Wisteria flowers

Garden Jobs in May

Spring is well underway now, which means there are plenty of gardening tasks to be getting on with. Spring bulbs are making way for summer flowers, with the promise of more colour to come.

Get stuck into these gardening jobs this spring in order to get your garden neat and tidy for the growing season ahead.

Flowers

  • Deadhead tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs and feed with a liquid fertiliser to encourage a good display next spring;
  • Remove faded spring bedding such as wallflowers and forget-me-nots and add to the compost bin;
  • Do the ‘Chelsea chop’ (which is towards the end of May). Take the secateurs to later-flowering herbaceous perennials such as Sedum’s. Prune about a third of the stems by a third, another third by two thirds. This delays flowering in those stems, and increases the overall flowering season;
  • Prune spring shrubs, such as forsythia and Ribes, after flowering to keep them compact;
  • Tie in the new shoots of climbing plants such as clematis and honeysuckle to their supports;
  • Plant up hanging baskets, but keep them in a greenhouse for a few weeks to in order to establish, before putting them outside;
  • Sow some fast-growing annuals to fill in gaps that may appear later in the season;
  • Check lilies and fritillaries for lily beetles and their larvae, as they can quickly strip plants of all foliage;
  • Pinch out the shoot tips of bedding plants and young annuals to encourage bushier growth.

Fruit and Veg

  • Protect crops from carrot fly by covering with horticultural fleece;
  • Earth up potatoes, covering the shoots with soil as they appear;
  • Reduce snail populations by going on regular evening hunts, especially during damp weather or use the biological alternative – Nemaslug;
  • Start sowing dwarf and climbing French beans as well as runner beans directly outdoors in warm weather;
  • Thin out seedlings from earlier sowings to ensure you get healthy, strong-growing plants;
  • Keep plenty of fleece handy to protect young seedlings if late frosts are forecast.

Greenhouse

  • Water crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes regularly as the weather starts to warm up;
  • Tie the stems of indoor tomatoes to canes as they grow;
  • Closely inspect plants for pests and diseases on shoot tips and the underside of leaves. Early prevention is easier than curing an infestation;
  • Open doors and vents on warm days and remember to close them in the evening as nights can still be cold;
  • Keep pricking out seedlings as soon as they get their first true leaves, to avoid overcrowding and fungal diseases;
  • Start to harden off tender plants and bedding, ready for planting outside after the last frost.

Garden maintenance

  • As the weather gets warmer, pond weed can quickly get out of control if left, so now is the time to scoop it out;
  • Apply nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed to encourage leafy growth.

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