The month of May is a time that heralds new life and growth in all its glory, as we have been fortunate to encounter at this time of lock down. Both for the garden and the allotment it is also a time for a great variety of temperature. We are now experiencing very warm temperatures that give rise to luxuriant growth, whilst last week we getting night frosts. This means that we need to pay attention to the conditions otherwise newly planted out crops or plants will be totally lost or at best severely set back in their daily growth. Last weeks frost caught out those with their potatoes, showing frosted tops as well as other tender plants and seedlings being decimated. The only way to counteract this is to cover these delicate violets with fleece, plastic or other protective material. So you cannot rely on being able to plant out tender crops until the beginning of June.

Now is the time to prepare the ground for hungry crops such as runner beans, french beans, swiss chard, sweet corn and courgettes. This means adding compost or manure to the soil, as well as a sprinkling of a general purpose fertiliser. As we are mostly on a sandy soil, this means the ground does not hold on to the nutrients, and so the ground needs a boost in order to give a good return on the crops. You can then either plant your seeds straight into the ground or harden off your young nurtured plants. This means not putting them straight into the ground from indoors, but gradually getting them used to the cooler outdoor temperatures over a number of days.

Also it is time to start planting brassica such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli,leaf vegetables and Brussels sprouts. Don’t forget to put down a dose of lime to counteract club root, when planting. Also if you want sprouts for Christmas they need to be planted this month.

In the flower garden it is time to plant seeds of foxgloves and wallflowers for next year, as well as aquilegia and primulas. For this summer you can still plant sunflowers, marigolds, zinnia, cosmos and snapdragon to give a riot of colour in the plot.

Enjoy your gardening whatever the weather