May….it’s what we’ve all been waiting for – at least if you’re a gardener! The soil is warming up (well it’s supposed to be!), the days are growing longer and things are growing apace everywhere you look. So what jobs do you do first when there’s so much to do?
Regularly weeding and hoeing now will save alot of time and frustration later in the season. Use a well sharpened hoe to remove unwanted weed seedlings as they emerge. Hand weed more stubborn weeds like dandelion, dock and nettles, removing the root fully.
If you’ve been diligently bringing on plants in cold frames and greenhouses then watch out for late frosts. It’s tempting to plant things out and hope for the best, but hard frosts can still be a factor until the middle of May. Sudden blustery showers and storms can also wreak havoc in the garden later, so now is the time to stake perennials before they put on growth to give them good support as they grow.
If you’ve had a fair few showers then investigate water collection butts to collect water before the drier weather sets in for the summer.
Earth up potatoes as they put on growth to promote a larger crop.
Harvest rhubarb and thin-out carrots, lettuce and spinach that have been direct sown.
Use twigs to support your peas and construct cane pyramids to support runner beans.
Begin mowing the lawn weekly now, to keep the growth even, strong and lush.
Divide hostas as they come into growth and also divide clumps of daffodils and spring bulbs as they fade.
Cut back early flowering plants like aubretia as the flowers go over.
If you don’t want forget-me-nots to spread, then lift and remove the plants now before they set seed.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses – laying the stems horizontally will produce more blooms.
Feed and water container plants regularly.
Begin to look out for pests and diseases, removing rosemary (above, right) and lily beetles as they appear and looking out for black spot on roses.
Last but not least…
If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse enjoy the lighter days spent potting on plants in its warm, earthy atmosphere; keep vents and doors open in warmer weather to keep it ventilated and damp it down on hot days to increase humidity. Enjoy each day in May – it will no doubt fly by…