May 2010

May is one of the loveliest months of the year. The magic of spring peaks, and everywhere gardens rejoice in a surfeit of colour. The weather is still very unpredictable and can vary from hot dry times, frosts earlier in the month, hail, violent squally winds and thunderstorms! The middle of May can be one of the driest times of year, particularly in the south, and in East Anglia most gardens will begin to dry out. Initially, this is a benefit because the soil will reach an ideal consistency for seed sowing. However, as drying continues, there may be insufficient water to keep the seedlings going.  With the bulbs fading and the herbaceous border growing in leaps and bounds, it is now clear that summer is approaching. Sowing and planting out bedding can begin in this area from about the third week in the month It’s also time to get back into the lawn mowing regime, as the lawn will be loving the warmer temperatures that this month brings. ….Well you can not enjoy yourself all of the time!

Some jobs to keep you busy

  • Watch out for late frosts and protect tender plants
  • If you have any potatoes not planted do so promptly and continue earthing up these others as they appear.
  • Plant out summer bedding 3-4 week of the month but remember to harden then off first.
  • It is worth regularly hoeing off or hand forking up the weeds so they can not get hold.
  • Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days and consider what shading you are going to use i.e. blinds or shade paint to avoid large variations in temperature and scorching of plants.
  • Mow lawns weekly.
  • Before clipping hedges check that no bird is nesting in it.
  • Watch out for lily beetles and their grubs. The beetles are bright red and the grubs appear as a 1cm slime-covered orange grub. Crushing is the best way to deal with them
  • Sow the last of the hardy annuals and thin out any of the previous planted one if needed and sow Biennials for flowering next year.
  • Sow your Greens now either in seed trays or directly into a well prepared seed bed.
  • Sow Runner beans outside near the end of the month.
  • Harvest asparagus daily.
  • Sow beetroot, turnip, main  carrots, sweet corn outside and squashes and pumpkins indoors.

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