Gardening jobs for May

Flowers

Gradually harden off summer bedding plants by placing outside during the day but keep protected at night prior to planting out at the end of the month. Thin out direct sown hardy Annuals before the seedlings become too thick. Tie Sweet Peas to their supports as the growth extends. Start liquid feeding containerised plants. If not already done, plant up hanging baskets urgently.

Vegetables

Plant out glasshouse raised vegetable plants now after acclimatisation to outside conditions but leave the tenderest types such as Tomatoes, Marrows, Melons, Cucumbers, etc until the first week of June. Runner Beans, French Beans and Sweet corn can be sown from now on direct into the soil where they are to grow. Alternatively they can be raised in the glasshouse in small pots and planted out at a later date. Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Winter Cauliflowers and Leeks can be sown now for a harvest next winter or spring. Keep successional sowings going in for salad crops and herbs, such as Basil and Parsley, as well as Radishes, Turnips, Carrots, etc.

Pests and Diseases

Keep a careful watch out now for the build up of insect pests such as Aphids and also the red Lily beetle and spray at first signs with Provado Ultimate Bug Killer (suitable for ornamental plants only).

General

Keep the hoe going between plants during dry weather to keep the weed seedlings from establishing. Place straw or strawberry mats around Strawberry plants to keep fruit clean, discourage slugs and snails and help keep Botrytis down to a minimum. If the weather is dry, water your plants regularly to aid establishment. Remember to protect young seedlings and plants from the ravages of slugs and snails. Pigeons can also be a major problem by stripping the young fruits from Plums, etc, at this time.  All types of Cabbage plants (Brassicas) may well need protection from these birds also.