Gardening Tasks for May

Friday 11 May 2018

There's always something to be doing in the garden, whether it's pruning, tidying or sowing, so we've put together our top gardening tasks for May.

Now the weather has become much more like we would expect at this time of year the gardening season is in full swing. 

Want to know the secrets to handsome hanging baskets? Look no further! Firstly, when you plant up, always use a good quality compost, an add some slow release fertiliser and water retaining crystals - they'll make the baskets so much easier to care for come midsummer! You should also make sure you always plant up around the sides of the baskets, this will give more impact, quicker! Finally, through the season, keep taking off the dead flowers and you'll get more and more grow on!

In the flower garden: 

  • Don't be tempted to cut down or tie up the foliage of spring-flowering bulbs, let them die down naturally.
  • Prune your Penstemons now - cut all the old shoots back to the base provided there is new growth at the bottom of the plant. If there are no new shoots at the base, cut just above the lowest set of leaves.
  • Tie in climbing and rambling roses. Laying the stems horizontally will help to produce more flowers.
  • Trim lavender plants now, cutting off any old flower heads and about 2.5cm (1 inch) of the current year's growth.

In the veg garden: 

  • Continue earthing-up potatoes. Read the Thompson & Morgan potato growing guide for information about how to earth up potatoes.
  • Thin out direct-sown vegetables such as spinach, carrot and lettuce seedlings then water the rows well. 
  • Protect crops from carrot fly by covering with horticultural fleece or enviromesh 
  • Be vigilant with weeding - weeds will compete for precious water, light and nutrients.

In the fruit garden:

  • Surround strawberries with straw to protect fruit. Net them to keep birds off of the fruit.
  • Keep young fruit trees well watered whilst they are putting on rapid growth. 
  • Regularly check the centre of your gooseberry bushes for the green gooseberry sawfly caterpillars. They will quickly skeletonise the leaves if not removed. 
  • Erect netting around your soft fruit plants to prevent birds eating your crop.

In the greenhouse:

  • Harden off half-hardy bedding plants to acclimatise them to outdoor conditions.
  • Plant glasshouse tomatoes in beds or growing bags
  • Use blinds or apply shade paint to avoid large fluctuations of temperature.
  • Damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.

And don't forget to take time out from the hard work to relax and enjoy your garden now that warmer weather has arrived.

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