Tips from Alex – May 2017

Well, it’s nearly May and the pace of gardening is picking up. The end of April has brought some quite cold weather with frosts on a few occasions which have affected the blossoming of my apple trees which will reduce the crop but as I write this, the forecast is looking quite promising with a return to the seasonal norm.

​It has been and will continue to be a busy time in the garden. On the vegetable front I have managed to plant out onions, Brussels sprouts and lettuces, sown runner and French beans. I have not as yet managed to sow beetroot, carrots, parsnip, mangetout and asparagus peas nor planted my leeks but I’m not unduly worried as these crops have a habit of catching up lost time. On the flower front, I have today planted out my sweet peas. I’m hoping for a fine display which will not only brighten up the garden but also make a great cut flower display in the house together with its heady scent.

​In the greenhouse, I have potted up cucumbers, chillies, sweet pepper and tomatoes. On the subject of tomatoes, many gardeners grow them in grow bags. There is nothing wrong with this method of cultivation but I find it a bit cumbersome and particularly difficult to support the plants so I use the grow bag compost to fill 10” pots in which I grow my tomatoes. I support them with string hung from wires fixed from one end of the greenhouse to the other. Each pot stands within a saucer which makes the job of watering much easier. Feeding of the tomato crop is very important to maximise your crop and should commence as soon as the first truss has set i.e. when you can see tiny little tomatoes formed from the flowers.

​Also in the greenhouse, I have sown sweet corn, courgettes and squash which will take their place in the vegetable plot in due course. Summer bedding continues to make progress and will be ready to plant out when the risk of frost has finally passed.

​May continues to be a big planting month. It is also important to ensure you keep on top of the weeding so a good hoe is an essential tool. I find it can be quite a therapeutic exercise which also pays good dividends.

​Finally, don’t forget the Hort Soc plant sale on the afternoon of May 13th. Take along any of your spare plants and buy some of those that you have forgotten to sow. It also gives the opportunity to talk to fellow gardeners over a cup of tea and piece of delicious home baked cake. Too good to miss!

Happy gardening,

Alex  – May 2017


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