Last week, Prestonians basked in what is said to have been the hottest April in the UK for 6 years. Temperatures soared up to 20 degrees and the sky remained clear of clouds. However, throughout the hot spell, the people of Preston, Lancashire were under strict government guidance to ‘stay at home’.
Complying residents’, those who are not classified as key-workers and those not working from home replaced the usual day out to the nearby beaches of Lytham and Blackpool with barbecues at home, lounging on home garden furniture and taking the tools out of the shed to do some gardening tasks.
Although the weather is set to be a little bit ‘wetter’ in the coming week, local gardener Ian has provided Podio Magazine readers with some of his top tips and guidance on those jobs that can be carried out in the garden in May.
Keep weeds under control
The exceptionally good weather, although good for plants, is also good for weeds. Ian recommends that residents keep a close eye on weeds in the garden over the next month. Extra growth could overwhelm the garden and other plants.
Protect fruit blossom from late frosts
Although seemingly frost worries have passed, there is little cloud cover which could cause colder nights. Check the weather regularly to ensure frosts are not expected and protect where necessary.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses
As the growth period begins, it is time to tie, guide and train climbing plants such as roses. Ensure that you use soft twine rather than wire. The wire can cut through tender growing stems.
Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wildflower seed
Now is a perfect time to plant out hardy annuals, herbs and wildflowers. Why not also plant out peas either as seedlings or plant directly into fertile ground. It is also recommended to put up netting before the plants have started growing rather than after.
Sow courgettes, pumpkins, sweetcorn & squashes.
Even though garden centres are closed There are still plenty of places to find seeds such as supermarkets. These can also be found in garden magazines.
Harvesting and sowing potatoes
Earth up potatoes that have flowered. Ian generally grows potatoes in tubs or grow sacks, if you do make sure they are in a plot with good drainage.
Purchase some good plant food on your next essential shop and start to feed plants. Tomato feed such as Tomorite is still relatively easy to obtain at supermarkets and to store. Feed hungry shrubs and plants sooner to get the best from them throughout the year.
Increase the water given to houseplants. Do not forget to increase watering of your indoor plants, this is their growing time and light levels are increasing each day.
Now is the time to start sowing new lawns from grass seed and fixing bare patches. Make sure to keep the ground moist to let grass seed grow.
This year, Ian is going to be planting out veg such as runner beans. Runner beans are edible, although Ian doesn’t like them too much. However, he will be growing them to donate to a local food bank.