The UK had some very varied weather in April, and May is promising to be just as unsettled! Whatever the weather though, there are plenty of jobs to be getting on with in May.
Now is the time to put some love into preparing the beds for your summer bedding. You will reap the rewards of any effort you put in now.
- A quick soil pH test (available from most garden centres) is definitely worth the effort. The perfect soil pH for bedding plants is between 6.5 and 7. Don’t worry if your soil is outside of this as you can easily make additions to the soil.
- This is the perfect opportunity to use some of that lovely compost that you have been making through the year. Liberally forking it through your soil will add air space and improve the drainage.
- You might like to use a little fertiliser such as Growmore or Fish, Blood, and Bone. Don’t use too much though as the tender roots of young bedding plants may be scorched.
Camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons
May is generally the time to get on top of deadheading your camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. As with all general gardening advice though, do watch your own plants and the climate that your garden is in and take their lead on when it is the right time to do this. When you are deadheading your statement plants, make sure you are not damaging new leaves and growth. If you are mulching your azaleas then 8-10cm of leaf mould or bark will assist with water conservation.
When you are working on your plants, keep an eye out for aphid infestation. While they may occur at any time of year, warmer weather and new growth brings with them the increased risk of infestations. Check any new plants you are bringing into your garden to make sure you are not bringing any avoidable issues into your environment. The best way to deal with pests is to take action the minute you spot anything. A soap solution is a great way to keep greenfly and blackfly under control.
In the greenhouse
- Strawberries: if you want to taste delicious, sweet, and homegrown strawberries early, then now is the time to be planting up pots in your greenhouse
- This is the perfect time to be planting tomatoes in grow bags. Don’t be tempted to crowd your tomato plants, as this is a sure fire way for them to suffer with blight! Keep their soil moist, but not too wet, and make sure you are watering the soil and not their leaves or stems.
- Automatic vents in your greenhouse will make the world of difference to your crops. They will help to regulate the temperature, promote pollination, and save you a lot of time running up and down to your greenhouse to open and close the door!
Whether we are in for floods or draught, high or freezing temperatures, wind or stillness, there are plenty of jobs to be getting on with this May. Happy gardening!