Gardening in May.jpg

The last of the frost is disappearing and everyone is looking forward to warm weather; yep, the month of May is on the way!

With the new month comes a new set of challenges for gardeners. Whether or not you have been started on this year’s crop already, May will offer much better growing conditions than what you have gotten used to over the dreary winter months. However, this will also encourage weeds and pests, who will be eager to make a meal your greens before you even get a chance!

When it comes to planting and sowing, the best advice that you can get will be from an experienced local gardener. A strong candidate can help you get started with garden planting and even provide ongoing garden maintenance if necessary. If your garden is a mess, a gardener can also provide a garden clearance service to get everything ready for planting.

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What to sow/ plant outside

If you have not been getting your garden ready for the warm weather, don’t panic! The warm May soil will be ideal for newly planted seeds, as well as any young plants that have been growing safely under cover or indoors.

As always, remember to read the planting instructions on your seeds carefully and do not deviate. If you are worried about getting as large a crop as possible this year, you may also want to consider square foot gardening.

  • To sow: French beans, runner beans, squash, beetroot, cucumbers, pumpkins, sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli, kohl rabi, scorzonera, salsify, chicory, pak choi, parsnips, radishes, salad leaves, spinach, spring onions, swedes, turnips  
  • To plant: Tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins and artichokes (that have been growing under cover), celery, beans, carrots, basil, oregano, thyme, sage

What to sow/ plant in a greenhouse/ polytunnel

Even as the weather gets warmer, your greenhouse will still be a useful tool for growing greens. If you have not done so in a while, give your greenhouse a clean with warm and soapy water. This will help to keep insects away as your the climate begins to make it easier for them to spread.

  • To sow: Courgettes, marrows, squash and pumpkins (under cover), cucumbers, gherkins, runner beans, French beans, lettuce, melons

Jobs to do in May

The beautiful weather will result in a much healthier and active garden, which means that you will need to really keep on top of your jobs!

  • Pests - Keep a close eye out for pests of all kinds, including slugs, birds and insects. Deterrents like slug traps, insect mesh and bird protection will help to keep your greens safe, but if you find that pests are a huge problem in your garden then you may want to speak to a local pest controller.
  • Weeds - It should go without saying that by this point in the year you should always be on the look out for weeds! As well as taking space and resources from your well-behaved greens, weeds will also provide a haven for pests, including slugs. There is a great deal of advice online on how to get rid of weeds, though certain breeds such as Japanese Knotweed should only be handled by a specialist.
  • Potatoes - By now, the potatoes that you planted earlier in the year should be showing healthy signs of growth. If you see shoots that have grown taller than around 23cm, they will need to be ‘earthed up’. This simply means drawing up soil around the stem. Do this until only around 5cm is left. This should be more than enough for your potatoes to keep growing healthily.
  • Lawn care - Now is the time of year to start regularly trimming your grass again. Once your lawn is no longer wet and frosty, you should be able to start mowing once a week. If you do not have the time to mow your lawn regularly, you may want to consider booking a lawn mowing service.
  • Greenhouse - Once the weather is nice and hot, you can afford to expose the plants in your greenhouse to a little fresh air. Every so often, open the doors and let your greenhouse air out.

Note: if you are planning to use a chemical treatment on your pests or weeds, make sure that you check how your other plants will be affected. If something can kill a weed, it will kill a vegetable just as easily! If necessary, speak to a local pest controller or gardener about alternative solutions.