May Top Tip

The milder weather of May with sunshine and showers provides ideal weather for growing and gardening. There are pots and hanging baskets to plant up and lawns to encourage into thick, lush growth for summer games and spread-eagled relaxation. Inspiration is not limited to your own plot as you can find creative ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show at the end of the month and, of course, gardening programmes on the television as interest in the outdoors builds into Summer.

FLOWER BORDERS

Stake tall growing perennials such as Delphinium, Lupin, Paeonie, Asters, Japanese Anemone and Foxtail Lily. This will ensure stems remain upright and will not fall foul of windy weather. An organic mulch applied around the root area of perennials will help to keep soils moist and plants thriving.

TOP TIP: In Scotland you can plant out Dahlia tubers at the end of the month in rich soil where their roots will be able to plumb the depths of moist organic-rich soil. Harden off plants in leaf until the last half of the month before planting out as they could be damaged by frost.

LAWN CARE

Mild, damp weather is normal for May and as a result lawns should be growing strongly. A weekly cut with your mower is almost always needed as this is the time of the year that grass growth hits its yearly peak. At each mowing you can gradually reduce the height of cut so that by the end of June you will be down to the summer minimum.

TOP TIP: Many people don’t realise that your lawn needs fed too, use a feed which kills moss and weeds as well such as Evergreen Complete 4 in 1

FRUIT & VEGETABLES

It’s time to sow seeds of tender crops that need some time to grow before planting out at the end of the month when all frosts are over. Runner Beans, French Beans and Sweet Corn fall into this category as they germinate easily and grow really fast. For best results sow single seeds in individual pots of Westland Seed and Cutting Compost and keep them on a light windowsill or in a cold frame so they are protected from late frosts

TOP TIP: Continue to sow short rows of Rocket, cut and grow again Lettuce and Radish so that you can pick salad for weeks to come.

Check List

  • Protect delicate plants from late frosts
  • Harden off plants in pots and containers, place them outside for a few hours a day
  • Start to mow the lawn weekly
  • Keep green house doors and vents open on warm days
  • At the end of the month plant our summer bedding
  • Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of spring flowering bulbs
  • Feed birds high protein feed while they care for their young
  • Re-pot root bound houseplants
  • Put Cabbage collars around brassica plants
  • Keep on top of fast growing weeds by hoeing or using a systemic weedkiller
  • Feed roses and flowering plants for bigger, better blooms
  • Ericaceous plants such as Azaleas and Pieris also need fed as they are flowering now, use a specialised ericaceous feed

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