking as much produce before leaving as possible.

Meanwhile, gardeners with greenhouses are advised to open ventilation and dampen it right down before setting off.