Garden Gnome has been busy caring for all his plants he sowed earlier in the year, and wanted to give BHOGG members a reminder on what we should be doing in May.
The next 2-4 weeks are the main times for getting ready to seedlings planted out. It isn’t likely that we will have a frost now, but night-time temperatures are still dropping quite low, so keep an eye on the thermometer; we don’t want temps to drop too far below 10C at night for good growth
So, it is still a bit too early to plant out anything TENDER that you may have started indoors (e.g. CLIMBING BEANS, COURGETTES, CUCUMBER, SWEET-CORN, TOMATOES, PEPPERS), however now is the time to be HARDENING OFF: put plants outside during the day and bring in at night for a week; then leave outside for a week unless fierce weather such as hard rain or wind is forecast. (I rushed out to rescue my plants at 2am when woken by really heavy rain about a week ago!)
Plant out (with plenty of water at planting time) and bring dry soil up to the stem to discourage evaporation and molluscs. Keep an eye on them and only water if they show distress, this will encourage them to send roots deep after their first drink, then after a week give them another really good drink
For any HARDY crops you’ve started (e.g. BROCCOLI, OTHER BRASSICAS, (CABBAGE FAMILY), CHARD/ SPINACH, LETTUCE, PEAS) they can go in if you have already hardened them off.
Most plants can be planted out more deeply than they are in the pot to help them establish quickly and strongly.
I would aim for Sunday 26th April [Ed – today!] as the first planting day as it looks a bit less sunny & a bit more humid for the following days, and the wind is friendlier from then on, with higher night-time temperatures.
It will then be the ideal time to sow direct as well, especially e.g. beetroot, carrots, peas, beans. You could also sow green manures to increase soil fertility, if you have a bed you won’t use for a couple of months.
Wishing you well. Garden Gnome