A wet and windy May fill the barns with corn and hay.
A wet May and dry June make the farmer whistle a tune
A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay
- Harden off plants raised from seed and cuttings by leaving them outside for gradually increasing periods of time. Start with only the warmest part of the day, and build up to overnight exposure. Do this for 10-14 days before planting them outdoors permanently (whenever the risk of frost has passed)
- Keep tubs, hanging baskets and alpine troughs well watered. Use collected rainwater, or recycled grey water wherever possible.
- Open greenhouse vents and doors on sunny days. Greenhouses, whether glass or plastic, can overheat in sunny weather. Plants can be protected from excess heat by shading and ventilation.
- Earth up potatoes and this is your last chance to get them in the ground this year!
- Inspect lilies for red lily beetles as the larvae can strip plants in days.>
- Protect lily, delphinium, hosta and other susceptible plants from slugs and snails. This can be done by placing slug pellets around the garden, beer in a container or saucer will also do the trick if you prefer a more organic or humane approach.
- Clip evergreen hedges. If not too woody, shredded clippings can be added to the compost heap, ideally in combination with soft material such as grass clippings. Don’t forget to check for nesting birds before starting.
- Twining climbers (such as honeysuckle and Clematis) need regular tying in and twining around their supports.
- Baby vegetables are becoming very popular especially where space is limited. Many can be sown at this time and, with the exception of sweet corn, can be grown in containers and growbags on the patio as well as in the vegetable garden. However, should soil conditions be cold and wet delay sowing.
- Cover strawberry plants with netting before they fruit to prevent birds pecking away at them. Also lay straw around the bases of the plants which will keep the fruit clean as they’re kept off the soil and harder for the slugs to get to. Alternatively plant them through weed membrane fabric if you’re starting a new patch.
- When sowing edible crops stagger the planting to avoid a glut. Once a batch of seedlings emerges sow another row which will give you a steady supply over the summer months.