May on the allotment or in the vegetable garden can be very frustrating, the weather can be ‘high summer one day and then ‘mid winter’ the next. Gardeners have to be on their guard to cover tender crops that will be vulnerable to any late frosts or persistent cold winds.
Start as you mean to go on and keep on top of any weed growth. Hoeing the young weed seedlings off, before they have any time to establish is not only a lot easier than when they have got their roots deep down, but it is also beneficial to the crops.
Hoeing produces a fine tilth in the top inch or so of the soil, allowing air in and reducing evaperation from the soil surface.
The annual war on garden pests starts about now, Aphids, Slugs and Snails will all be out in force. There is no sure fire way of stopping all pest damage, but spotting the problem early and stopping the pests getting to plague proportions is vital.
Try to keep the day and night time temperature fluctuations to a minimum, so ventilate at any opportunity.
As the plants become large enough plant greenhouse crops such as Cucumbers, Melons, Aubergines, Peppers and Tomatoes in their final growing position.
Crops that have been raised under glass and are waiting to be planted outdoors can be moved to the cold frame to give some extra space that is always in short supply this month.
Keep on top of watering, and do it in the mornings if possible, so the plants are not sat in saturated compost during the colder night time.
Marrows, Pumpkins, Courgettes, Squashes and sweetcorn for planting out later this month when the risk of frost has gone.
Any seeds that were sown earlier in the year, will need thinning out as the germinate, do this while they are still quite small to lessen the disturbance to the surrounding plants.
Harden off young plants grown under glass last month before planting out. Remember that cold winds can do just as much damage to small tender crops as any frost might do.
Frames and cloches will need to be ventilated or removed during the day, as the temperature can get extremely high under cover on sunny days.
Keep making successional sowing of Lettuce, Radish, Rocket and salad leaves to have a continual supply.
- French and Runner beans at the end of the month, or slightly earlier in pots under glass.
- Calabrese and Broccoli
- Spring Onions
Any newly planted fruit will benefit from having this years blossom removed to help them establish a good root system before the demanding task of producing a crop.
Thin out a third of Gooseberries to produce larger sweeter fruits. the small thinnings can be used for cooking.
Keep Strawberry fruits clean by tucking straw under the plants. Remove unwanted runners so the plant can put full effort into producing fruit. Pin down a few runners to produce plants for next year.