Gardeners start to get very busy in May… There are lots of seeds to be sown this month – both for vegetables and flowering plants. For example: dill, beetroot, sweetcorn, cucumber, sprouting broccoli, carrots, cornflowers, sunflowers, scabious, zinnias – and many more. You might even have produced some crops already, and it could be time to harvest lettuces, spring onions and radishes.
This month you will need to start earthing up potatoes, if you have chosen to grow them. You might also need to thin out other crops, such as carrots. Remember to cover carrot seedlings once you’ve done this as the disruption can attract carrot fly. Also bear in mind that many of these thinned out seedlings are edible and tasty, and can be added to meals as a garnish.
Although the weather has been incredibly warm this year, we can still experience late frosts in May, so make sure to protect your young plants with cloches or fleece. For some crops, such as runner beans and courgettes, it might be safest to wait until the end of May or the start of June to plant out into the garden. You can start hardening off young plants towards the end of May though, in preparation for planting out. This can be done in a cold frame or by putting seedlings outside in a sheltered position during the day and bringing indoors at night. At the end of the month they could stay outside day and night for a few days to a week before planting out, provided it’s warm.
Don’t forget to support the fauna in your garden as well, this month. Birds are very busy feeding their young and will really appreciate a well stocked feeder, and by adhering to Plantlife’s No Mow May you will be supporting countless valuable pollinators and other insects. Limit mowing to once every four weeks (and don’t mow the grass too short) and give your lawn a ‘mohican’ cut, leaving some areas longer for tall flowering plants to thrive.