Tips for May Garden Care
When growing fruit and vegetables it’s vital to attract pollinating insects to increase the chances of a bumper harvest. The best way to do this is by growing some nectar-heavy flowering plants around the edibles. For example, sowing seeds of poached egg flowers directly under soft fruits will attract bees, hoverflies and other beneficial creatures. A good plant partnership is to grow sweet peas with climbing beans on a wigwam of canes. The sweet peas provide colour and interest to the structure, along with attracting pollinators.
Sow and plant out tender vegetables at the end of the month and begin harvesting the first delicious early vegetables planted out earlier in the year. To guarantee a regular succession of young vegetables throughout the summer months, sow seeds at weekly intervals so you don’t get a glut all at once. Although it’s a bit of a chore, hoe in between plants and vegetables as the weeds start to spurt in the warmer weather. Keeping on top of the weeds at this time of year will pay off in the long term.
This is the best month to sow or repair a new lawn from seed before the soil becomes too dry. Preparation is the key to a good lawn – it’s much easier to fix soil problems before you’ve got your new lawn in place. Clearing the area by removing any large stones, weeds or other debris will reward you with better grass growth. If you have clay soil, mix in sharp sand to aid drainage and help prevent the build-up of moss.
Feed and weed lawns during this month to encourage good growth and be sure to mow them regularly. Mowing is the best way to ensure you have a good lawn. Once a week is about right. Don’t apply weed killer either just before mowing or just after as the weeds need to be actively growing when they are treated. Treat weeds such as dandelions in your lawn with a selective weed killer. This is the best month to do this as the weeds are now actively growing. We use a product called ‘Verdone’, which is a liquid weed killer and the most economical way of treating large areas of lawn. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only treat the areas that are affected. It will not damage your grass if used according to the instructions.
Prune spring-flowering shrubs once they have finished flowering. Examples are things like Kerria Japonica, Forsythia, and Spirea. Also, if you have one, prune the glorious Clematis Montana after it has flowered. This beauty is a very fast-growing climber that can easily get out of hand unless pruned hard every year. It’s a good choice of plant if you have an ugly wall or fence that you want to cover quickly.
Lightly trim formal evergreen hedges, such as box, even if it hasn’t grown very much yet. Box doesn’t take kindly to being cut back hard, so the sooner it’s trimmed, the better it keeps its shape. Although it takes more time, this job is best done with hand shears, as opposed to a mechanical cutter, for a better finish. You can also take cuttings from any shoots about 8cm (3 inches) long. Trim each cutting just below a leaf joint, pot into cuttings compost, cover with clear polythene and leave to root in a shady corner of the garden. In a few weeks they should have rooted so you can pot them up to plant in another part of the garden.