Author: Martin Blunn, Solutionize Global.
The one thing that has been good about May in 2021 is the rain, after a very dry April. Unfortunately it has been a cold month so probably like yourselves many of my crops are delayed by 4-6 weeks. A prime example is my asparagus which is only in the last week starting to sprout. This reflects the general trend across the country, talking to my sister who lives in the garden of England Kent the usual abundance of asparagus crop has been both much depleted and late.
As a result of the cold May a lot of my planting out has been delayed, plants have been hardened off as much as possible but as of yet no planted out. I have courgettes, French beans, cauliflowers, Romanesco and sprouting broccoli waiting to go into my freshly turned over patches. Planting will begin in earnest over the next week of so trying to avoid the really hot days.
What has progressed well in my allotment are the fruit bushes, blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries and gooseberries. Fruit is well formed but without strong sunlight and higher temperatures hasn’t started to ripen. Now is the time to protect the soon ripening fruit from the bird attacks and ground creatures. As mentioned previously I’ve had good success with putting mulch mats under the strawberries and I strong suggest that you build if don’t already have fruit cages for the rest of the fruit. This will ensure that the fruit ends up on your table rather than in the stomachs of birds. Cages are easily to make or purchase and come in various sizes.
If your night temperatures are still dropping remember to place some fleece on the fruit and young seedlings to give them that extra protection. In the case of the fruit this gives the added protection of making the any ripening fruit invisible to birds.
In your greenhouse or polytunnel the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines should be potted up into their final pots ready for the rapid growth that occurs in the long days in the month of June. Remember with tomatoes to nip out the side shoots from the plants as they grow and ensure for cucumbers that the stems are trained properly up strings. As the flowers start to form especially on the tomatoes and peppers spray with mist to help set.
June is when your garden and allotment really starts to come to life and your start to harvest crops. Make sure you hoe regularly around the outdoor plants to keep the weeds at bay and protect plants from birds especially in their younger life. All the preparation for a successful growing season should have been completed now is the time to start enjoying the fruit of your labours.