Probably the busiest month of the gardening calendar!
At this time most of us will be planting out tender bedding plants, summer seeds and vegetable plants such as beans and tomatoes. Weeds will also be running riot in any bare patch of soil.
Beds and Borders
- When planting out bedding, give the plants a thorough watering in the trays or pots the night before planting so they have had a good drink.
- Select your plants for the conditions your garden offers.
- In shady spots buzy lizzies and fibrous rooted begonias will thrive without too much direct sun. In hot, sunny spots plant those that are more tolerant to drought conditions including geraniums, petunias, verbena and Californian poppy.
- Grass will be growing really fast in the warm bright weather, so you will need to mow your lawn each week.
- Make sure you put the cut grass to good use by creating your own compost bin.
- You can turn this into rich compost by mixing it with vegetable peelings from the kitchen and cardboard or scrunched up newspapers.
- Hanging baskets of summer flowers may not be as fashionable as they used to be, but they do make a spectacular statement next to front doors and beside patio dining areas.
- You will get colour from the end of May through until the first frost in October.
- Patios are excellent places for growing a wide range of salads, fruit and vegetables. Plant three tomatoes in one Tomato bag Planter in late May and you can expect to pick many kilos of ripe, tasty fruit before the end of summer. Similarly if you have a sunny space you can grow bell peppers, chilli peppers and aubergines in pots.
- Best guaranteed crops are the lettuce and tasty salad leaves such as rocket, mizuna, land cress, frisee and chervil.
- Grown in containers in an all Purpose Growing Compost instead of directly in border soil, your leaves of rocket will be less likely to be affected by pests.
- There are plenty of vegetable seeds to be sown now that we are in May.
- Sweet corn, runner beans, French beans, squash, courgettes and outdoor cucumbers can't stand cold nights and could be killed if there is a late frost. They are best sown in pots of compost and kept protected indoors until the end of the month when the small seedlings are planted out in the garden.
- The hardier seeds that can go directly into shallow drills out in the garden include carrots, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, radish and peas.
- Keep weeds under control around the stems of apples, pears and soft fruit such as raspberries and loganberries.
Potatoes should be sprouting through the soil in May and are fine while no ground frosts are predicted. To protect the foliage from threatened frost draw a small amount of soil over the leaves.