What's happening in the garden now...

The page below lists the various tasks that Ben and the team will be completing in the garden this month. Split into four main sections the lists will hopefully help you structure​ and plan your own gardening work schedule...  so lets get busy

 

May 2022:

May is the month where the garden leaps forward towards summer. Following a long dry cold spring, the garden seems to almost be on pause. But when temperatures eventually do rise, the plants will be ready and embrace the change with gusto!

 

With lots to do this month, it is easy to become overwhelmed, so remember …the grass is growing, the birds are singing and it’s an absolute delight to be in the garden!

General:

Green House:

Production:

Borders:

Continue to hoe off annual weed seedlings to prevent them setting seed and creating more work later in the season.

 

Re-pot or top dress any permanent planting in pots and containers, using fresh compost. Alternatively apply granular or liquid feed to promote future growth.

 

Keep a watchful eye out for Box Blight and caterpillar damage, treating accordingly.

 

Harden off and plant out tender crops and ornamental plants, once the risk of a late frost has passed.

 

Prune early spring flowering shrubs after flowering, to promote healthy and vigorous growth whilst maintaining a pleasing habit.

 

Once topiary and hedges have come into growth, begin trimming to smarten the appearance of the garden. 

 

Plant any new additions to the garden to take advantage of the optimum growing conditions, being sure to firm surrounding soil and water in well.

 

Now is the time to watch out for excessive slug and snail damage on the fresh young growth of many herbaceous perennials and annuals.

 

Check any taps, hoses and irrigation systems to make sure they are in good working order before the risk of any significant hot and dry weather.

 

Continue to propagate annuals and tender perennials for later additions to borders and cut flower beds.

 

Check over your garden machines (e.g. strimmers, hedge trimmers etc) and service as required to ensure they are in good working order for the season ahead.

 

Mow and edge lawns, as well as weed paths to give a tidy appearance to the garden. 

 

Complete any spring lawn maintenance you may wish to do by over seeding bare patches, laying turf or treating with a weed, feed or moss-kill product.

During hot days be sure to ventilate and damp down to reduce internal temperatures.

 

Water seedlings and young plants often to avoid causing stress and checking growth.

 

Organise and apply shading as required, in response to   temperatures and light intensity increasing.

 

Pot on and continue to grow Aubergines, Cucumbers, Melons, Peppers, Tomatoes and any other glass house crops, being sure to feed when the first fruits set. Many of these can be moved and grown outside for the summer months.

 

Lightly trim the tips of excessive growth on newly propagated and potted plants, encouraging a bushy habit whilst improving light and air circulation.

 

Continue to start off French beans in modules to get ahead of plants grown outside, ensuring a longer harvest season.

 

Prick out seedlings into modules to encourage future growth. This is best completed first thing in the morning when plants are fully turgid. 

 

Continue to sow various salad crops, brassicas, cucurbits, tender annuals and perennials to grow on in modules and plant out during summer.

 

Order and apply any biological control or cultural equipment for glass house pests.

 

Harvest new potatoes (first earlies) and strawberries that have been forced into early growth and cropping while being grown in the greenhouse. 

 

Continue to take soft tip cuttings from stock plants such as Dahlia, Delphinium, Pelargonium and Salvia.

 

Harden off any tender plants including dahlias, pelargoniums and tender annuals to plant out in the garden after the last frosts.

 

Check over house plants and succulents for dead and diseased foliage, along with pests. Feed and treat accordingly.

Build growing structures for beans, peas, climbing gourds and pumpkins, as well as protection structures for carrots and brassicas.

 

Grow on and harvest any salad crops under protection tunnels or in the green house.

 

Harden off and plant out young vegetable plants and cut flowers that have been started off and grown on under glass. 

 

Finish enriching vegetable beds that will soon be used for growing beans, potatoes and any other crops that appreciate a rich nutritious soil. This can be achieved by applying any organic mulch or lightly incorporating rotten manure, compost or soil improver.

 

Keep fleece and other frost protection methods to hand as the weather begins to warm, just in case there is the threat of a late frost.

 

Continue to direct sow hardy annuals such as Centaurea, Cerinthe, Consolida, Nigella and Orlaya, for a long and extended cutting season. Be sure to thin out seedlings as they germinate to ensure strong growth and large plants.

 

Apply a straw mulch to strawberries and net to prevent pest damage to the young fruits as they begin to form.

 

Stake cutting beds to provide support for flowers such as Asters, Delphiniums and Peonies, which are prone to flopping or snapping in bad weather.

 

Continue to harvest Rhubarb, but ‘forcers’ should now be removed to allow extra light to the plant.

 

Feed and mulch fruit trees and bushes to ensure good growing conditions and crops for future years, making sure the mulch does not come into direct contact with the stem or trunk.

 

Protect young growth of peach and nectarine from rain to avoid leaf curl disease.

 

Earth up potatoes that are showing signs of growth, this should also help protect the tops from being damaged by any late frosts.

 

Deadhead Anemone, Narcissus, Tulips and Ranunculus to promote larger bulbs and corms, improving the growth and size of next year’s flowers.

 

Direct sow Beetroot, Broad Beans, Carrots, Parsnips, Peas and Radish, along with Lettuce and Spring onion if growing conditions are warm enough.

 

Lift and dispose of old tulips that will not be used for cutting next year.

Complete spring mulching of borders, reducing the need for weeding and watering, whilst improving soil conditions for future years.

 

Remove Forget-me-not plants as they go over, making space in the borders for the addition of summer annuals.

 

Sow and grow on any annual plants that you may want to add to the borders later in the year.

 

Check existing supports and construct new ones for climbers, both perennial and annual, adding instant height to borders.

 

Plant any new additions to the borders, filling in gaps as well as increasing variety and interest.

 

Weed over and tidy the surface of any un-mulched borders to prevent early establishment of weed seedlings, whilst creating a smart setting for spring flower displays.

 

‘Chelsea Chop’ Nepeta, Pholx, Hylotelephium and any other appropriate perennials, to control vigour reducing the need for staking and increase the duration of flowering.

 

Look to complete planting of any additional trees and shrubs to mixed borders, avoiding unnecessary disturbance to surrounding plants as they come into growth.

 

Assess the borders and list any additional spring flowering bulbs, such as Alliums, Narcissus or Tulips, which you may wish to add to the border this autumn.

 

Complete staking of any perennials that may need support later in the year, this can include woven hazel or birch, canes, beanpoles, netting, metal hoops and twine.

 

Prune early spring flowering shrubs to promote a good shape and encourage flowering for next spring.

For day-to-day and weekly updates of what is happening in the garden follow Ben on Instagram or Twitter using the links below. Alternatively, check out his Blog.