Award winning Garden writer David Hurrion’s top tips for May.
- Fuchsia and other tender bedding plants will be growing strongly now and it is a good idea to pinch out the tip of the main stems to encourage more side shoots and flower buds to form.
- It should be warm enough in most parts of the country to plant out your summer bedding in pots and borders. If it looks like temperatures will dip below 5oc by night, then have a piece of garden fleece ready to lie over the top of the plants to give them a little protection from the cool conditions.
- Summer salad – such as lettuce, oriental leaves, radish, spring onions and beetroot can all be sown outdoors in large pots, with multi-purpose compost or direct into garden soil. Just sow a few seeds now and then and a few more every couple of weeks to make sure you get a steady stream of produce to use.
- Cut back your spring flowered shrubs as soon as they finish flowering. Remove about a third of the oldest branches to stop the bushes getting too big. Leave strong new stems to grow up for next year’s flowers.
- Sweetcorn, courgettes and runner beans can all be planted outside now. They all like a sunny, sheltered position to do their best with soil that has been improved with lots of well-rotted garden compost.
- Slugs and snails will be on the rampage now that the days and nights are warmer, so get out in the evening with a torch and check vulnerable plants like hostas for silvery slime trails and signs of nibbling. Track the culprits down and dispatch of them in the best way you see fit.
- Remember to keep feeding the birds all through the year, especially as they need to stock up on energy to fuel them as they search out grubs and worms to feed their young. In return, they’ll help keep down the pest numbers in your garden.
- Garden ponds can quickly turn green at this time of year, so check them for signs of blanket weed, twirling it onto a bamboo cane to remove any as soon as you see it. If you have fish, don’t give them more food than they can eat in a maximum of five minutes as waste food will sink and turn the water cloudy as it rots down.
- Get out the barbecue and any stored garden chairs and tables to give them a good clean ready for the summer. Hopefully you’ll have chance to use them in May with two bank holiday weekends on the calendar!
See the May issue of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine filled with inspiring ideas for your garden as well as reminders of other jobs to do this month.