12 jobs to do in the garden during May
May is the month when everything starts happening in the garden. The garden is bursting with life and everything seems to grow faster and greener. If you have been taking it a bit easy in the garden up until now, you are going to have to start getting your skates on if you are to keep up with your garden as it forges its way into summer. Here are just a few of the jobs you should be getting on with during this most fertile month of May.
In the garden
It is not only your garden plants that are putting on vigorous growth during May, perennial weeds such as couch grass and bind weed are also growing at a rate of knots, so make sure you dig them out from borders as soon as you spot them. Clear out any containers where you have had spring displays ready for planting summer bedding plants. Bulbs can be moved to a trench or a different pot and allowed to die back naturally. Take softwood cuttings from your favourite herbs to ensure you have a plentiful supply of young plants throughout the summer. Now is also the time to take cuttings from hydrangea, fuchsias and penstemons, using the soft shoot tips.
In the greenhouse
May is the time to plant young tomatoes in grow bags if you are growing them in the greenhouse. Position strong cane supports before you plant and water well. French beans can also be sown into individual pots ready for planting out next month. Make sure you ventilate the greenhouse on warm sunny days by opening the windows and door, but close again at night as it can still be chilly. Sow seeds of herbs, such as parsley, chives, coriander, garlic, basil, dill, fennel, mint and thyme.
In the vegetable garden
Earth up the soil around emerging potato shoots to encourage a higher yield. The seeds of radish, spring onions, coriander, parsley and chives and also be sown outside this month. Tie in new shoots of blackberries and cane fruits to support wires. Sow the seeds of sweetcorn in deep pots to then be planted out during June.
If you haven't done so already, now is the time to plant up hanging baskets with summer bedding plants. Make sure you use a variety of both trailing and upright plants to create a stunning display. Keep them in a cold greenhouse or in a sheltered spot to establish a little before hanging them out in their final position. Prune spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, ribes, chaenomeles, pyracantha and kerria once they have finished flowering. Make sure you regularly water any newly planted shrubs, trees or roses. Spread a good layer of mulch around trees and shrubs and also on borders to help conserve water during the drier months of summer. Fill any containers you haven't yet planted with summer bedding plants such as geranium, petunia, begonia, fushia and lobelia. Mix the compost with a slow release fertiliser before planting to ensure a longer flowering period.