Thursday, 16 May 2013

Jobs for May and other stuff

This is really a heads up to say I have several posts backlogged for this Blog and I will try to get to them as soon as I can.  If you are on the list of people I notify by email this is the only post I will point you to for a while.  If you are curious just check back in every couple of days for the next week or so as at least three other posts will appear.

I intending blogging a list of jobs for each month at the beginning of each month... so here we are 16th May and ......   to be fair to me I have been away for a couple of weeks so have missed the beginning of the month.

This is what I will be doing this month - I know there are a zillion other jobs to do in May depending on what you grow but this is just one person's ramblings in the great 'up North' and isn't intended to be a Gardeners World type epic.

I have clumps of primulas here and there that are well overdue for dividing.  When they have finished flowering - maybe at the end of the month I will be lifting and dividing them.

I am making notes of various spring flowers that would work better in another place and as they finish I am moving those.  So far the tête a tête has been shifted.

Everything is pretty slow growing with this cold weather but normally I would be endlessly tying in climbing roses, clematis, Lady Boothby (climbing fuchsia) and so on.  If the month warms up they will all gallop away and need doing.

 I have some white narcissi out right now that are in the 'wrong' bed; when they are done they will be on the move.  It is OK to either move them after flowering or shift them in the autumn.  I never succeed in moving them in the autumn because I can never find them!  What I do now is dig the hole a clump is going in (add a bit of bonemeal) then dig up the clump (after deadheading) and drop them in their new home - they don't even know they have been moved.  Always, but always, let your spring bulbs die down naturally - all those leaves are feeding the bulb for next year.  If you keep tidying them up after flowering they will only last you a couple of years.

That said, tulips never last in my garden more than two seasons.  I would rather grow them in  pots and then shove them out in the garden when they are done to take their chances.  Another May job.  You can see the bottom border behind these red and yellow tulips with some white tulips and forget-me-nots in it.  The red and yellow tulips won't be going there: they are destined for the 'hot' garden out the front, but I do intend to buy a load of white tulips in the autumn to put in the bottom border as I like the look of those.

The forget-me-nots are lovely tiny ones.  A friend gave me two tiny bits of blue and one bit of white last year some time and here they are again.  The white have made it through but are just a smidgen as yet.

If, like me, you are planting bulbs now or in the autumn but have established perrenials everywhere, the trick is to just make a deep slit through the plants with a sturdy trowel - wiggle it back and forth and ram the bulbs in.  I promise you it looks brutal but the bulbs and the plant will survive it.  Most of all this month, feed your bulbs.

I will also be getting my hanging baskets planted up but maybe not put out yet - I'll have to see how this weather is going.

Now off to the lotty......

Any strawberry runners need pinching out.  Broad beans, runner beans and courgettes can be planted outside and you can sow the seeds outside now, if you don't have plants ready to go.  Runner beans like bonemeal.

I would be thinning my carrots out had the pigeons not taken care of them - I have four!!  Thin anything that does need thinning.  I seem to have done well this year at sowing thinly and may get away with that job.  

I doubt my broad beans will be in flower this month but if they were I would be pinching out growing tips - keeps the blackfly down.  I am always in two minds as to whether growing nasturtiums keeps the blackfy away from your beans or actually just attracts them to the area where they then discover the beans.  Comments welcome.

If the weather gets up to a fairly constant 21 degrees you could plant out tomatoes and courgettes.  My tomatoes are at the one inch, two-leaf stage so I don't think they will be going any where soon but I might just risk the courgettes - 21 degrees or not.

I keep forgetting to plant the land cress.  For any water cress fan I can't recommend this enough.  Water cress is expensive and you have to pretty much go out and get it when you want it - it doesn't keep well.  Land cress tastes roughly the same, grows like a weed, lasts almost all year and is there just when you need it.  I will grow it in pots near the house for that very reason - not a lotty veg, this one.

PS:  I owe a credit to the pea-shoot growing man.  He is Darren Turpin and his blog is Backyard Kitchen Garden.  Thanks Darren.

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