Sowing and Planting
Plant out your tender bedding bedding plants and vegetables now. Remember to water them in well afterwards to enable them to establish.
You can sow runner beans directly into the soil which is warm enough to produce fast-growing plants which will supply you with a good crop later in the summer.
Your baskets and containers can go out now too, but keep them in a sheltered warm place.
This is the time to watch out for pests and diseases. Aphids, red spider mites, whitefly, caterpillars are all among the pests to look for. It is worth checking your garden daily, as they can appear very suddenly you can take appropriate action immediately. It’s useful to just keep some insecticide or soapy water spray to hand.
Powdery mildew is worth looking out for if it has been dry. Remove any affected leaves to the ground.
Deadhead your summer flowering plants regularly to encourage more flowering. Remember to implement the ‘Chelsea Chop’ on your late-flowering perennials. I find in Scotland this is later than in the south. I don’t have much to chop after Chelsea (end of May) so I’ll be doing mine in mid to late June. Cut back the top half of some of each of your herbaceous flowering plants and you will have continuous flowering over a longer period of time.
Tidy up any early flowering plants (azaleas and camellias for instance) by removing the rotting flower heads. Remove old leaves and flowers from hellebores.
As your climbers send out new long shoots – tie them into their supports, taking care not to damage them or squash them against the support.
Any early plants that are looking straggly, or that have developed mildew (pulmonaria for instance) can be cut back to the ground. Give them a good foliage feed and you will get fresh new growth.
Remember to keep your crops watered. Establish a regular routine for your tomatoes, ensuring they do not dry out. Irregular watering causes them to split. Start feeding them as soon as the first truss has set.
Keep berry bushes under nets to ensure the pigeons don’t take them all!
Earth up your potatoes and when the first flowers appear start watering them well to create larger tubers. You can also start digging up young tubers at this point for some lovely new potatoes.
Mow lawns when it is dry, and you can apply a high-nitrogen feed in wet weather.
Maintenance and Planning
Weeds will spring up everywhere this month. Keep on top of them along the sides of paths and in between paving stones. I find a good strong knife is the best tool to slip down the edges of paving and tease out those weeds!
Keep and eye on border invaders too – sticky weed will appear out of nowhere, so pull it out as soon as you see it!
Take softwood cuttings from your favourite plants and grow them on to provide stock for next year.