We can see start to see a lot happening in the vegetable garden this month. Whilst we previously welcomed new growth and spring blossom, we’ll now likely be noticing the weeds making an appearance! They’ll need our attention if we’re hoping to given new seedlings the space they need to grow. Remove with a hoe or a hand tool (easier if no dig!) and remember to compost them, it’s all good nutrients to go back into our soil.

With the intention of growing delicious beans, tomatoes, courgettes etc there’s an eagerness to get thing outdoors but still the possibility of late frosts. For earlier starts we’ll need to do some hardening off this month – that is taking plants outside during the day and bringing them back in at night until the risk of frost has passed. If you do decide to plant your tender plants out earlier in the month be sure to still have protection to cover them at night if temperatures drop. Cloches, fleeces, even newspaper will do the trick if you need it.

Lots to do this month but it’s not all work. We can be eating spinach, various lettuce, rhubarb, spring opinions and oriental greens from our gardens now too. So we weed, we pick some salad, we enjoy, it’s all in balance! Happy growing.

This month we could be planting:

  • Lettuces
  • Courgettes
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflowers
  • Cucumbers
  • Kales
  • Chards
  • Peas
  • Pumpkins and squashes
  • Sprouting broccoli
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Onion sets and shallots
  • Perennial herbs such as thyme, chamomile, fennel, rosemary, sage, oregano etcPlus more..

Of course not all of these have to be sown from seed. Our website has a wide range of vegetable, fruit and herb plants that can be planted directly into your gardens this month. These are sustainably grown in Shropshire, planted in recycled materials and delivered directly to your door. Plants include growing guides showing you how to grow and harvest them – and if that’s not enough, we run a free veg gardening group offering additional support too! See our website for details.

Checklist of Jobs for May

With planting underway there are several additional jobs to be getting on with this month:

  • Keep the watering can busy this month.
  • Cover strawberry beds with straw around and in between the plants.
  • Peas will need staking when they reach a couple of inches high.
  • Continue to harden off plants that are due for transplanting in the ground this month.
  • Weeds will grow even more strongly now so keep the hoe busy
  • Continue to pot on plants that need transplanting, trying to accommodate them best you can under cover until the risk of frost has passed.
  • Thin raspberry canes to aid picking fruit at a later date.
  • Continue to pick salad crops to encourage more leaves.
  • Repot new tomato or chilli seedlings if they have outgrown their pots.
  • Tomato plants that are growing vigorously will need staking and the side shoots will need removing.
  • Continue to improve your soil by top dressing with compost.
  • Cover newly sown crops and seedlings with cloches to help protect a little more from the elements.
  • Plant out winter brassicas such as cauliflowers and Brussels Sprouts that have been hardened off.
  • Continue planting perennial herbs to establish a herb bed for later in the season.

And let’s not forget composting, with advice from Garden Organic:

  • Keep adding to your compost bin, making sure to mix ‘greens’ (lawn cuttings etc), with ‘browns’ (cardboard, straw and scrumpled up paper).
  • If you have a worm bin, your worms will need more food, as they become more active. Continue to protect them from night frosts.

I hope you find this useful. If you’re a keen home gardener or allotmenteer (or would like to be!) why not consider joining our growing community online. It’s free and all are welcome https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-mqboZExp/

Happy growing!

Theresa, Homegrown Market Garden

A little extra care for your compost heap at this time of year will reward you later in the year
Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot