Allotment Jobs for May

May is the month when seed sowing is in full swing, space in the greenhouse is filling up fast with seed trays and pots. Towards the end of the month I sow runner and other climbing beans direct outside, this has worked far better than transplanting which seemed to knock the plants back a bit despite hardening them off.

Jobs that can be carried out this month:

  • Continue harvesting asparagus spears
  • Check growth of greenhouse seedlings and water as necessary. If the weather is warm ventilate the greenhouse
  • Continue hardening off crops before planting out
  • Transplant or ‘dib in’ leek seedlings once they’re the width of a pencil
  • Plant out Brussels sprouts, summer cabbages and summer sprouting broccoli
  • Keep the hoe busy!
  • Remove weeds around onions, shallots and garlic
  • Support autumn sowings of tall variety broad beans with canes and string between each row
  • Plant the last of your seed potatoes
  • Cut out flower spikes from the middle of rhubarb crowns
  • Check support for summer raspberries, blackberries and other hybrid berries, tie in canes
  • Thin out crowded raspberry canes
  • Earth up second early and main crop potatoes, cover rows with pieces of thick cardboard for extra protection if severe frost threatens
  • Plant out sunflowers and other half-hardy flowering annuals raised in pots at the end of the month (weather permitting) otherwise wait until next month
  • Thin carrot seedlings and consider sowing more rows
  • Plant out sweet pea once hardened off, pinch out the growing tips if you haven’t done so already
  • Keep a roll of horticultural fleece to hand, cover outdoor peas and greenhouse seedlings at night if very cold or frost threatens
  • Succession sow herbs such as coriander, dill and parsley
  • Check developing gooseberry fruit for signs of mildew

Some vegetable seeds to sow this month:

  • French and runner beans either in pots (undercover) or direct towards the end of the month when all risk of frost has passed
  • Sweet corn under glass or indoors using small pots, root trainers or toilet roll tubes
  • Carrots, beetroot and other root crops direct
  • Cucumber, pumpkins, courgettes and other squashes under glass or indoors for successful germination
  • Keep sowing radish, spring onions, lettuce and peas every two weeks
  • Early purple sprouting broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Winter cabbages

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