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Spring moves on into May, so let’s hope for a more settled, warmer month following April’s sun, rain, and even snow! Generally, it was a cold yet relatively dry month. So we have some catching up to do in the various areas of the garden. Let’s take a look!
There is still time to sow new lawns or over-sow worn areas of existing ones, before the arrival of summer brings unsuitable higher temperatures to inhibit seed germination.
You can think about applying a season-long fertilizer or a ‘weed & feed’ dual-purpose type.
Mow regularly once a week now with the blades adjusted to a summer setting.
There’s still time for a late frost, so ‘harden-off’ your tender plants carefully. You can however plant hardier types like antirrhinum and pansy in late May.
There is still time to sow direct so-called hardy annuals like cornflowers, calendulas, and sunflowers. Earlier sowings should be thinned out to the spacings advised on the seed packs.
Biennial and Perennial flowers are growing strongly now and may need some support. Its time too, to sow biennials like Sweet Williams and wallflowers for flowering next spring.
The leaves of spring-flowering bulbs should be left to build up nutrients in the bulb, though the faded flower stems may be removed. Now’s the time to give a liquid feed to build up the bulb clumps.
Sow salads like lettuce every couple of weeks for continual cropping through the summer. Try beetroot ‘Boltardy’ for a reliable round variety or ‘Alto’ if you want a long-rooted slicing type.
It’s time to sow Cucumbers inside for outside growing. ‘Marketmore’ is a good performer outdoors and the taste is so much better than supermarket varieties. Sweetcorn too should be sown at this time.
Have you sown your own tomatoes? If not, get to your local garden centre whilst there is still plenty of choice.
You may have sown some runner beans last month, but if not its time to get busy. Sow them direct outside or in pots to plant out later.
Now’s the time to prepare a seed bed in a corner of the veg garden and get your autumn/winter brassicas sown.
‘Earth up’ your early potatoes to encourage heavier crops and protect the young foliage from late frosts.
It’s getting busy in the fruit garden as crops begin to mature. ‘Straw down’ your strawberry patch to suppress weeds and protect ripening fruit from fungal diseases.
It’s the ideal time to remove excessive growth of pondweed and perhaps add a couple of new water plants. Feed fish little and often.
There is some pruning to be done when your early spring flowering shrubs have finished blooming. Cut out old and diseased wood and maintain the shape of the bush. Early flowering clematis too can be pruned of damaged or overcrowded shoots.
Tie in rambling and climbing roses. Shoots running horizontally will produce more flowers.
Apply a mulch of garden compost around the stems of shrubs to retain moisture and provide nutrition.
That’s it for this month. Next month we will be back with the essential tasks and tips to keep you busy in the garden for June.