Now May is here we should be in the process of potting up and planting out but with very dry and frosty April everything in the garden and allotment like commercial growers will be delayed. Based on the current forecast it looks as though the weather is starting to settle down so all those plants filling your indoors, greenhouse and polytunnel can finally be planted outside without fear of loss. Expect lower crops yields this year along with a slightly later season as a result of the April weather so don’t be too concerned if everything seems slower than normal. All your seedlings for cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers should be progressing well and be ready to pot up into their permanent homes by the end of the month. The days are long at the moment and daylight strong and this time when growth should come in rapid spurts.

For whatever reason this year I had problems germinating French climbing beans. I am utilising the same varieties I’ve cultivated over the last few years with much success but for some reason very few of the seeds have germinated. After a bit of research I found mixed opinions on what was the issue both online and in my reference books so decided to take a back to basics approach by germinating under dampened paper towel which has proved successful. As always I look for a lessons learnt to help me mature in my growing journey and in this case it is to go back to tried and tested techniques perfected by our predecessors.

Hopefully your fruit bushes and trees haven’t been affected too badly by the April frost, one technique to help set the fruit is to mist the plants and trees. Strawberries should be progressing well with at least flowers on the plants. You should continue to feed the plants ideally via a water soluble feed to help increase the strawberry crop and fruit size. If you are growing strawberry plants on the ground protect the plants using mats or collars. This is a reusable alternative to straw and keeps the slugs off the fruit and stops them rotting.

If any of your seedlings haven’t survived the frost or have died you still have time to start sowing. It is not too late to sow cucumbers if the earlier seedlings failed. Spinach, lettuce and salad leaves can now be safely planted outside to germinate. If like me your French beans haven’t taken off you can still sow in May especially the dwarf variety.

If for some reason you’re short on some varieties there is still another route young plants from garden centres and plug plants from growing suppliers provide the ability to fill the gaps. Ideally any plug plants would have been ordered in the last couple of months but you may still be able to get them from a few suppliers.

Author: Martin Blunn, Solutionize Global