Gardening Jobs in May
What gardening jobs are there to do in May? In my neck of the woods, April has been unusually cool and wet. I didn’t manage to get all my April jobs done and my ‘gardening jobs agenda’ for May is rather full. The wheel of the year is turning, and the garden does not wait.
If you managed to get all your potatoes planted in April, they are probably developing their first leaves by now. That is the time when you can start to earth them up for the first time. Cover the leaves with soil so only the tops are peeking out. Repeat this process regularly as the plants grow and develop.
If you are planting sweet corn you can sow them in deep pots indoors now. That way they will get a head-start. Transplant them to a sunny spot in June.
Once there is no more risk of late frosts you can begin to sow all kinds of beans outside (runner, broad, dwarf). They like a sunny spot, but not too hot. Protect them from the slugs and snails – young bean shoots seems to be their favourite snack. If slugs are a big problem it is best to start the plants in seed trays and transplant them only once they are strong enough to withstand a slug attack.
Warmth-loving plants: Tomatoes, Peppers, Courgettes, Aubergines
Your tomato, aubergine and pepper plants are probably growing fast now. There comes a point when they seem to be yelling ‘get me out of here and plant me into the garden!’ Resist the temptation unless there is no more danger of late frosts in your growing zone. But, to appease them, you can start to harden them off. Take them outside during the day, but bring them back in at night.
You can also still sow cucumbers and melons – but keep them warm and protected for now.
Salad Veg and Greens
Sow batches of salad vegetables like radishes and lettuce as well as Swiss chard and rocket to ensure a continuous supply.
You can still sow root crops such as carrots, beetroots, leeks and turnips.
Sow Leeks and brassicas for overwintering. It is best to start them off indoors to protect them from slug- and insect attacks.
It is also the perfect time to sow warmth-loving herbs such as basil and coriander. These also need to be protected from ravenous slugs.
May is lush! Everything sprouts and grows – including the weeds. But no need to curse them – if you can’t beat them – eat them! Check to see what wild edibles are among the garden weeds that could be turned into a ‘foraged’ dinner. Bishop’s Weed, Stinging Nettles, Ground Ivy, Wild Garlic and Dandelion are all excellent in the ‘wild food cuisines’.
If you have open spots in the borders you can sow annuals like Californian poppies, or nasturtiums for extra colour in the summer. The bees and insects love them, too.
There are always maintenance jobs that need to be taken care of:
- If you have a pond, check for pondweed and algae and clean it out if necessary.
- Build supports for climbing plants.
- Keep bird feeder and birdbaths clean.
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