What to do in the garden now: May

Gardening expert and vegetable grower, Robert Denison Evans tells us what to plant and what else to do in the garden during April and May.

Planting Outside

Its a busy time of the year for planting outside. Plant peas,broad beans,all types of salad leaves. parsnips and potatoes. Your still dependant on the weather and depending on your location you may need to cover your new plants with cloches when you first plant them outside.

Evergreen hedging plants can be planted in April and May. This is because there is less chance of them getting damaged by cold winter winds. Also plant new alpines and hardy annuals that can now survive in the warmer temperatures.


Other veg that can be sown outdoors includes asparagus  crowns and carrots. Make sure you protect your carrots from carrot fly.

Carry on with staggered  sowings of vegetables like lettuce, radish,beetroot, peas, broadbeans,onions and turnips. By doing this you are sure to have a continuous supply of produce. Winter brassicas can also be planted out in April and May, if they have been started off in the greenhouse previously.

Lawn Care:

Mow your lawn regulary: about once every week is best. Your lawn mower blades should be at the highest setting when you start cutting  so that you can lower them with each successive cut.

Repair and renovate established lawns: level off bumps remove weeds and rogue clumps of coarse grass. Feed established lawns, unless you did so last month. New lawns can be sown on prepared ground as with the warmer weather the grass seed will germinate quickly.

This is a good time to lay new lawns with turf, before the weather becomes to dry. Remember that the turfs need to be well watered for the first 6 weeks after they have been laid.

Maintenance Jobs:

Continue watering new evergreen shrubs and trees, spray roses to protect against black spot, divide perennials, stake tall ones, and protect them from slugs and snails.

Deadhead daffodils, and keep up with the weeding, cut down any dead growth left over from the winter on perennials, especially grasses.

Plant summer bulbs and apply synthetic fertilizers if an organic fertilizer was not applied earlier in the year.

Give boarders a tidy up, lightly fork over the soil, lightly prune any plants taking up to much space and put in plant supports.

Cut back lavendar to keep them bushy and compact, tie in climbing and rambling roses, also tie in the shoots of twinner plants, like clemantis.

Clean pots and containers  that are to be used in the summer and plant up alpine troughs.

Feed fruit bushes like blackcurrants and blackberries.

Prepare for:

Prepare trenches for runners beans, plant up hanging baskets but keep them under cover for a few more weeks until it really starts to get sunny and warm.