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Things to do in the garden in May

May is one of the most changeable months of the year. It can be warm and sunny one minute; cold, rainy and even freezing the next. For a gardener this can be a nightmare.

With young seedlings growing fast and being hardened off prior to planting outside, keeping watch on the temperature is absolutely essential. A sudden cold snap can set seedlings back or even kill them. Make sure cold frames, cloches and greenhouses are closed at night whenever air frosts are predicted.

Fleeces can be used to provide an emergency overnight cover for large plantings in the garden or for groups of tender container plants that are hardening off on patios. Remember to anchor any fleece down firmly so that there is no chance of it being blown away.

During the daytime, it is equally important to make sure that there is plenty of ventilation so as to make sure that plants do not overheat.

Runner beans and sweetcorn should be planted in modules no later than early May. Seeds can be planted outside at the end of the month after all risk of frost has passed. Leafy salad vegetables grown under cloches and in greenhouses will be growing fast and should be harvested regularly. Perennial leaves such as sorrel and lovage are also ready for picking and make wonderful extras to salads and sandwiches.

Leave daffodils die back naturally because the bulbs need all the energy for next year’s growth. Lawns should be cut regularly as grass will be growing fast. Take care to cut the grass close to borders otherwise it will grow over and begin to swamp the flowers. Weeding should also be continued as the lengthening days and slowly rising temperatures mean that weeds grow just as fast as flowers and vegetables!

There is a lot to do in the garden, but don’t forget to take some time to sit back and enjoy the perfumes and colour of the flowers.

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