Garden Gnome’s May Top Tips

Sweet potatoes

  1. Tender plants (squash, courgettes, French & runner beans, sweet-corn) can be sown directly into ground from mid-month (see below for more details)
  2. Plant out hardened off seedlings started indoors, protect with cloches or fleece for a couple of weeks. If weather is horrid delay until it warms up
  3. Sow green manures on beds not yet needed for crops
  4. Apply seaweed meal and compost to moist beds and organic chicken pellets to leafy crops & potassium to fruiting crops
  5. Hoe often

From the middle of May plant out hardened-off seedlings started indoors. This may include courgettes, cucumbers, squashes, beans (French & runner), sweetcorn, tomatoes & peppers. Check the local weather app and wait until nighttime temperature stays at or above 10 degrees C. If you have cloches you can use these to warm up the soil and protect the plants as they emerge, allowing you to sow them sooner. These are all greedy feeders and need lots of organic matter (compost or well-rotted manure) ideally mixed with seaweed meal & potassium in a big planting hole (or a trench for beans).

Water them in really well then draw dry soil over the surface to discourage molluscs and prevent evaporation. Once they are established water well weekly even if it has rained and remove cloches by the end of the month. When they come into flower feed weekly with tomato feed or comfrey liquid. Pick beans often to keep them productive so plant them somewhere accessible both for watering and harvesting. Soil between large plants can be mulched with newspaper or cardboard covered with compost or even with well composted wood-chip (often available free on allotment sites).  But only use it over cardboard and rake off onto paths at end of season. It’s not good to mix into the soil as the wood can deplete the soil of nitrogen as part of its decaying process.

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