The Vegetable Growing Year: Jobs to do in May

May is usually the busiest month of the year for a gardener. As the soil warms up, your seedlings and plants should be growing well by now. But beware of late frosts that can catch you off guard. Protect young or vulnerable plants with fleece if a frost is forecast.

Combat Weeds

It’s a never ending battle with weeds. With the warmer weather, both your plants and weeds thrive. Stay ahead by keeping your hoe in motion, eliminating pesky weeds before they take over.

Tomato Care

After planting, tomatoes shoot up rapidly. Secure the main stems to canes to prevent them from toppling over. For cordon varieties, prune any side shoots between the main stem and leaf branches.

May Planting Guide

Consider these plantings for May:

  • Start courgettes, squash, marrows, pumpkins, and runner beans under cover for transplanting later in the month or after your last frosts. Sow them in small pots or modules and water lightly preventing damping off.
  • Continue sowing salad staples like lettuce, radish, spring onions, and beetroot for a steady supply over the summer months.
  • Sow sweetcorn in small pots indoors or a greenhouse. If you live in a warmer part of the country, you can sow direct providing you give them protection.
  • Plant tomatoes, peppers, and chillies in their final spots. If you are planting them outdoors, hold out until the last frosts or give them some protection using a fleece.

May Harvest Delights

Weather permitting, here’s some things you could be eating from the garden this month.

  • Early salad crops should be ripe for picking.
  • Spring cabbage, sprouting broccoli, and kale are ready for harvest.
  • Harvest asparagus spears when they reach 6 inches tall. You can harvest over a period of 6-7 weeks but it’s important to leave at least 6 spears per plant to grow on throughout the summer months.

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