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Get your Garden Ready for Garden Day: What to do in the Garden May 6th

AlanGardenMaster
Published on May 7th 2020
120
Gardener activity on the sunny balcony - repotting the plants Geranium, Pelargonium, pepper plants, squash seedlings and young cucumber plants.
Soon, there will be new tasty crops to harvest from the fruit and veg garden. But there is no letting up on the sowing, planting, trimming and training this month, as everything goes into growth overdrive!
Check out my tips here and take a peep at my bigger monthly May tips for both garden edibles and ornamentals.
A close up of a purple hardy geranium flower

What to Do in the Garden in May

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A group radish vegetables

What To Do in the Allotment This May

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Don't forget that Sunday is Garden Day - A time to relax and celebrate your gardening achievements from throughout the past year!
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Tasks for the garden this week:

Fruit growing

  • It's tempting to plant strawberry runners now, but it's unlikely that you'll get much of a crop this year.
  • Autumn is the best time to plant strawberries; however, you can plant perpetual bearing and autumn ripening varieties now.
Image of blue glazed pottery clay strawberry pot planted in summer fruit vegetable garden gravel pathway, bamboo screening fence, strawberry plants growing in pot with flowers, trailing shoots leaves green strawberries fruiting
  • Fruit trees and canes are now making lots of new growth. Tie in soft new shoots using tarred string or Flexi-tie. Flexi-tie, a soft tubular plastic, is the perfect material for this and can be reused repeatedly.
  • Raspberry canes have a tendency to wander! You'll need to hoe off any that appear in between the rows this month. Autumn fruiting varieties produce masses of new canes, so they need thinning to leave just the strongest. You don't need to support these like summer fruiting varieties.

Veggies

  • Climbing runner beans and climbing French beans need canes or poles and strings to grow on. Make sure that they are protected from wind and well-watered when they are still young.
  • Support peas and mange-tout with pea sticks or netting. Check on the seed packet how high the support needs to be.
Mange tout peas in a garden
A salad with edible flowers
  • Rather not use pesticides? Regular sprays of Garlic Wonder may be the answer to your fruit and veg pests. Remarkably, the fruit and veg don't taste garlic afterwards!

Greenhouse and poly-tunnel growing

  • When you can see the first visible tiny fruit on your tomato plant, it is time to start feeding. Use a high potash liquid tomato feed once a week.
  • Remove excess side shoots from tomato plants. Most varieties are of cordon type, so you train and support a single central shoot. Remove the side shoots before they get too long. This job is best done early in the morning when the shoots are full of water and snap off easily. Bush varieties can get overcrowded so thin their side shoots out too. Support both of them as your crop is going to be heavy!
Tomato fruits on a plant
  • Increase your tomato crop by vibrating the flowers regularly. Just shake the stems.
  • Don't be in too much of a hurry to remove the lower leaves from your tomatoes. By all means, remove them if they are yellow but remember that they are the powerhouse of your plants!
  • Shorten side shoots of cucumbers back to just two leaves. These will undoubtedly need support. If you have grown an all-female variety, you will not have to worry about removing male flowers that otherwise make the fruit taste bitter.
cucumbers in a greenhouse
  • As all plants grow larger and days get longer and hotter, you will need to increase the amount and frequency of watering.
  • Increase ventilation on bright days. It may be necessary to open vents very early in the morning and close late in the evening or even leave them a little open at night.

Bulbs, corms, and tubers

  • Plant out dahlias and begonias, but protect emerging shoots from late frosts. Dahlia soft shoots are very attractive to slugs so protect them until they are established.
  • Gladioli corms can go in now. They grow quickly and make dramatic cut flowers. They respond well to regular water and feed.
Gladioli flowers
  • After tulips have finished flowering, lift and dry the bulbs off and store them in a dry and cool place ready for replanting in the late autumn. You can leave other bulbs in the ground.
  • Wait until all the leaves of spring-flowering bulbs die back naturally before tidying them up. These leaves will feed next year's bulbs and flowers.

Wishing you another great week in the garden! If you need any inspiration on what to plant, use the May Growing Guide:

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