What to Do In the Garden This May

garden jobs to do in May

As we move into May, we get closer and closer to those warm summer days that we have all been craving! In preparation for your summer displays, there’s plenty of garden jobs to do in May.

From rigorous spring cleaning to planting and preparing your beds, borders and containers, there’s plenty to do this month. Follow this easy guide to help you start your monthly to-do list.

Hanging Baskets

hanging baskets are perfect for may planting

May is the perfect time to plant summer hanging baskets. Plant shorter plants toward the edge and taller plants in the middle.

Water your baskets regularly, preferably in the early morning or late evening so that the plants can soak up the most water before the sun appears!

Prune and Prepare

Garden jobs to do in may - pruning and preparing for sweet peas

May is the perfect month to start dividing, pruning, and preparing your blooms and plants. Divide large clumps of daffodils, being careful not to disturb the bulbs too much.

Add support rings to your sweet peas to help them climb nice and tall. Divide Hostas, and prune spring-flowering shrubs.

Harvest Rhubarb

harvesting rhubarb - garden jobs to do in may

Now is the best time to harvest your Rhubarb plants. If this is your first year growing Rhubarb, then do not harvest until the second year of growth. Even then, only lightly harvest to avoid weakening the rhubarb crowns.

To harvest, pull the stalks when they are between 23-30cm long. Do not take more than half the stalks at any one time.

Earth Up Potatoes

Earthing up potatoes in May

Once your potato leaves have grown to around 10cm tall, it’s time to start the earthing process. This is to help the crops grow perfectly. This process is then repeated one or two times within 3 week intervals to help the tubers produce the best possible potato.

More Garden Jobs to do in May

  • Feel like starting a new project this month? Adding lawn edging around the garden can make the space feel tidier and well-maintained!
  • Plant summer bedding plants toward the end of month, if you live in southerly parts of the country (just to avoid late frosts, especially in northern England and Scotland).
  • Leave out seeds for birds that are nesting.
  • Mow lawns regularly, if needed.
  • Prune over-crowded and dead stems from early clematis plants once died back.

Read More from J Parker’s

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what is a perennial plant blog

Gardening Jobs for May

Summer bedding plants

Mid-to-late May is the best time to plant out summer bedding plants. Prepare the soil and use some organic compost to fertilize the soil ready for the new bedding. You do need to keep an eye on the long term weather forecast when doing this. A late strong frost can put pay to your hard work. You can keep plants in the greenhouse until the weather improves and move them out towards the end of the month. Just make sure they’re well watered. The greenhouse should be well aired, vented and shaded during the day so that these plants don’t over heat in warm weather. The same rules apply for hanging baskets. You can plant these from April onwards, but until the last sign of frost has passed you may want to protect them in the greenhouse. If you don’t have one, hold off planting until the end of May. Line your basket well and add a fertilizer rich compost soil. There are plenty of varieties to choose from but trailing plants work well for covering the sides of your basket. Water well, add fertilizer weekly and keep any eye out for pests!

Tidy up

You may find you need to clip any hedging and topiary now to keep its shape neat and tidy. The warmer weather will also mean regular mowing of the lawn will be a necessity now. Through the summer months, once a week should be sufficient. Keep on top this and your garden will look tidy all summer!

Deal with weeds

As the temperatures rise your prized plants will spring to life, but unfortunately so will any unwanted weeds! Pull up any seedlings and dig out perennial weeds with a fork to try and get rid of any roots. Time and effort spent on these perennial weeds will benefit not only your borders but also your lawn. May is the ideal time to identify those nasty dandelions and deal with them.

Pond

If you have a pond, pond weed is equally important to deal with and should be removed regularly before it becomes too difficult to manage and harmful to pond life. Make sure you leave any weeds by the side of the pond for a good while before removing just in case any pond life is hiding there! May is a great time to begin stocking ponds with fish. Just make sure any aquatic plants have established first.

Keep an eye on growth

Many growing plants may need your attention this month, add plenty of feed to keep them happy. Tall perennials may need trellis and support as they start to grow to keep them straight and upright. It is also important to tie up your clematis to control their climbing in the direction you would like them to grow. For rambling roses, try and tie as horizontal as possible. This will restrict the flow of sap and increase side shoots, thus causing more flowers. Spring flowered Montana type clematis need pruning after flowering to keep them tidy.

Click here to view the full May Gardening Job List!