When you can sit on the ground in your pants, they say, it’s warm enough to sow seeds direct outside. You don’t have to sit on the ground in your pants. I’m telling you that May is warm enough. Put your trousers back on.
Vegetable seed to sow outside in May
Beans – runner, french and broad
tip: sprinkle organic slug pellets when you sow, it will save you a lot of pain later. If growing broad beans, the tips of the plants are delicious steamed and served with butter
Courgettes, squashes and pumpkins
tip: if space is tight go for Red Kuri, a fab climbing squash with bright orange skin
Peas – normal, sugar snap and mange tout
tip: peas need horizontal supports to climb so no good trying to grow them up bamboo canes – chicken mesh or pea netting is the best bet
tip: harvest when the size of a golf ball, any bigger and they can get corky and tasteless. Particularly good teamed with broad beans and feta.
tip: grow in a block, not rows since pollination requires the plants to be close together
All types of salad leaves
tip: it’s boring and God knows it’s not easy to remember, but sowing little and often really is the key to a good supply of salad. I have yet to master this.
tip: slug pellets!!!!!!
Your windowsills will also thank you since it is FINALLY time to plant out the tomato plants that have been steadily turning your wooden sills to papier mache since early March. Bung them in a grow bag, pots or garden soil, making sure they have lots of compost and give them a feed if they look pale and anaemic after being in a pot for so long. I’m using this liquid seaweed feed because I read that it came out top in a recent Gardener’s World magazine survey of the best feeds for tomatoes. I don’t get out much.
And in the fruit garden…
Make sure you keep raspberries well watered, they have shallow roots and dry out easily. I know what happens if you don’t water because my raspberries last year were modest in number and like small hard bullets while my brother had buckets of huge ones and kept boasting about them which was annoying.
If you have blueberries growing in pots, water them with rain water, not tap. They’re acid loving, and need ericaceous compost (you did do that, right?) and don’t like the lime in tap water. I keep a bucket behind the shed and just tip out rain water onto my blueberry whenever I remember. But sometimes I forget and have to water with tap water. Nothing terrible happens, but I think I could get a better harvest if I remembered.