P and A Gardening diary

May, well into Spring...

MAY is the month which for gardeners will see the hard work that has been undertaken during the early Spring rewarded with plenty of healthy green and growing vegetable plants and flowers, replacing the brown soil of winter.  By this stage, many of you will have your greenhouses and polytunnels full of all sorts of different plants; so it may be more of a case as to where can you find the space to grow other types of produce for your garden in the coming months? Therefore, May is a great time of year to step back and reflect on what you’ve achieved to date, and think about other vegetables and flowers that can be sown for the Summer.
One of the most difficult decisions for any gardener is deciding if the weather is warm enough to plant outdoors. There is an old English expression, dating back to at least the 18th century which goes along the lines of “Ne'er cast a clout till May be out” which probably has different meanings – but one interpretation could be is to not forget that this month can still be cold, with even a possible risk of frost. So our advice is to make sure you plan out the next few weeks carefully in terms of what to sow outdoors and what should be planted indoors.
With a number of vegetable plants that you may have planted earlier in the year becoming established (such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots etc.) why not think about sowing French and runner beans (a particular favourite), squash or even pumpkin seeds? These can probably be sowed outside now, but equally would benefit (especially perhaps in this part of North West France!) of being planted indoors in your greenhouse or polytunnel. Young plants may then be planted out once there is settled warm weather and after they have been hardened off for, say, 10-14 days.
Aside from the vegetables, a flower that can be grown from seed at this time of the year – and will bring colour to your garden (whether they are of the deep yellow variety, a sumptuous orange or have a rich red tone) is the Marigold. This plant will flower from July until October, so it’s an excellent choice for many beds and borders. The Marigold is a beautiful flower which is quite hardy when fully grown, but equally it is loved by snails and slugs so it will need some protection when still a tender young seedling and plant. They take some time to get going, but once they do, they will spread and add vitality on a long Summer’s day.
Happy Gardening.