It’s finally May, the gardener’s month of active sun. Two hours more light a day by Friday 31st. It is the start of my favourite time, since I was a child, with the promise of endless summer. Like the start of the long school holidays.
It is also my duty to warn you, though, that there may still be a (slight) possibility of frost. Be mindful with tender seedlings and harden them off before planting outside. Take care not to overcrowd them (truthfully, this is my greatest garden weakness – just ask Howard, who will be shaking his head).
It’s time soon to replant pumpkins and to sow courgettes and other summer squash outside. Remember to give them plenty of water: mornings and evenings are best. I start by using a can with a rose and later switch to a hose with a fine spray.
You can still sow sweet peas for sheer beauty and fragrance, and calendula for companion planting. This is also the month I will sow tagetes.
Continue planting out peas – early varieties may be ready to eat. Some salads, too, as you thin them through. Sweetcorn and beans can likely be sown outside later this month, if you live in the south. Further north it might be more prudent to wait. Watch the weather forecast. Remember to continue with earthing potatoes to protect them from going green.
You can start sowing amaranth as the soil temperature rises – it needs to be 10C. If you have sown them before, crimson seedlings popping up is a good way to tell. It is your last chance to sow spinach until summer. It is likely to bolt in high heat and light.
Mainly, though, May is the month the browner ground is taking colour (perhaps sow a red salad row among the green). As well as the growing and weeding, enjoy. It’s a special time.
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