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Jobs For The Month

May.

FLOWERS
1. Prune spring shrubs, such as forsythia and chaenomeles, after flowering to keep them compact
2. Plant out dahlia tubers and cannas after all risk of frost has passed
3. Tie in the new shoots of climbing plants, including clematis, wisteria and honeysuckle, to their supports
4. Continue sowing annuals, such as California poppies, into gaps in borders for colour from August into autumn
5. Plant up hanging baskets, but keep in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to establish, before putting outside
6. Apply liquid feed to tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs to encourage a good display next year
7. Plant out summer bedding and tender annuals, including sunflowers, cosmos and nasturtiums, after the last frost
8. Remove faded spring bedding, such as wallflowers and forget-me-nots, once faded and add to your compost bin
9. Check lilies and fritillaries for scarlet lily beetles and their larvae, as they can rapidly strip plants of all foliage
10. Harden off tender plants raised indoors, but bring them back in at night to protect from late frosts
11. Pinch out the shoot tips of bedding plants and young annuals to encourage bushier growth
12. Add interest to shady borders by planting a selection of hosts and ferns
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FRUITS & VEGETABLES
1. Earth up potatoes, covering the shoots with soil as they appear
2. Sow sweetcorn in deep pots, so the young plants are ready to transplant into the garden in June
3. Reduce snail populations by going on regular evening hunts, especially during damp weather
4. Start sowing dwarf and climbing French beans, as well as runner beans, directly outdoors in warm weather
5. Pick rhubarb stems as they develop, and water plants with liquid feed
6. Start hardening off tender young plants, such as tomatoes and courgettes, ready for planting out in mild areas
7. Sow batches of salad leaves and stir-fry crops every few weeks to provide continuous pickings
8. Hang pheromone traps in apple and plum trees from May to July, to control pests
9. Thin out seedlings from earlier sowings to ensure you get healthy, strong-growing plants
10. Open fruit cage doors or lift some of the netting to ensure pollinating insects can get access to the flowers
11. Remove all strawberry runners, so plants put their full energy into fruiting
12. Keep plenty of fleece handy to protect young seedlings or fruit blossom, if late frosts are forecast
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IN THE GREENHOUSE
1. Water thirsty crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes regularly as the weather starts to warm up
2. Tie the stems of indoor tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines to canes as they grow
3. Plant heat-treated freesia corms in pots for fragrant flowers this summer
4. Check plants regularly for pests, on shoot tips and the underside of leaves, and treat with biological controls
5. Put up shading to lower daytime temperatures and reduce scorching
6. Open doors and vents on warm days, but close them in the evening as nights can still be cold
7. Take cuttings of woody herbs such as hyssop, rosemary and thyme, and root in pots of gritty compost
8. Keep pricking out seedlings as soon as they get their first true leaves, to avoid overcrowding and fungal diseases
9. Repot any houseplants that have become top heavy or pot bound into larger containers
10. Start to harden off tender plants and bedding, ready for planting outside after the last frost
11. Take cuttings from fuchsias, dahlias and pelargoniums
12. Transplant tomatoes into growing bags or large pots, and tie their main stem to a cane or vertical wire for support
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AROUND THE GARDEN
1. Scoop out pondweed, blanketweed and algae from ponds and water features
2. Put soft tops on the tips of all canes, in borders, veg plots, pots and greenhouses, to prevent injury to eyes
3. Apply wood treatment to wooden garden furniture to condition it for summer
4. Set up an extra compost bin or a worm bin, so you can recycle more green waste from your kitchen and garden
5. Apply nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed to encourage leafy growth
6. Mow grass pathways through wildflower areas so you can walk in among the flowers
7. Hoe bare soil and hand-weed beds weekly, so weeds don't have time to establish and set seed
8. Put supports in place for clumps of perennials that are prone to flopping, such as top-heavy peonies or phlox
9. Trim topiary regularly to promote bushy growth and keep it looking neat
10. Sow grass seed or lay new turf by the end of this month, to create a new lawn or repair damaged patches
11. Check shrubs for nests before you start any pruning, to avoid disturbing nesting birds
12. Clean out and scrub bird feeders regularly to maintain hygiene
13. Build sturdy wigwams and supports for climbers such as runner beans, sweet peas and morning glory
14. Watch out for aphids on shoot tips and young foliage, and wipe them off or spray with a soap-based solution
All above information from http://www.gardenersworld.com/what-to-do-now/
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