May gardening tips  by Reg Moule BBC Hereford & Worcester

Early May Keep all newly planted items well watered. This includes ones planted last autumn.

Sow seeds of herbaceous plants. Sow or turf new lawns and keep mowing established ones – but not too low. Treat difficult lawn weeds e.g. clovers, black medic with Weedol Lawn Weedkiller. Hang up a codling moth trap in your apple tree, or a plum moth one in your plum tree, to reduce the number of maggoty fruit. Plant out cabbage, cauliflower and other brassicas but take precautions against root fly. Keep on top of pest and disease outbreaks, as well as controlling weeds.

Don’t forget your houseplants feed and water them regularly. Control algae and blanketweed in ponds.

Mid May Sow suitable varieties of pansies to flower from autumn throughout the winter. Sow biennials for flowering next spring onwards e.g. wallflowers, mysotis, sweet williams, foxgloves and honesty. Plant out chrysanthemums for flowering in borders or for cutting. Plant out summer bedding plants when frost risk is minimal. Tie in wallshrubs and climbers to their supports. Trim over aubretia and arabis after flowering to keep them neat. Prune wall trained pyracantha and chaenomeles after flowering. Keep strawberry fruits off the soil using straw or mats. Cut down spring flowering perennials – e.g. pulmonarias and doronicums after flowering to produce a neat mound of new foliage. Untrimmed plants often become mildewed. Sow swedes, beetroot, carrots, parsnips, French and runner beans outdoors.

Plant out sweet corn in blocks, rather than a long row, as they are wind pollinated. Take cuttings from dahlias and chrysanthemums for flowering later in summer. Plant tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers etc. in a cold greenhouse or outdoors if in sheltered site.

Make up summer flowering hanging baskets and containers.

Late May Brighten up your patio with some spectacular frost tender container plants, like brugmansia. Prune clematis montana straight after flowering, if they are getting out of bounds. Plant out leeks, marrows, courgettes and melon plants. Spinach often runs to seed if sown after mid May – so sow leaf beet instead. Sow some half-hardy annuals for use a winter pot plants e.g. calceolarias, schizanthus and cinnerarias. Sow ornamental cabbage and kale for winter colour in tubs and borders. Beware of houseplants getting scorched on sunny windowsills. Listen to the weather forecast in case of any nasty late frosts.  

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Gardening tips from Reg Moule - April 2020

EARLY IN THE MONTH.
Sow annual climbers e.g. Asarina, Eccremocarpus, Cobaea, Ipomoea, Tropaeolum and Rhodochiton.
Dead head daffodils and narcissi – feed them but DO NOT cut off the foliage.
Keep an eye out for slugs and take steps to control them.
Plant summer flowering bulbs outdoors e.g. Gladioli and Nerine bowdenii.
For trouble free roses, treat with Scotts Rose Clear 2 combined pest and disease treatment or Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic for an Organic solution to rose diseases.

Prune Forsythias and  winter Jasmine after flowering.
Straggly silver foliage plants can be cut back now e.g. Saintolina. (but not down into old wood - that is risky).
Lift and divide pond plants. This is also a good time to introduce new plants too.
Plant Asparagus crowns and Jerusalem artichokes.
Treat potted ornamental plants with Scotts Vine Weevil Killer, as it acts as both a control measure and an insurance policy .One treatment lasts 4 months.
Cover some established strawberry plants with cloches to get an early crop.
Plant new conifer hedges and trim established ones.

MID APRIL.
Tackle pernicious weeds, like bindweed, with a systemic weed killer containing glyphosate. The strongest is Job Done Tough Weedkiller Sachets.

Hardy annuals can still be sown in situ outdoors.
Plant dormant dahlia tubers 10cm (4in) deep outdoors at the foot of support stakes.
Undertake lawn renovations by repairing damaged edges and removing bumps and hollows.
Take conifer cuttings. Pull off 7.5 – 10 cm (3-4in) side shoots. Trim up the base. Dip in hormone and insert in free draining compost.

Watch out for attacks of gooseberry mildew and gooseberry sawfly, these devastate bushes.
Plant out cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprout and celery plants.
Finish planting sprouted maincrop potatoes.
Sow tomato seeds now for outdoor planting in June.
Begin planting up hanging baskets, keep them inside until frost risk is minimal.
Check your greenhouse regularly, as watering, shading and ventilation are important.
Sow Basil indoors, but do not plant outside until there is no risk of frost.

LATE APRIL.
Sow tender veg. indoors for planting out next month e.g. courgettes, French and Runner beans.
Prune early flowered Clematis after blooming e.g. C. alpina and C. macropetala. This is only necessary where space is limited.
This is a good time to re-pot any houseplants that are pot bound.
Store unused seeds left in open packets in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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