A Gardeners’ Guide to May

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A Gardeners’ Guide to May

Contents

There are still plenty of opportunities to begin fresh, vibrant plant projects this month! Check out our Gardeners’ guide to May for some practical advice mixed with a hearty dose of inspiration.

A Gardeners’ Guide to May: Veggies

Under Cover, Greenhouse and Indoor

 

 It may seem a little early to be thinking about the warming tastes of autumn vegetables, however our gardeners’ guide to May is the ideal time to start planting for prosperous crops in the months ahead. Courgettes, turnips, squash and of course the infamous pumpkin can all be sown under protection immediately.

By now it seems like frost is a thing of the past, but don’t be fooled, mother nature is still very much primed to throw us a curveball. Theoretically you should be able to sow a plethora of tasty beans such as French beans, runner beans and broad beans under cover in your garden. If you live in a colder part of the country the safest way to play it would be to sow in containers in an indoor space and wait for the summer months to transplant.

All your favourite herbs can be grown in abundance now. Basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, mint, coriander, chives to name just a few can all be grown in a protected space or outdoors in warmer parts of the United Kingdom.

If you haven’t already been busy prepping for the salad days to come, consider this your last call! Tasty veggies such as cucumbers, lettuce, rocket and spring onions can all be planted in an indoor space now or, at your discretion, sown directly into the ground.

Barbecues are just around the corner and we all love a good burger! What better to accompany them with than some juicy homegrown gherkins. Oh the controversy! But if you are anything like us, you know it’s a good shout. If you are feeling experimental, why not add gherkins to a potato salad for a tangy twist.

May is the ideal time to start sowing sweetcorn indoors. When sowing, be aware that sweetcorn needs to be sown in blocks compared with rows, around 18 inches apart as they need plenty of space to grow. As soon as the risk of frost has passed they will need to be transplanted outside. This is because sweetcorn relies on the wind for pollination.

 If you are growing more than one variety of sweetcorn plant them in completely separate places to avoid cross pollination.

Outdoor

 

Carrot seeds can be sown outdoors now in rows in a warm, sunny patch. Keep the horticultural fleece on hand, not just for frost purposes. Horticultural fleece can be used to protect young crops from hungry carrot flies.

There is still time to bring the taste of the orient to your garden. Pak choi is packed full of vitamins, quick maturing and very low maintenance.

If you have been prepping any pea projects the month of May is an ideal moment to transplant them. If you haven’t begun sowing peas yet, time to get started sowing them directly into their beds. If mice are frequent visitors to your garden, consider switching it up and starting them off in modules.

There are plenty of hearty autumn veggies that can be sown outdoors too. Swede, cauliflower and parsnips will thrive outdoors in fertile soil. Cauliflowers are a little less hardy of the outdoor veggies and may benefit from the protection of cloches for the beginning weeks.

 For homemade mulch why not consider planting some comfrey seeds in small, unused areas of your garden. They can be sown directly in the location you want them or in trays indoors the choice is yours.

You can’t beat a bit of beetroot. This versatile veggie can be sown directly into the soil and will be ready to devour in roughly 7-12 weeks.

Sow Spinach seeds directly into moisture rich soil to ensure a successful crop with zero risk of bolting.

It is a little late in the year to be starting off a rhubarb plant, but if you have been growing this tangy veggie, your plant, by now, is probably ready for harvesting.
Sweet peas and bean projects will require tying in for training purposes. The extra support should encourage your plants to climb.

A Gardeners’ Guide to May: Fruits

A Gardeners' Guide to May: Young strawberry plant

Under Cover, Greenhouse and Indoor

 

If you have been busy growing tomatoes in your greenhouse over the colder months, May is the ideal time to transplant them into a new spot in the garden. They can be re-housed in bags or large pots, whatever works best for you and the space you have. Be sure to assist your plants growth by tying in supports for maximum reinforcement.

For anyone who has been contemplating starting a strawberry project, we encourage you to get planting now as time is running out. If you are ahead of the game and already have thriving, sheltered strawberry plants, Our gardeners’ guide to may is your prompt to start moving them outdoors.

Once your strawberry plants have been successfully transplanted you will need to be vigilant in protecting your crop from weeds or hungry birds. Straw and netting make ideal components for combating pests.

If you are a watermelon fan, the opportunity to plant seeds in individual modules is upon us. Be sure to do a little research first into which melons will be best suited for your local conditions once they leave the safety of the greenhouse.

Outdoor

 

All young fruit trees will need plenty of water this month as they enter a phase of accelerated growth. If you have planted fruit trees very recently you will be required to perform a few maintenance tasks this month in order to ensure they establish well in their first year. Gently removing blossom and young fruits acts to make sure your plant focuses its energy on becoming strong and healthy, rather than producing fruit or flowers. This is a beneficial practice if you want a thriving tree and bountiful fruits in a few years time. If you are new to the world of pruning, our gardeners’ guide to pruning is a must read!

A Gardeners’ Guide to May: Flowers

Under cover, Greenhouse and Indoor

There are a plethora of beautiful biennials to begin planting this month such as forget me nots, hollyhock and foxglove. These will be best started off in seed trays now and for flowering the following year.

There are also plenty of perennials for you to play with in our gardeners’ guide to May. Delphiniums, geraniums, aquilegias and Solomon’s seal are just a few flowers you could fill your greenhouse with. Follow the same planting advice provided for biennials to ensure you have vibrant flowers for years to come.

If you are looking for a flower to brighten up those beds, why not begin planting some salvia in a sheltered place?

Another popular flowering favourite is larkspur. It’s beautiful flowers are easily achieved compared with other annuals, and indeed some perennials, and they look just as impressive.

Outdoor

 

No garden would bee complete without beautiful flowers that support our local British insects. Star flowers, wildflowers, allium, poppies and cornflowers all help to keep our bees buzzing and our ecosystem thriving.

Our gardeners’ guide to May is the time to get sowing sunflowers in your garden, sharpish.

If you feel it’s time to have a go at growing your own bedding this spring directly sow bellis perennis, daisy or pansy seeds. Your planting window remains open till July so get growing! If you have any faded spring bedding it’s time for a good clear out to make space for summer projects.

Why not plant some attractive summer hanging baskets this year? As always we advise you use a good quality compost, a slow release fertiliser and feed them plenty of water. Begonias, petunias and lobelia look particularly pleasant in these particular displays.

Any hardy annual projects you have underway would definitely benefit from thinning this month.

If forget me nots are your thing and you already have these planted, be sure to maintain them by lifting to prevent them over self seeding and taking control of your beds.

If you have been sheltering delicate dahlias or lilies inside, late May will be a great time to start hardening these plants off.

 May time in general is a good month to begin hardening off any indoor plants you want present in your beds in the coming months. The best method for introducing your delicate plants into the world requires exposing your plant to the outside elements during the daytime. At night take them back indoors. Continue this process for 7-10 days before you intend to transplant.

Tie in any rambling or climbing roses you have growing in your garden for extra support and better growth. If you have any rose plants that aren’t looking as healthy as they once did, check out how to revive your roses for some quick advice that could help get your flowers back on their feet.

Wait for any spring flowering shrubs to have completed this cycle, then trim them back.

A Gardeners’ Guide to May: General Maintenance

 

Keep a close eye on all projects you have going on and regularly inspect plants for signs of disease or pest interference. Prevention is the easiest way to save plants from the elements and themselves.

Feed and water everything regularly, watering early in the morning and later at night will help you to get the most of your H2O. If you are late to mulch, what are you waiting for?

Keep ridding those beds of weeds wherever an opportunity presents itself.

All plants permanently being kept in pots will need a top dress this month.

Keep your greenhouse cool and airy as the weather starts to get warmer. Blinds are a great addition to help control the heat.

Now is the perfect time to start tending to any weathered grassy areas you may have been left with after a frosty winter. You can begin directly sowing seeds now. The rain should help assist a good watering regime and as your grass grows be sure to give it a good trim and cut weekly.

And there you have it, a gardeners’ guide to May! Plenty of maintenance to keep you busy as we begin the warm up to Summer. Keep on the look out for weeds, pests and more importantly diseases or infections; they are more likely to become visible this month. If you find yourself in a sticky situation at any point do not hesitate to contact our team of friendly professionals.

Author: Emma Watson-Thomas

Content writer for Lloyd Tree Services.

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