Gardening tips for May by Linda Viney
PUBLISHED: 08:33 09 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:08 20 February 2013
We generally think of climbers which can give structure to borders as perennials but let us not forget the annuals . . .
Gardening tips for May
by Linda Viney
1.We generally think of climbers which can give structure to borders as perennials but let us not forget the annuals. Their one big advantage is they can be placed in different positions each year. In the open garden temporary supports can be used, such as pea sticks, which can be set in a straight line or created into wigwams. Sweet peas are a must and if you haven't sown them, garden centers will have pots ready to plant out. Nasturtiums add vibrancy and don't forget you can eat the flowers and leaves. Asarina and Ipomoea are a couple of other suggestions.
2.Late frosts can be a problem especially as more fruit trees come into blossom. It is impossible to protect them but fleece thrown over smaller trees will help. Don't forget if you have a fruit cage do ensure the netting is big enough to allow the pollinating insects in. At the end of the month place straw round the strawberry plants to protect the fruit from the soil.
3.Water in the pond is starting to warm up so it is a good time for planting. When choosing plants for a pond the depth of the water has to be taken into account. Check the labels carefully. You should have ledges round the edge of the pond so the three categories of plants can be included - marginal, shallow and deep. The way to site plants in the middle of the pond is to thread long pieces of string either side of the container and two people - one either side of the pond - carefully lower the basket into the water.
4.I have just been given an interesting and inspiring book 'The Cook's Herb Garden' written by Jeff Cox and Marie Pierre Moine. It will get us all growing herbs and learning the benefits as well as recipes for using them. It is full of illustrated techniques such as transplanting seeds, dealing with pests and how to freeze the results. What joy not have those supermarket herbs going black at the back of the fridge.
5.Make sure you harden off any tender vegetables before planting out in the open. Continue to sow crops every couple of weeks to ensure a succession of vegetables. My favourite vegetable has to be the runner bean and so often people will sow them too early. Be vigilant and remove blackfly on your broad beans - one way is to remove the succulent tips where they like to gather.
6.Mowing the lawn and dead heading are seen as many as chores but the lawn sets off the garden and by dead heading regularly you extend the flowering season. Tall perennials should be staked whilst they are still growing. New perennial seeds can be sown straight into the ground as it warms - this is a good way if you want large numbers.