It’s summer (according to the calendar)! Time to get the lawn mower serviced and ready for weekly action. It’s also time to check the garden furniture for wear and tear and maybe even dust off the barbecue.
Jobs in the garden for May
Grafted Tomato plants are now ready for planting – grafted Tomatoes are more vigorous and carry more fruit than traditional varieties and are so easy to grow in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
May is the month when Strawberries start to flower and set fruit. It’s also an ideal time to plant young Strawberry plants into Strawberry pots or window boxes for tasty fruit in mid summer. Remember, Strawberries are fun to grow and will fruit this summer if planted now.
Potato blight can be a problem on young early Potato and Tomato plants especially in wet humid weather. Protect your plants with a dressing of Proxanil treatment applied to the young foliage every two weeks.
Sow all year round Lettuce seed out of doors in shallow drills now. Lettuce seed sown now will reward you with lots of salad Lettuce in July and August.
Greyhound Cabbage, White Lisbon Lettuce and early Nantes Carrots can also be sown from seed this month. Remember, there is a wide choice of vegetable and herb plants available for planting.
Plant a selection of Roses in well prepared garden soil for strong colour this summer. The top red flowering Rose has to be Trumpeter. It produces masses of vivid red blooms in large bunches from June to early winter. Trumpeter has excellent disease resistance, produces lovely bronze foliage and flowers all summer long. Planted in groups of fives or sevens it will create a strong show of colour in your garden this summer.
Summer flowering climbers including Clematis, Honeysuckles, climbing Roses, Wisteria, flowering Hydrangea and Sweet Peas can all be planted this month. All climbers enjoy well prepared garden soil – I recommend you add compost to the planting hole with two handfuls of organic chicken manure before planting.
Trees, shrubs and hedging plants put on strong growth during May so an application of tree and shrub fertiliser applied now will help to promote strong growth and flowers in many garden plants. Simply sprinkle a handful of the granulated fertiliser out from the base of the plants. The tree and shrub granules will be absorbed quickly and add a much needed boost to your garden plants.
Check fruiting Gooseberries, Blackcurrants and Redcurrants for greenfly attack. Greenfly can cause severe damage to many fruiting plants in May so now is the ideal time to apply a dressing of a product such as Bug Clear. This will kill unwanted garden pests without damaging the fruit or plants and is ideal for all fruiting plants. Check for slug and snail damage on soft garden plants. I use Slug Clear liquid to protect my garden plants, its easy to apply, invisible to pets and garden birds once applied and very effective at controlling both slug and snail infestation.
After all the flowers have set with fruit on Apple trees it is good to feed them with a handful of organic Seamungus manure pellets and spray the trees with a dressing of Bug Clear to help protect the young apples from greenfly or caterpillar attack.