Garden Gnome’s top tips for May

Garden Gnome has been busy getting his seedlings potted on and in some case planted out over the last few weeks.  Here he takes a quick break from working on his plot to give us a reminder of Top Tips for May.


1. Water well once weekly, but only if your crops show that they need it.  If they’ve got their roots down and have ‘struck’ then let them continue to find their own moisture.  If you do have to water DON’T USE A HOSE!  Fill a watering can and water really well at the roots.  Check out this How To Water guide: what every organic gardener should know about watering.

2. Now our nighttime temperatures are staying in double figures, tender plants (squash, courgettes, French & runner beans, sweet corn) can be sown directly into the ground.  Sow small seeds in shallow drills (or channels) which you can make with your finger or a cane.  Water the drill well before you sow the seed and then sprinkle thinly to save thinning out later on.  Draw dry soil over drill; this helps stop evaporation and deters molluscs.  Protect the sown seed from birds & molluscs, then thin out when seedlings when small.  Use your thinnings in salads or stir fries.

3. Plant out hardened off seedlings started indoors, protect with cloches or fleece for a couple of weeks; if weather is horrid delay til it warms up.  Don’t forget to plant by the local conditions, not the calendar!

4. It’s not just our crops which are loving the warmer weather; annual weeds are popping up all over the plot, so invoke the spirit of my fellow bearded mate Father Christmas and Hoe Hoe Hoe!  Don’t leave any soil bare or you’ll have even more hoe-ing.  Sow green manures on beds not yet needed for crops, or mulch with seaweed meal and compost or other organic matter, even cardboard is better than nothing.

5. Feed your hungry plants.  Apply organic chicken pellets to leafy crops & potassium to fruiting crops.  Liquid feed too: home-made comfrey tea, nettle liquid or organic tomato feed. We can also foliar feed with liquid seaweed (but not in scorching sunshine or you risk damaging the leaves).

6. Watch out for pests and diseases. Protect brassicas from butterflies and birds (netting).  Need some help on sorting out the good guys from the bad guys?  Check out my mate Ruth’s latest Urban Gardening Course chapter.

Garden Gnome is never too busy to take your gardening questions, or to hear your own top tips that work for you.  Contact us at: to send on a message to Garden Gnome.


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