May gardening tips
Water regularly in dry weather.
Plant strawberry plants in the ground, in planters or in hanging baskets for a pretty and delicious crop this summer.
Protect fruit trees and gooseberries with netting; birds love developing fruit buds and your entire crop can disappear with astonishing speed unless protected! Gooseberry sawfly can be devastating - look out for caterpillars and pick them off as soon as you see them - alternatively try a greenfly killer - ask in the centre for advice.
Harvest your rhubarb - try making it into fool with some of the liquid from a jar of stem ginger or some elderflower cordial whipped into the cream - delicious!
The centres are now full of teenage plantlets of vegetables, salads and herbs. For those that find growing from seed daunting, this is the ideal solution! Remember many need hardening off so be wary about planting them straight outside – ask in the centre for advice if you are unsure.
Many vegetable crops can be sown as seed this month – check the instructions on the packet and plant away! Broad beans, carrots, lettuces, spinach, salad leaves, leeks and chard are just a few ideas to get your healthy, cheap and home-grown food underway! Sow salads in short runs every fortnight to ensure a continuous crop. Don't sow entire packets of seed in one go... the resulting glut is ridiculous!
Plant out brassicas (net them to prevent birds eating them) and grow short term crops such as lettuces and radishes between them to maximise the space.
Earth up potatoes – draw the soil up to a ridge over the plants when they are 6 inches tall. Repeat in a month and then again 2 or 3 weeks later. This prevents sunlight getting to the tubers, which turns them green and renders them poisonous.
Pinch out broad bean tips - this discourages blackfly - and erect a surround of canes connected by string to support the plants when they produce pods.
Get your ‘Grow your Own’ project off to a great start with our ‘teenage’ salad and vegetable plants - so much easier than growing from seed!