Getting the Garden Ready for Summer
May is a busy month for gardeners so it’s just as well it’s a lovely time of year to be outdoors. Lots of vibrant colour from spring is there to appreciate and the weather is usually inviting so you can soak in some sunshine while you work.
Preparing your garden for summer can be an enjoyable task. As well as the weather is a tad warmer, you can start to see the results of the work you’ve put in earlier in the year.
Your garden focus for May should be building on the work you’ve already put in to ensure everything continues to plan and you can reap the benefits as summer approaches.
Gardening Jobs For May
Flowers and Shrubs:
By now you should already be seeing colour from spring flowers and these will need a little TLC to prolong flowering and encourage next year’s bloom. You’ll also want to prep for summer by continuing to sow annuals and planting out your choice of summer bedding plants.
- Apply a good quality plant feed to tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs.
- Prune spring shrubs after flowering to keep them compact and allow for fresh growth.
- Prepare and plant up hanging baskets and patio containers, but store them in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to give them a chance to establish before moving them outside.
Fruit and Vegetables:
May is an exciting time of year for fruit and veg growers. As well as being the perfect time for sowing, planting and moving plants outdoors, plenty of fresh produce is already ripe for harvest.
- Earth up potatoes. Covering emerging leaves helps protect against damage from late frost, encourages a bigger crop, and stops tubers from turning green. Any remaining seed potatoes should be planted now.
- Sow sweetcorn in deep growing pots. Make sure they’re in a sunny spot out of strong winds and water well during dry weather.
- Pick rhubarb stems as they develop. If your rhubarb plants are in their first or second year, pick stalks sparingly but once the plant is established it’s fine to harvest up to a third of the stems. Keep rhubarb plants well watered with a quality feed.
- Remove strawberry runners and replant them in a pot. This allows plants to put their full energy into fruiting and will produce a greater yield of strawberries.
Despite the warmer weather coming in, the greenhouse remains an important gardening tool in May. A late frost can be fatal to some plants and flowers and low overnight temperatures can take their toll so using your greenhouse to keep tender plants and crops indoors for a little longer can be prudent.
- Make sure to water thirsty plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and courgettes regularly now the weather is getting warmer. Ensure the soil remains moist but not sodden.
- Open doors and vents on warm days to allow air to circulate. However, be sure to close them in the evening as nights can still be cold.
Now is the time when regular garden maintenance really comes into its own. Doing a little often makes it easier to keep on top of everything and ensures your outdoor space is an attractive place to unwind without any guilt creeping in over an untidy lawn.
- Mow lawns weekly. Rake away any dead leaves and other debris. Mowing weekly during the warmer months is the easiest way to keep your lawn and a consistent length and make sure it gets enough sun.
- Apply nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed to encourage lush growth.
- Clean out and scrub bird feeders. A thorough wash with a bottle brush and some very hot soapy water or vet disinfectant should be enough to get rid of any bacteria and fungal spores that might infect your feathery visitors.
- Check for any nests before clipping hedges. While this is the perfect time of year to give your hedge a light trim, it’s important to make sure no birds are nesting in it before you start.
- Regularly hoe off weeds. Choose a dry day for this job as you don’t want any dug-up weeds rerooting in moist soil. A still day is even better as you don’t risk the weeds being blown off to happily sprout in another area.
May marks the change of seasons from spring into summer and plants are growing in leaps and bounds. Making sure you keep up with all your May gardening jobs ensures your garden will be summer-ready for you to relax in and enjoy.