May should be the month when you feel winter has definitely departed and summer is on her way – I am sure this may be the case in the South of England but as I write, for us in Scotland, I still feel we are in the grip of a cold Spring – we had snow and hail last week.
I always find the month of May to be the leanest of months for fruit and vegetable production – all your winter crops have gone and you are just waiting for the early sowings to come good – there is only ever so much spring onions, rhubarb and salad leaves you can live off!
However, the soil is getting warmer, you can physically feel this when you enter your hands deep into the earth – this means action is all about to happen. Our lawns here are covered in dandelion flowers and the bees are ecstatic collecting bright orange pollen – great excuse not to cut the lawn! There are lots of tasks to do this month and here are a few suggestions:
- Now is a perfect time to start sowing seeds outside: I can never sow enough annual flowers directly into the soil – my firm favourites are Cornflowers, Chamomiles, Field Poppies, Nasturtium, Flax and Californian Poppies (electric colours with some hallucinogenic properties but that’s a whole different article!)
Also, you can sow directly some vegetables and I love sowing lots of carrots, parsnips, beans and peas.
- May is also the month where I love to plant up all my clay pots which I have surrounding the back of the house – I especially love plants that will self-seed and free flow in the gravel such as wild strawberry and bugle but my favourite has to be field campion, which is truly beautiful and spreads so easily. Also, planting a climbing strain of nasturtiums intermixed with calendulas brings bright colour to any corner.
- This is a perfect time to do some clearing and keeping on top of our indigenous wild plants to allow your cultivated flowers and veg to get established – but please always leave a part of your garden to welcome the wild plants that most people call ‘weeds’- these are my all-time passion.
- Enriching your soil is a must – now is a good time to spread a thick mulch, home-made if possible – you can start to mix and use your grass cuttings. Healthy, rich soil is the key to any garden and to be honest for the survival of the human race on this planet but again, that’s another story!
Wherever you are, listening to the bird song at this time of year, early in the morning, is magical, mixed with watching the honey bees busy on the dandelion flowers – the real gift of May.