28 April 2023
May Gardening Tips
The last month of Spring is upon us! With summer fast approaching it's time to plant out bedding, clear out spring flowers and make way for colourful summer borders & delicious crops. Our May Gardening Tips are sure to give you inspiration and helpful advice on getting the garden prepped in time for those all-important summer BBQ's.
Gardening Basics in May
May signals the beginning of summer, warmer weather and new life. With this, the garden needs a little extra attention to keep things looking ship-shaped. Now is the time to start a regular, weekly lawn mowing routine as the grass starts to grow quicker in the heat. Switch to the lower summer blades and ensure the lawn is well watered after a hot, dry day to keep it looking lush & green.
Generally speaking, May is the time to really up the watering regime, water all plants early in the morning and later on in the evening. Conserving & recycling water when possible. Lastly, get those greenhouse vents & doors open on hot days to promote airflow & prevent the plants from overheating.
Earth potatoes and plant any remaining as early as possible. Harvest asparagus, spinach & rhubarb and thin out the direct sown veg such as carrots & lettuce. It's important to keep up to date with weeding the next few months to ensure weeds aren't competing for nutrients, water & light, particularly around the garlic and onions.
Another top May Gardening Tip is to sow out Brussell sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers so they are ready in time for Christmas dinner. They can be sown indoors or out, but be vigilant of any late frosts. Courgettes, pumpkins & squashes should also be sown indoors ready to plant out seedlings next month.
One of the most important May Gardening Tips to note down is to protect flourishing fruit trees and soft fruit bushes. Do this by using netting to keep birds at bay. It is also time to get checking for caterpillars and any other insects which may be enjoying munching on your crops.
May marks the time to start harvesting rhubarb. Harvest the stems when they are as thick as your finger and 20cm+ tall. Only pick a third of the rhubarb stems at a time. When storing your rhubarb wrap it in plastic and do not wash it until ready to use. It should last up to a week in the fridge. For inspiration on what to do with your crop try one of these rhubarb recipes from the Kitchen Garden Magazine.
Plant out strawberry seedlings into planters or hanging baskets and cover with straw. This will not only protect the plants from weeds but also lift the berries off the ground. Use netting to protect the fruit from prying birds, ready for the first harvest next month.
The middle to the end of May is considered the best time to plant out bedding plants, summer hanging baskets and summer flowering containers. Harden off plants now by putting them out during the day and keeping them covered or back in the greenhouse overnight until the end of the month and colder evenings.
Take the time to inspect your roses and other flowers & plants for pests and diseases. Pick off any larvae as soon as you spot them, particularly the Viburnum beetle and lily beetle. Check roses for signs of blackspot and treat them immediately with a fungicide if found.
Prune, lift & divide any clumps of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and lift forget me knots to prevent spreading. Tie up sweet peas with twine or rings and cut off side shoots to encourage longer stemmed flowers to cut. Provide supports for herbaceous plants such as oriental poppies and peonies by making your own natural supports - binding twigs such as birch or hazel.
Now is a great time to sow any herb seeds you have left over. Warmth-loving plants like basil & thyme need to be sown indoors first but hardier plants like coriander and dill can be sown directly outdoors in beds or containers placed on a patio area near the kitchen for easy use in tasty dishes and cocktails!
Herbs are plentiful in May with leafy herbs like Mint, Sage & Oregano ready to harvest. Many herbs are also coming into flower; such as chives, common mallow and calendula.
Gardening Projects in May
Three great ideas for starting a new garden project in the garden this month.
ONE - Design a Kitchen Garden
Become part of the 'Grow Your Own' revolution, creating a bountiful Kitchen Garden at home using our useful How To Create A Kitchen Garden guide to planning & planting. Kitchen Gardens are becoming ever-popular and it's not hard to see why growing your own food can cut food bills, provide healthier, fresher food for you and your family & increase your mental & physical wellbeing. Read our blog to create your own.
TWO - Make a Bird Bath
Create your own DIY birdbath by sourcing a shallow bowl or bucket, even an old bin lid can work well. Raise the birdbath using bricks or sleepers to keep them safe from prying cats. Find a step-by-step guide here: Rspb bird bath Or use one of our premade wildlife tables and plant it up ready to see what wildlife you will attract.
THREE - Recyclable Plant Labels
Make your own recyclable plant labels that you can use year in year out. There are tonnes of materials you already have lying around the house and garden. Such as wooden pegs, corks on a stick, laminated drawings and even broken terracotta pots can be reused as rustic plant labels.
One of the most fun ways to create plant labels is to use flat pebbles. Paint them in the colours and style of the fruit or vegetables. Use a sharpie to write the names. Once the paint is dry give it a coat of PVA to seal and protect it from water damage.
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