May Gardening Advice


May Gardening Advice

Temperatures are dropping, days are shorter- winter is on the way. There are many tasks that need to be completed before the wet, cold months arrive. 

Vegetable Garden 
Harvest beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, leeks, lettuce, onions, potatoes, radishes, silver beet and spinach. 
All winter vegetable planting should be completed this month. Remember that winter vegetables need full light and shelter from cold south-westerly winds. 
Soil preparation by adding organic matter such as compost is very important. It adds nutrients and opens up the soil, so it is free draining for the rainy months ahead. Do this before planting, by deep digging, adding compost, and working the soil. 
Vegetables to plant in the garden now include broccoli, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, radish, silverbeet and spinach. 

Flowering Annuals
An ideal month for planting winter and spring flowering annuals, soil preparation is the same as for vegetable plants - always remember the better the preparation, the better the display of flowers. 
Winter flowering annuals to plant include, alyssum, cineraria, cornflower, lobelia, lupins (South Island only), nemesia, pansies, primulas, snapdragons, stock, sweet william, violas, wallflowers. 

Flowering Perennials
When perennial plants become overcrowded, they tend to produce lower-quality blooms and have stunted growth. This is the final month to divide and replant clumps of perennials while they are dormant, and the garden is not overly wet. This will ensure optimal growth and blooming next season.

Time to plant out the strawberry patch. Remember, you can never have too many strawberry plants, especially if you have a young family! If you potted up runners (baby strawberry plants) in March, now is the time to plant them in their final spot so they can establish themselves before spring.
To prepare the soil for planting, add compost and raise mounds about 150-200mm above the existing soil level. The mounds will warm up more quickly in spring and encourage early fruit cropping. If possible, angle the mounds in a North-South direction to allow for maximum daylight exposure for the strawberry plants.

Fruit Trees & vines
All stone fruit trees including apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums should now be pruned and finished with a spray with oxychloride to help protect against possible bacterial infections. 
Hold pruning apple and pear trees, especially late fruiting varieties, until late May or sometime in June. 
New seasons pip and stone fruit trees will begin to arrive at garden centres in late May. Look for trees with a straight stem and a thick base indicating that it is well established and check for any signs of pests or disease.
Kiwifruit are also ripening and should be picked when still hard. 

While most rose varieties have finished flowering, pruning is best left until June. In the meantime, spray plants with copper oxychloride to reduce the carryover of diseases into the next season. Adding compost around existing rose plants will significantly improve plant growth in spring.

Ornamental trees and shrubs
It’s the perfect time for planting ornamental trees and shrubs before soils become excessively wet. Plan what you will plant carefully and check plant labels to avoid overcrowding later on as ornamental trees and plants can vary significantly in size and each species has different requirements for space, sunlight, and water.

House Plants 
Houseplant care over winter includes reducing watering, removing dead leaves, regularly misting foliage (leaves), and ensuring they receive enough light. 
Keep houseplants away from direct contact with open fires and heaters because they can suffer from heat stress or even become scorched or burned.



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