May Gardening Advice


May Gardening Advice

Vegetable Garden 
Continue planting traditional winter vegetables, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, onions, peas, silverbeet and spinach. May is also the preferred month for sowing broad beans. Cultivate the soil thoroughly, and add a ‘dressing’ of lime along with fresh compost. Sow the seed 10-15mm deep and 100-150 mm apart. Single or double rows can be sown. Garlic can be planted in May; they prefer well-drained soil with generous amounts of Daltons Garden Time™ Compost. Plant the cloves 30-40mm deep and 50-60 mm between each clove.

Flowering Annuals
Continue planting winter flowering annuals throughout May. Maintain a watch for slugs and snails that may still be operating. Winter flowers annuals to plant include alyssum, calendulas, cineraria, cornflowers, labella, pansies, poppies, primulas, snapdragons, stock, sweet pea, sweet william, wallflowers and violas. 

While many perennials prefer to grow undisturbed for many years, they eventually become overcrowded producing poor growth and flowering. May is an ideal month for safely dividing and replanting numerous perennials. Prepare new sites thoroughly prior to division and then swiftly replant newly divided plants into the selected sites in the garden. Any old/diseased plant mater should be disposed of.

The planting of next season's strawberries should be completed in May. Even though there are cold winter months ahead the earlier strawberries are planted the better the spring growth. Always plant some new varieties as well as the runners from your old strawberry plants. You can also extend the harvesting season by planting a mixture of both early, late and day-neutral varieties. 

Fruit Trees
The pruning of pip and stone fruit trees can begin towards the end of May. Aim to reduce the height of fruit trees to manageable levels for picking and maintenance work. Remove all inward growing branches and any ‘crisscrossing’ branches. Always observe during the summer months, where the fruit is on the tree i.e., the age of the branches that produce the fruit. After pruning is completed follow up with a copper spray. Be prepared to protect young citrus trees from winter frosts with frost cloth. 

Rose Care 
The flowering season is now finished, apart from iceberg varieties that will continue blooming indefinitely it seems! It is still too early to start pruning as a warm spell will encourage immediate new growth after pruning, even in early winter! Continue to collect all the fallen leaves and apply fresh Daltons Garden Time™ Compost around the existing rose bushes.

In the Herb Garden
The herb garden is new in what can be termed ‘winter mode’! As many of our culinary herbs originated from warmer climates, they often struggle over wet, cold winter months. Herbs like mint, parsley and chives do best over the winter season. Plant frequently used herbs in containers to improve winter performance. Plan to replant the existing herb garden in September/ October. 

As temperatures drop, so will the rate of grass growth. Check for early signs of ‘wet spots’ in the lawn, that may require additional drainage before the areas become too wet. With new lawns, raise the level when mowing. On established lawns where ‘levels’ may not be as required; this is the perfect time for rolling (helps flatten the ground) as the soil is moist but not too wet and minor undulations in the lawn can be ‘ironed out’. 

House Plant Care 
The more ‘tropical’ houseplants will need a little extra T.L.C over the winter months. This can include moving plants to a part of the house with better light, reducing watering and regular light misting of the foliage with tepid water. Remember the bathroom with ‘steamy’ humidity from hot showers, can be an excellent environment to revive struggling houseplants. With ‘glossy’ green-leaved houseplants, sponge the leaves regularly with tepid water to remove dust and any insects. 



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