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!
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:
- Runner Beans
- Onion sets
- Butternut Squash
My Favourite May Plant – Euphorbia
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.