Blog, Garden, Monthly Gardening Chores

May Gardening Chores

image I love the month of May…. it is my favourite time of year… all the new growth appearing and the garden about to burst inot it’s full glory… everything has such a new fresh green glow to it… and the smells are heavenly … and birds and insects busiing about… all singing their songs of happiness…. I guess us gardeners sing our songs of happiness when bumbling about in the garden doing our chores with smiles on our faces… yes smiles… as their is nothing more therapeuttic than being connected and in touch with the soil… our earth our haven!!!!

So get going with this list and add your own to do’s….. it’s PLAYTIME!!!

here are my tips and to do’s:

● Keep young plants growing strongly by liquid feeding regularly.
● Divide overlarge waterlilies and replant in aquatic compost.
● Divide agapanthus.
● Keep tying in sweet peas and use plant rings to prevent them flopping as they grow rapidly.
● Remove suckers from shrubs and fruit trees by cutting them away below ground level. A thick mulch will discourage regrowth.
● Pinch out the growing tips of young plants to encourage bushiness.
● Pinch out lateral shoots on grapevines, two leaves beyond a good flower truss, to keep compact and limit foliage growth.
● Transplant autumn-sown annuals into their flowering positions.
● Take softwood cuttings of herbs.
● Deadhead azaleas and rhododendrons once they have finished flowering.
● Tidy up or cut back Clematis montana once it has finished flowering.
● In hot weather, shade greenhouses and cold frames to prevent plants scorching; water the paths in the greenhouse to cool the air and keep the atmosphere humid.
● Mulch your borders by the middle of the month
● Harden off young plants gradually by putting them outdoors during the day or leaving greenhouse doors and windows open.
● Clear containers for summer displays. Bulbs can be moved to a trench in the garden to allow them to die back naturally before storing.

Keep weeding weekly!!!

Insects and pests
● Discourage aphid infestation using a strong jet of water.
● Treat persistent problems with biological controls or organic insecticides.

Fruit

I’m not a fruit and veg person in the garden so learn from others as I go along so I know that May is a busy month for vegetable sowing. As most vegetable seeds can be sown outdoors, stagger the sowings so you have crops over a long period.

● Remove runners from strawberry plants if they are not needed, to keep parent plants growing strongly.

● Sow climbing French beans, courgettes, cucumbers, leeks, runner beans, tomatoes,  sweetcorn and carrots (so I learned from a dear friend) direct into soil. As soon as they have started to grow into larger plants dig up and spread them out. keep watering… and happy harvesting when ready!

● Sow pumpkins and squash seeds directly into prepared beds and cover with fleece until the risk of frost has passed

Pruning
● Trim alpine plants such as aubretia and alyssum after flowering to keep them compact.
● Prune standard and topiary bay.

Planting and sowing
● Once all risk of frost has passed, plant out and stake dahlias.
● As the soil warms, start to sow half-hardy annuals outdoors.
● Sow morning glories in fibre pots to avoid later root disturbance. Soak seeds before planting.
● Move citrus trees to a sunny sheltered spot outdoors for the summer.
● Harden off young plants gradually by putting them outdoors during the day or leaving greenhouse doors and windows open.
● Clear containers for summer displays. Bulbs can be moved to a trench in the garden to allow them to die back naturally before storing.

● Choose strong, healthy bedding plants to add to windowboxes, hanging baskets and containers.
● Prune lavender back hard, but never cut into old wood.

● Sow a little basil, coriander and parsley seed every fortnight to enjoy continual supplies.
● Prune shrubs that have finished flowering, including kerria, forsythia and spirea.
● Prune overgrown Clematis montana before it gets too out of control.
● Thin out hardy annuals as necessary.
● Keep pond weeds in check.
● Give large aquatic plants a feed by pushing slow-release fertiliser tablets into the soil.
● Keep an eye on roses and treat them as soon as you see a pest or disease. If you don’t it becomes real hard to get the roses pest free during the rest of the summer. Preferably you burn the dead and diseased leaves and do not throw them onto the compost heap.

 

Have fun and enjoy spending time in your beautiful garden. It’s your piece of heaven on earth… treat it with respect….. and it will give you lots of pleasurable moments back.

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