May Gardening Tips
You may think I am obsessed by the weather, and you are probably correct. But after a cold and wet March, with snow for added frisson, and then an April in which the weather was indecisive to say the least, veering from very warm to wet and windy, I have high hopes for a delightful May and plenty of plans for planting, pruning and generally getting out in the garden at every opportunity.
After all, by about 10 May we should be frost free in our area until the autumn. What a sense of liberation that brings! At last tender plants and vegetables can be left outside. So it is time to plant up summer containers, pots and hanging baskets. Use compost containing water storing granules and slow release fertiliser or add water storing gel and plant food. Harden off (acclimatising plants to the outdoors) summer bedding that has been grown under glass. Start by placing them out during the day time only. They can be left out all the time once the danger of frost is over. Plant tender vegetables such as Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Aubergines, Peppers and Melons in grow bags. Sow Marrows and Courgettes, Runner Beans and Sweet Corn.
With everything growing like mad it is a good idea to support taller perennials to prevent them bowing and snapping. Of course weeds will also start to appear, so keep an eye out and weed borders as required. We invested in a long handled hoe this year at home, which is saving our maturing backs no end. The lawn will need mowing and there is plenty of time to give it a feed and weed treatment to really bring out its best over the summer months.
Early flowering shrubs, such as Kerria japonica and Forsythia and Ribes, that have finished flowering can be pruned now and given a tidy up. I always enjoy pruning. We have a fig and some bays in pots which are looking a little sad after the winter and denuded of nutrients. They could definitely do with a good feed and a mulch. If I find a moment I might even take some cuttings of Sage Thyme and Rosemary to grown and pot on for the plant stall our village summer fair.
I hope you enjoy May as much as I intend to!