In The Vegetable Garden This May

Thin out direct-sown vegetables such as spinach, carrot and lettuce seedlings, then water the rows well.

Harvest asparagus spears when they are no more than 18cm tall.

Harden off outdoor tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins for planting early next month.

Weed around your onions and garlic to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Apply an onion fertiliser to boost growth.

Earth up potatoes, and promptly plant any still remaining. Potato plants need ‘earthing up’ as they grow, to protect early shoots from frost damage and ensure the developing potatoes aren’t exposed to light.

Protect carrots from carrot fly by covering with horticultural fleece or enviromesh.

Support pea plants with twiggy sticks or pea netting.

Make supports for your runner beans, using 8ft (2.4m) bamboo canes.

Keep on top of weeding, weeds will compete with your vegetables for precious water, light and nutrients.

Top Tip:

Pinch out the growing points of broad beans as soon as beans start to appear at the base of the plant to reduce the risk of blackfly attack.

This Month's Key Tips
  • Mow lawns weekly.
  • Plant our summer bedding towards the end of the month, when the weather gets warmer.
  • Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days.
  • Watch out of late frosts. Tender plants will need protecting.
  • Water early and late to get the most out of your water, recycle water when possible.
  • Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges.