Jobs for the productive garden in May

If you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting, here’s a quick round-up of what you should be doing this month (subject to your local weather conditions of course!).

CUTTING GARDEN
If you are growing flowers to cut for the house and want something for later in the year, now is the time to plant Dahlia tubers.

dahlias

You can also start to think about planting out bedding plants such as Cosmos which are great to cut for the house throughout the summer.  Plant and start to train sweet peas.

Plant up summer containers and prepare borders for bedding plants.  But be patient with planting out summer bedding and only do so once the risk of frost has passed (which is notoriously difficult to predict at this time of year!).  Keep an eye on the weather forecast – if frost is forecast then protect your plants with horticultural fleece.

KITCHEN GARDEN
Gradually harden off tender vegetable plants such as courgettes and marrows which can be planted out at the end of the month.

courgette

When potatoes start to emerge, heap more soil on top of newly emerging leaves and continue to build up earth as growth progresses.

Direct sow runner beans, sweet corn, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, radishes, peas and French beans.  Transplant Brussels sprouts.  Sow pumpkins and squashes indoors or directly outside if the weather allows.

Keep young vegetable plants well-watered in dry weather, and keep on top of weeding and hoeing.

If you’re short on space, think about growing vegetables in large containers.

Start (or continue) a regular sowing of cut & come again salad leaves.  These are ideal to grow in containers (especially useful I find as I can keep them out of reach of slugs and snails).

herbs

You should be able to plant out herbs now, but again keep a beady eye on the weather forecast to be sure it’s safe to do so.

With warmer days on the horizon, apply shading to your greenhouse, and be sure to ventilate on warm days

PESTS & DISEASE
Inspect plants regularly for the sign of pests and diseases.
Check gooseberries and red currants for gooseberry sawfly lavae.
Protect carrots from carrot fly with fleece.

apple trees

Hang pheromone traps in apple trees to reduce codling moth.  Prune out canker, bacterial canker and blossom wilt on fruit trees.

Picture credits:  Janet Bligh & Firgrove Photographic

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