Gardening Jobs For May

How glorious is this weather?! It feels amazing to be out in the garden or down at the allotment when the sun is shining, the birds are singing and our well loved little seeds have sprung into life, with the promise of fresh produce soon to come. There are lots of jobs to be done this month, so put on your sunscreen, pick up your spade and tick off those jobs!

Plant out your babies!

The ground should be warming up nicely now, but keep your eyes peeled on the forecast for any surprise frosts. Depending on where you are in the country, these should be rare now, but never say never! Your greenhouse or grow tent could be looking full, and it’s time to start getting things out of their growing pots and into the soil or pots into their final positions.

Choose your positioning wisely to make the most of sun and shade, and make sure you plan for correct spacing between plants. If you cram too many plants into one place, your plants shall struggle to get the right amount of light and oxygen and won’t do as well as if they had lots of space to grow.

Planting out now, makes more room in your greenhouse for more sowings too!

Keep on top of weeds

Warm soil and sunny days don’t just mean that your seedlings spring into life, it also means that weeds do too. Remember to hoe weeds regularly to keep on top of the work load. Blink, and suddenly the plot feels like it’s been taken over overnight. Some weeds can be beneficial, supplying a place for insects to live a happy life. Keep an area of your garden space for this reason only. The rest should be weed-free as much as possible. Weeds will steal water, light and oxygen from your plants and can smother them to near death.

I have some serious weeding to do later on this afternoon! Wish me luck and pray my baby naps so I can crack on with the job. It looks like The Day Of The Triffids out there!

Net Brassicas

Birds love the leafy goodness of young cabbage, cauliflowers and Brussels Sprouts. These all need to be grown under cover to stop those pesky birds from having your dinner, for their dinner. Create a cage by making a square cage from poles and making a ‘tent’ from garden netting. Make sure you have secured the netting adequately, as small birds can get caught in it. Not something you want to have on your conscience.

Make Bean and Pea Frames

Peas and beans require support, else they scramble across the ground and fail to thrive. I reuse my garden canes year after year, but you can buy them from most garden centers. Avoid ones that come pre-packed in plastic, as we should all be working hard to reduce the amount of plastic bought into our homes and gardens.

There are a few ways you can make frames. My favourite method has to be making a row of upside down V’s, with a can running across the top for support (see photo). I also like to make wigwams in a circle. This allows easy access to all of the growing veg, and makes a great den for the kids to play in too!

Remember to water your plants

It has been very dry in the UK over the last few days and my plants have suffered a little. Plants need a good regular supply of water to grow and thrive. Be careful not to over water your plants though, this can do more harm than good.

Water at the coolest parts of the day (avoid the midday sun, as this can scorch your plants) and water the base of the plants. Keep a close eye on plants in containers, as these will dry out very quickly. Container plants will certainly need watering daily, sometimes twice a day.

Save money on your water bill, by using rain water collected in water butts. Water butts are very easy to install and you shall be pleasantly surprised at just how much rain water you can collect. We have 4 large water butts, connected together as we use so much water in the garden and greenhouse over the summer months.

What to sow in May

Sow directly into the soil:

  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Chard
  • Cabbages
  • Courgettes
  • Spinach
  • Salads
  • Herbs
  • Runner Beans
  • Onion sets
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Marrows

My Favourite May Plant – Euphorbia

Source: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/pruning-euphorbias/

Euphorbia plants are simply stunning. These green stemmy herbaceous perennials boast small trumpets of yellow-green flowers. They are super easy to grow and require minimal effort.

But… be careful! This gorgeous plant carries some nasty risks! You should always wear gloves when handling Euphorbia’s, as their milky latex sap is an irritant that can cause damage to skin and eyes! If the sap gets on your skin, expect an uncomfortable rash and blisters.

 

 

Gardening Jobs For April

Firstly, apologies that this post is a little late. I normally post about the month’s gardening jobs at the beginning of the month… half term pushed all of this back and so did Spring itself! It’s finally arrived and I am currently spending the majority of the day outside planting and weeding.

A Glorious Month!

The sun has arrived. It’s 29*c outside and I am quickly writing this so I can get back out there and carry on working the veg patches. Seeds are sprouting, plants are coming to life and the greenhouse is looking full. Everything feels AMAZING! When the clock went back a few weeks ago, suddenly longer hours in the day and warmer weather meant that summer really is just around the corner. It seems hard to believe that just a few weeks ago the country was hiding under a thick blanket of snow.

Pot on plants

Some plants can be potted on now. My tomatoes, peppers and some cut flowers have had to be moved into bigger pots, or into their final positions in the garden. You know it is time to pot on when the baby plant grows their first set of true leaves. These leaves look like the leaves that you would expect on a fully grown plant. You should also pot plants on if roots start to appear from the bottom of the pot. If you don’t do this, the plant may become root bound and this stunts the development of the plant.

May all of your weeds be wild flowers

Once the soil warms up and the sun is glorious, not only do your sown seeds start to appear, but so do the weeds too. Keep on top of weeding and you shall save yourself a lot more hard work over the next few weeks. It can be confusing to know what seedlings are flowers or weeds. If you are after a wildflower garden, don’t weed- only remove the very obvious weeds that you are sure you wouldn’t want to keep. A weed after all, is just a plant growing in the wrong place!

I keep my vegetable beds clear of weeds so that my veg plants do not have to compete with the weeds to grow. Weeds hinder the growth of vegetable plants as they steal water, sunlight and oxygen. Less weeds= bigger harvests.

Sow Sweet Peas

https://www.thompson-morgan.com/p/sweet-pea-heirloom-mixed/4259TM

Sweet peas are amazing plants to grow. They are beautiful and smell amazing. They are also super easy to grow and the kids will love them. These plants are not edible like our peas found in the freezer. They are just decorative and wonderful for bees and butterflies. Regular pickings of these flowers will give you a bountiful continuous supply of flowers for the house. The more you pick, the more they grow! Grow them up wigwams, garden netting or let them scramble across hedges.

You can sow sweet peas now straight into the earth where they are to grow.

Cover over potatoes

If you planted your first early potatoes last month, you may start to notice the first green shoots emerging from the earth now. As these shoots appear cover them over with more soil. This does a couple of things: protects the young plants from any surprise frosts and encourages more growth below the ground, producing more spuds!

Planting your potatoes in troughs means that you can easily ‘earth up’ your potatoes using the mounds of soil that are next to where you planted your spuds. As the potatoes grow the mound will grow too.

What To Plant This Month

  • Sweetcorn
  • Courgettes and Marrows- despite the rumors these plants are actually different! Sow seeds on edge to prevent rotting.
  • Tomatoes- It’s not too late!
  • Peas and sweet peas
  • Beans- runner, and climbing varieties. Last minute broad beans too!
  • Carrots
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Beetroot
  • Raddish
  • Turnips
  • Swede
  • Celeriac
  • Swiss Chard
  • Leeks
  • Aubergines
  • Melons
  • Pumpkin
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower

My Favourite April Plant – Trees in blossom!

OK, not a plant as such but hear me out. Apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, plum trees…. all of the fruit trees! When I see trees coming into blossom I know that soon fruit shall start to swell and harvesting season shall soon be upon us. It is a small promise of tasty free fruit and a welcome splash of colour to our gardens, orchards, countryside and even roadsides! Next time you are driving down the motorway keep your eyes peeled for all of the amazing fruit trees that have started to grow from fruit tossed from car windows many years ago. Wondeful!

This blossom is from a young cherry tree in my garden.