Welcome to May

close up of hosta leaves

Are we starting summer?  I hope it’s warmer with you than it is with us if this is summer! With cold, cold nights still it is important to watch out for those late frosts. Make sure you are still protecting vulnerable plants.

Vegetable Jobs for May

  • If you are going to plant sweetcorn out in the garden in June, now is the time to plant sweetcorn in deep pots so that they are ready for next month.
  • Beans – dwarf, runner, French – can all be sowed outdoors now, in warmer weather though.
  • Sowing salad leaves and stir-fry veg regularly will allow a good ongoing supply over the next months.
  • If any of the seedlings planted earlier in the year are now too close, be sure to thin them out to ensure healthy growth of sturdy plants.
  • If you have fruit cages in the vegetable patch, now is the time to open up to doors to allow pollination of the flowers.
  • Pests always need controlling, and now is no exception. Do evening hunting trips around the garden for snails, especially on damper evenings.
  • Protect the apple and plum trees from pests by hanging pheromone traps in the trees between now and July.
apples on an apple tree


  • As soon as all risk of frosts has disappeared you can plant out the dahlia tubers, but not before.
  • Make sure your climbing plants are well tied into their supports.
  • Your new hanging baskets can now be started. Plant them up ready but keep them sheltered for a couple of weeks to ensure they are well established.
  • Whilst the spring bulb flowers may be coming to an end, be sure to feed them well to make sure you get a good display next year.
  • If your borders are lacking a bit of interest, consider planting hostas and ferns now.
  • Again, pests need to be controlled – check lilies for scarlet lily beetles and larvae as they can rapidly do a lot of damage to the plants.

In the Greenhouse

  • If your greenhouse is not equipped with an automatic watering system, do not forget to water thirsty plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes. Regular watering is especially important as the weather warms up.
  • Always be diligent to check for bugs & pests in the greenhouse and treat accordingly.
  • At this time of year onwards blinds or shading is great to reduce the temperature and ensure no plants get scorched by the sun. If you open the doors and vents during the day, make sure to close them at night with the cold nights still.
  • Tomatoes not only need good, regular watering at this time, but also should be transplanted to growing bags and tied up to appropriate supports.

As a summary, remember to watch out for late frosts, keep up with the weeds – they grow very rapidly at this time of the year! If you are not using an irrigation system in the garden, water in the morning or later in the day, but not too late, using rainwater or other water sources, such as rivers/wells if possible. And, of course, get the mower serviced if you haven’t already done so – the lawns will need regular mowing from here on in.

For more information on May jobs, visit the RHS website or Gardeners World.

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Happy summer days.