I was born in May so obviously it will be my favourite month however bias aside it really is a beautiful month. Spring has sprung, days are longer, you no longer have to batten down the hatches, put the heat up to fall and wrap yourself in a blanket. You can spend evenings having a BBQ with friends and family, a refreshing drink with your loved one. One of my favourite ways to spend a summer evening is led on a lounger in the garden with a light blanket reading one of my favourite books with just sounds of nature surrounding me.
May is also a time when the jobs in the garden increase and you really need to set yourself a routine to keep up with the weeds, new seedlings, watering, transplanting etc. So I have listed a few jobs below that I will be doing over this coming month.
- Scare the birds off your beloved new seedlings. I love having birds in my garden, I love listening to bird calls whilst I am pottering around and one of my favourite moments yesterday at the plot was being there to see two parakeets rest on my bamboo canes, however there are places I do not want the birds. Birds are a pest to newly sown seedbeds. They scratch around and make off with your swollen freshly sown pea seeds for example. My Grandad would sow three pea seeds, two to grow and one for the birds, this is a fantastic idea and I have to admit I follow exactly the same pattern however birds have not read this book and I have lost many pea shoots to a friendly bird. You don’t need to go and buy anything just collect up a load of old CD’s/DVD’s, tie them together and hang them from bamboo canes over your vulnerable crops. These blow about in the wind and the flashes of light created will frighten the birds away.
- Give fruit some space Keep and eye on your fruit trees, your younger trees may struggle to carry all that has started to crop so however exciting it maybe to see a bumper crop on your tree, do not be tempted to leave the tree to ‘deal with it’. By thinning out the fruits along the branch to about 15cm apart you will allow the ones left to reach a good size and therefore a much better crop.
- Remove raspberry suckers Hopefully when you bought your raspberry canes you didn’t go overboard because raspberries produce lots of suckers every year providing you with more fruit canes to plant elsewhere or if you haven’t the space to pass on to friends or family. Look out for suckers close to original canes and dig them them to transplant or cut them down to soil level.
- Earth up your potatoes Earthing up is simply building up the soil around the stem of each plant which encourages these buried sections to develop roots and tubers therefore ensuring an increased crop at harvest time. It also prevents light getting to the developing tubers and turning them green. Do not let your potatoes go completely dry otherwise your crop will be significantly effected.
Just 10 minutes?
Spare yourself 10 minutes at the end of a plot visit to tick off the following checklist throughout the month.
- Start to peg down strawberry runners or pinch off if unwanted.
- Keep up regularly weeding, especially around your new seedlings, weeds will compete and eventually strangle your beloved early shoots.
- Transplant leeks to their growing position with the least amount of root disturbance
- Sow your sweetcorn in individual pots ready to plant out in June.
- Ensure your peas have proper support
- Pick your rhubarb to encourage more growth
- Sow your leafy salads 2 weekly for continuous crop throughout the summer.