What a turnaround in the weather for the start of May. Everything in the garden ‘took off’ with the heatwave over Easter, especially the weeds, but cold evenings are forecast for the next few days !
A busy month ahead especially when the threat of frost is over and plants can be safely put out. Keep an eye on the weather forecast; so long as the nights are not cold, and plants have been hardened off, the earlier bedding plants such as petunias, begonias, salvias and lobelia etc can go out the better so plan now. Dahlias and hardy chrysanthemums can also go out.
Earth up potatoes or cover with newspaper if frost is likely, sow runner beans, marrows, courgettes, peas, French beans, salads, spinach and root crops for winter storing. Grow climbing French beans to gain more space and especially try climbing blue beans, they crop heavily and are delicious. Watch out for black fly on the broad beans and pinch put the tips once the lowest pods have set to deter infestation. Tie in greenhouse tomatoes and pinch out any side shoots, except on bush varieties ( these side shoots will root and usefully make more plants if potted on).
Those with fruit trees can prune plums and cherries this month and pinch out shoots on grapevines. It’s also a good time to put out pheromone traps for apple, plum and raspberries fly. Talking of ‘nasties’ keep an eye out for snails and slugs, especially on the lupins, hostas and lettuces and pick them off after dark or use pet and bird friendly pellets ie ones not containing metaldehyde- remember that is banned from next year.