Friday, June 22, 2018

16 May

What to do in your May garden!

May brings beautiful warm spells and cool nights. There is still the risk of a cold snap and heavy showers in May but May’s garden is bursting with life, colour and birdsong!


Sowing and planting:

Plant out summer bedding towards the end of the month once the risk of frost has passed.  Take care in colder areas where it’s best to wait until June.  Harden off plants raised from seed and cuttings. You can do this by leaving them outside for increasing periods of time.  It’s best to put them out at the warmest part of the day then build up to overnight exposure.  Do this for 10-14 days before planting them outdoors to ensure that their growth isn’t stunted when they are planted out.


Potatoes grow very quickly under warm and moist conditions.  Now is the time to earth up Potatoes – this is drawing up the soil around the stems of the plants to leave a small shoot uncovered.  This increases the length of the underground stems that will bear Potatoes.  Plant any remaining tubers.

Mulch Strawberry plants to keep the fruits off the ground and deblossom Strawberry runners planted in the spring.  When the Strawberries start to swell, don’t water as much to avoid grey mould. Cover Strawberries and other fruit with netting to protect them from pests and birds.

Sow Beetroot, Winter Cabbages, Carrots, Peas, Broad and Runner Beans, Lettuce and Spring Onions. 

Prepare your soil by removing weeds and raking the surface to break down large clumps of earth.  Make a furrow with a trowel then sow seeds finely.  Cover the seeds with soil and water well.  Stagger sowings to prevent a glut.

May Garden Maintenance:

Dead head any spring flowering bulbs so that the plant stores energy in the bulb rather than wasting it on seed production.  Allow daffodil and other spring bulbs foliage to die down naturally.  Apply liquid fertiliser once bulbs have flowered.  Spring flowering bulbs need maintenance to ensure good flowering next year.

Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs.

Also, support herbaceous plants before they are too tall or for heavy blooms like Peonies.

Pot on plants that are showing signs of being root bound.  Root bound plants will look ‘unhappy’, you might be able to see the roots growing out of the drainage holes, and it might wilt quickly after watering as there is no soil in the pot to retain the moisture.

Apply liquid feed to containers every 2 weeks and ensure tubs and baskets are well watered.  Use rainwater or recycled grey water where possible.


May can still produce a frost so make sure you protect tender garden plants.

Pests such as Vine Weevil larvae can cause serious  damage to containerised plants.   If you suspect Vine Weevil tip out the rootball and inspect for the creamy orange-headed maggots, which will tend to curl up into a ‘c’ shape.  Try biological control for Vine Weevil, safe for your vegetables too!

Other pests like aphids can multiply rapidly during mild spells.  Remove early infestations by hand to curb the problem.  Failing that try biological control products such as Ladybird Larvae – a natural predator of aphids.


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