It’s May, Window sills greenhouse and polytunnels are all jam-packed with seedlings that seem to be popping up all over the place. Although the temperatures have climbed a little you should resist putting out too many crops. There are still frosts appearing, and there is nothing worse than getting caught out with a late frost and losing your young tender plants.
With the start of the very first horticulture shows starting to appear it marks the start of some exciting times. Most gardeners are probably putting as much time into their gardens as they do their full-time jobs at the moment. But, it will all be worth it over the next few months.
Winter still has its grasp upon the garden, but before we know it the last frost date will come and go. Then all hell is going to break loose and we will be in a freefall into summer. This is what we have all been waiting for, so enjoy it.
15 Jobs you can do in May
- Set up beer traps
- Consider companion planting
- Check for sawfly on Gooseberries
- Feed cornflowers
- Support tall perennials
- Deadhead Camellias
- Plant out pot grown shrubs
- Mulch Mulch Mulch
- Divide Primulas
- Sow beans in root trainers or pots
- Plant a herb bed
- Clear the pond of debris and rotting matter
- Install automatic openers on greenhouses
- Put up shade netting in your greenhouse
- Release nematodes for pests such as slugs
Set up beer traps
May is the time when slugs really start to take hold. They decimate your young seedlings so taking control of the situation can mean the difference between a great season or a rubbish season. Putting out beer traps is a perfect way as these attract the slugs to the cheap larger you put in them. You can simply dispose of them every few days.
I see it many times on social media platforms. People screaming to help them with slugs. I have produced two videos to help anyone who suffers from this pest. So check them out below. NEVER worry about slugs again.
Consider companion planting
There are so many benefits to companion planting. It saves on space, controls pests, can help with pollination and provides habitat for lots of insects and wildlife. But one of the main reasons is that it can increase productivity and yields of your plants.
Check for sawfly on Gooseberries
Sawflies can be a real nuisance for gooseberries along with other plants. The female sawfly has a saw-like appendage on the tip of the body and they use this to create a hole in the soft tissue of a leaf. There she will lay an egg. As this hatches it will destroy the leaves from the inside out.
Pruning your gooseberries to a goblet shape will really help to control sawfly as they do not like the added ventilation this would provide to the plant. Also, the light helps to kill off the eggs. This is the single biggest way to control this pest.
Support tall perennials
As perennials start to grow, it is important to support them, If we have any sort of wind they will be flattened which really makes a mess of the plant. It can also damage the root system due to wind rock. Ideally, the support structures for these plants should be placed now. This will allow the perennials to grow around the support. This will help protect against heavy winds and the weight of rain.
This month you should start to deadhead your camellias, Simply removing the dead flower heads will help to keep the plant producing blooms, This is not the same as pruning, we are not trying to shape the plant. Just remove flower heads to prevent them from going to seed and wasting the plant’s energy.
Plant out pot grown shrubs
Now is the last time in which to plant out pot grown trees and shrubs safely. When doing this avoid areas that get waterlogged. Dig a square hole much bigger than the rootball. Square hole? I hear you cry. That’s right. A square hole.
Square holes are better for one main reason. When you plant in a square hole the roots hit a corner and push out into new soil. When you plant trees into a round hole, the roots continue to grow around in circles, as they mature they strangle each other.
Mulch Mulch Mulch
If you want an easy life in the garden, one of the best things you can spend your time on is mulching. This has a huge amount of benefits.
- It cuts down on weeds
- Keeps root zones cool
- Retains moisture
- Keeps warmth in the soil.
Putting a good 4-6 inches of mulch around your garden is a real time saver. Don’t forget to do this task as it will free you up to complete other duties later in the year instead of weeding.
Sow beans in root trainers or pots
Large climbing plants such as beans, peas and corn benefit from being planted into root trainers. This helps the roots to go downwards rather than in a circle like most pots. This allows the plant to have a sturdier root system which will support the plant as it grows taller.
Here are more Jobs to do in May
- Plant Tomatoes Into large containers
- Bring in pots of strawberries for early harvest
- Check for signs of pest and disease
- Pot up Begonias
- Harden off plants waiting to go out
- Thin out peach crops
- Earth up ground grown potatoes
- Put on cane protectors
- Feed house plants weekly
- Put up bug hotels and bee boxes
- Build a pond
- Feed your Honey bees
- Encourage natural predators to the garden
- Check your wormery for moisture
- Turn your compost
What to sow now
- Late Crop Potatoes
- Runner Beans
- Dwarf French beans
What to harvest now
- Potted Fruit Trees
- Broad Beans / Fava
So the last frost date is on the way. There is so much to be getting on with. We have all been waiting for this month. Now you can really start to see your hard work paying off. You may even be harvesting some of the early crops.
If you have enjoyed this article, check out some of my other articles and come back each month for the jobs for that month. If you got value please consider subscribing to my blog to be notified each time I release new content like this. You can do that easily and free by completing the blog signup form in the right-hand sidebar