TREES , SHRUBS AND FLOWERS
- Prune Spring flowering shrubs
- sow hardy annuals such as sunflowers, nasturtiums and Nigella direct into the ground.
- Plant up hanging baskets and containers with bedding, if you have a bright , frost free place to keep them until they can go outside later in the month if you live in the South where the risk of frosts should have passed.
- Improve lawns. There is still time in early May to over-seed patchy lawns.
FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS
- Sow little and often. Continue successional sowing of carrots, beetroot, spinach and other salad crops. Many herbs can be direct sown in late May such as Parsley and Coriander.
- Protect soft fruit. Cover currant bushes and raspberry canes with taut anti-bird netting.
- Tender beans. Sow climbing, runner and French beans under cover for planting out in June.
- Frequent weeding. Weed around vegetables, especially onions, leek and garlic.
- Gooseberry health. Regularly check gooseberry bushes for gooseberry sawfly caterpillars and pick them off the leaves.
- Control apple pests. Place pheromone traps in apple and pear trees to monitor attacks by codling moths that cause ‘maggoty’ fruit.
- Earth up potatoes.When the new stems reach about 20cm draw up the soil to cover the lower half of the stems. This helps to protect young growth from late frosts and prevents young tubers turning green and poisonous in the light.
- Attracting pollinators. look out for those seasonal plants that are attractive to pollinators such as Antirrhinum, Calendula ,heliotrope, Nicotinia and single poppies.
- Play host to butterflies. Plant Buddleja davidii to attract butterflies However avoid planting if you live in the countryside as it can self seed and spread prolifically and out compete native plants.
- Help birds. Put up nesting boxes for birds that are still to nest in late spring and early summer, such as finches and swifts.
- Check your pond for tadpoles and for newts laying eggs. Make sure there is a shelf , stone or ramp so that wildlife can safely enter and exit the water.
- Wildflower lawn. Leave an area of the lawn unmown or mow paths into it so you can enjoy the wildflowers normally hidden in the turf.
- Clear pond weed. Remove duck weed and blanket weed, but before composting leave it to dry by the side of the pond so any invertebrates in it can scurry back into the water.