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Growing in May


Meet John he's been growing vegetables since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. This month he has kindly shared with us what he is growing.

"May is the busiest month as we move from the cool spring days into warmer weather and plants really start to move.

Tomato plants

Pic: Tomato plants, grown in coir pots.

The greenhouse and kitchen window sills have been overflowing with the tender plants such as tomatoes, climbing French beans, chilli peppers, courgettes, cucumbers and squashes. These need to be hardened off and planted out before they get too big. Large 'leggy' plants are weak and will not thrive - better short, sturdy plants that will grow on.

Beetroot seedlings

Beetroot seedlings.

Also in the greenhouse are cell trays of hardier veg that I have given a head start such as beetroot, chard, and early cabbage varieties. And of course there are trays of lettuces and Italian greens.

Potatoes being planted

International Kidney Potatoes being planted.

With the soil now nice and warm the direct sown crops should be going in. Potatoes, onions, shallots and early carrots were all sown weeks ago and are now powering on. Going this month are main crop carrots snowball turnips, beet, direct sown dwarf and climbing beans .

Kale seedlings

Curly Kale seedlings ready to be pricked out.

In boxes and trays are loads more salad crops. I am also thinking about autumn and winter with brassicas such as kale, winter cabbages and sprouting broccoli to start off in seed cell trays.

Cucumber seedling

A surviving cucumber seedling from the hardening off process.

A cautionary note when planting out tender plants is to watch the weather. Whilst we will be getting lovely warm days the weather can swing wildly and your softies may need protection. I have just lost half of my cucumbers.

Try out new and interesting varieties of seeds.

Every year I like to try new veg varieties. This is really fun to explore the seed catalogues and find something new and interesting. There are always interesting varieties of potatoes and tomatoes that are either new or old discoveries. I am particularly keen on the wonderful variety of Italian salad plants many of which are winter hardy. A further source of endless interest are the old heritage varieties to be found in specialist seed catalogues, Some are now finding their way into the mainstream catalogues.

Water tender seedlings, but not too much!

The recent very hot weather has taken some special measures. I am a strong proponent of restraint with the watering can. Let your established plants sink their roots and find the moisture. It is there and that is what they are programmed to do and you will have stronger, healthier plants. However sudden hot dry weather at this time leaves tender seedlings very vulnerable Keep them well watered, daily if necessary.

Sweetcorn plants in the sunshine

Sweetcorn plants growing well in the sunlight.

What do I love most about this time of year? The warming days and most, the lengthening daylight hours. It is the daylight that really brings on plant growth.

And finally, love all of your wonderful veg varieites but don't forget the flowers!!

Until next time.



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