Seeds to plant now:

Indoor or in a heated greenhouse

Coriander

Cress

Cucumber

Forget-me-not

Ornamental pepper

Tomato

Outside

Alyssum

Amaranthus

Aster

Basil, Sweet basil, Common basil

Beet, Beetroot, Chard

Beetroot, Garden beet

Borecole, Kale

Broccoli

Cabbage

Candytuft

Cardoon

Carrot

Cauliflower

Celery

Cornflower

Courgette

Delphinium

French bean, fine bean

Hollyhock

Italian beetroot, Beetroot, Garden beet

Kohl rabi

Lettuce

Love-in-a-mist

Marrow

Nasturtium

Normandy sorrel

Ornamental winter kale

Radish

Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia

Runner bean

Spinach

Spinach, Summer spinach

Spring onion

Sweet corn

Sweet pea

Swiss chard, Ruby chard, Rhubard chard

Turnip

Outside under cover

Cucumber

Sweet corn


Shows and events:

01/05/2018 - 30/06/2018

Arundel Castle and Gardens Allium extravaganza

27/05/2018 - 27/05/2018

Kingston Bagpuize House Rare Plant Fair

30/05/2018 - 02/06/2018

The Royal Bath and West Show

11/06/2018 - 17/06/2018

Bristol Food Connections

14/06/2018 - 17/06/2018

BBC Gardeners' World Live

14/06/2018 - 17/06/2018

BBC Good Food Summer Show

Welcome to the UKGardening Internet site.

The UKGardening web site has been running since 1998. The idea behind the site has always been to provide what we think will be interesting and useful information for the novice gardener.

Jobs to do in the garden this week.

  • Harden off summer bedding plants by bringing them out of the greenhouse during the day but returning them under glass at night. A May frost is not uncommon in the UK.
  • When the leaves of cyclamen have fallen, stop watering and allow the bulbs to dry out.
  • Continually nip out side shoots from upright (cordon) tomato plants. These reduce the amount of food available to fruit baring branches. If growing plants in the greenhouse, nip out the growing tip after the plant has produced 4-5 fruiting trusses, reduce this to 3-4 if growing tomatoes outside. See here, for more information: https://youtu.be/zFBgCBaFSnk
  • Cover strawberries and fruit bushes with netting to protect them from birds. Start to feed the plants weekly when the fruit starts to form.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs, including ceanothus and forsythia, after they have bloomed. Give topiary a light trim after a spurt in spring growth.
  • Buy plants in strips or trays that are compact and sturdy, the compost that they are growing in should be moist. Try to buy plants in bud, with few open blooms.
  • Dead head azaleas and rhododendrons.
  • Introduce fish into a new pond.
  • If your daffodils, in the past, have been attacked by the narcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris - the larvae will eat the centre of the bulb), firm down the soil around the bulbs or use fleece or similar to cover daffodil bulbs to stop female flies from laying eggs, preventing their larvae causing damage. Derris powder was traditionally used as a treatment, but it is no longer available (Derris powder contains high levels of the rotenone, which is a strong insecticide, toxic to fish, it has also been linked to Parkinson's disease. All derris based products have been withdrawn from sale in the UK from October 2009) and chemical alternatives aren't available.
  • Once forced bulbs have finished flowering, plant them out into the garden.
  • Remove any wayward growing raspberry shoots. They will just crowd the fruiting canes.
  • Stake and tie perennials to prevent them being broken by wind and rain. Remove fading delphinium flowers to encourage a second flowering.
  • Paint shading on the greenhouse glass, or use shading to lessen the scorching effect of the sun and to keep temperatures lower.
  • Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet.
  • Pinch out the growing tips of annuals and some perennials to create a stockier plant and to encourage more flowers More information here.
  • Sow hardy annuals in their flowering positions to fill any gaps in the border.
  • Check gooseberries for sawfly. Prune this year's growth back to 4-5 leaves (this shouldn't affect fruit as they appear on old wood).
  • Pots, planters and hanging baskets can be planted up now, although keep them covered at night until all chance of frost has passed. See the hanging basket project for further information.
  • Some perennials appreciate a late May prune, known as the Chelsea Chop (as it's done around the same time as the famous flower show) encouraging stronger and stockier plants often with an extended flowering period. Cut stems back by a third or a half. Plants that benefit include penstemon, hardy chrysanthemums, tall sedums, helenium and echinacea.
  • Earth up the first early potatoes that were planted in March, to stop the tubers being exposed to light, turning green.
  • Cut runners from strawberries (unless trying to propagate more plants). Runners will divert energy away from crop production.
  • Remove spring bedding plants and lift and store spring flowering bulbs (with the exception of snowdrops).
  • Prune helichrysum and artemisias shrubs to encourage bushy plants.
  • Clean the leaves of smooth leaved house plants. Wipe large leaves such as those found on rubber plants, swiss cheese plants and umberella plants, with a damp cloth. Smaller leaved plants can be dipped in a bowl of clean water. Do not attempt to wash the leaves of 'hairy' leaved plants such as african violets, use a soft brush such as a paint brush or a used toothbrush.
  • Support herbaceous border plants with canes, where they will be needed in late summer. It's easier to do this now while the plants are still small, this also reduces the risk of damaging the roots later in the season.
  • Prune plum trees, paint fresh cuts with Arborex to prevent infection.
  • May is an ideal time to create ponds / pools. Click here to see the pond project page.
  • Spray roses with 'Rose Clear' to kill aphids and protect from blackspot.
  • Trim hedges to encourage the branches to thicken up and to keep them neat and tidy.
  • Take soft wood cuttings from thyme. Thyme cuttings take easily, so they can be stuck in the soil or in pots. Remember that thyme likes full sun and hates to be grown in the shade.
  • Plant out greenhouse grown runner beans or sow them at the base of wigwams 5cm (2in) deep. Keep well watered.
  • Fuchias flower from the ends of their branches, nipping out the growing tip will encourage more shoots, creating a bushier plant with more flowers.
  • Replant dahlia tubers that have been lifted and stored for the winter. Put a stake in now to save damaging the plant and roots once it has started growing.
  • Propagate marginal pond plants. Take short cuttings, remove lower leaves and push stems into pots of mud. Keep top of the pots just under the surface of the water.
  • Lots of tender plants can be grown outside in containers between May and September as long as the pot is big enough and they get enough water and the occasional feed.
  • If becoming boisterous, prune spring-flowering clematis including alpina and macropetala after flowering. Use cuttings to propagate new plants.
  • The adult vine weevil, the number one garden pest, will be emerging from the soil as the temperatures rise.
  • Control weeds in lawns with a selective weedkiller. Don't cut the grass for at least a week after applying. Don't put these grass cuttings on the compost heap.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails. More suggestions to reduce slug and snail damage.
  • Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
  • Thin out seedlings, leaving the strongest growing plants. Water the soil gently beforehand to reduce soil disturbance.
  • Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
  • Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
  • Feed established roses, fortnightly, with a rose fertilizer, dead-head regularly and check for aphids and black spot.
  • Lift, divide and replant chives.
  • Remove the dead heads of spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, before they have a chance to produce seed. This will encourage the plant to store energy in the bulb rather than wasting it on seed production.
  • If your lawn is more moss than grass, then treat with a lawn moss killer. Bare in mind that the moss will turn black within a couple of days, so don't be too alarmed. A couple of weeks after application, if you are left with bare patches in your lawn, mix equal quantities of grass seed and seived compost and scatter over the patches, cover areas with fine netting or twigs gently pushed into the soil, to protect from birds and animals. Combination lawn feed and moss killer is available, but feeding your lawn when it's not necessary will encourage it to grow quicker and therefore need to be cut more regularly.
  • Transplant any self-set aquilegia, lupins and hollyhocks to new locations.
  • Sow vegetable seeds (courgette, marrow, runner and French beans) in the vegetable patch and salad seeds (lettuce, spring onion and radish) little and often to provide a staggered harvest through the summer.
  • Scatter growmore granules under fruit trees and bushes, especially apple, pear and plum trees. If it doesn't rain for a couple of days, water the granules in with a hose or watering can. Growmore is a slow release, general fertiliser, it includes the three main plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphates and potassium).
  • Your pond may have started to turn green and cloudy. This is due to a rapid increase in algae, which flourish in the warmer spring temperatures. Once the pond plants start to grow again, especially the oxygenating plants, these will use up the nutrients and create shade, reducing the amount of algae. To speed up the clearing of the water, drop a small string bag/pair of old tights stuffed with barley straw, into the pond. Weigh the straw down, so that it floats just below the surface of the water.

    As the straw breaks down, it produces hydrogen peroxide, which reduces and inhibits the growth of algae and blanket weed. If the algae is particularly bad, barley straw extract can be bought in liquid form and added to the pond water (follow the instructions on the bottle, but as a guide before purchasing,125ml treats approximately 4,500 litres/1,000 gallons, but multiple, fortnightly treatments through the year may be necessary). If you have a fountain or waterfall, try to position the barley straw underneath this. Remove and replace the barley with new straw after about six months, before it completely rots down, polluting the water.

    The small, pre-filled barley straw bags to add to your pond, cost about £2 each, but you can buy a 17 litre pack, which will last a few years for less than a fiver from your local pet shop or Amazon here: Supreme Petfoods Tiny Friends Farm Russell & Gerty Barley Straw, 17 Litres Blagdon Extract of Barley Straw - 250ml

  • Weed and spread compost from the compost bin over the borders and vegtable patch. This adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.
  • As it's starting to warm up, it's a good time to lay a new lawn, althought the best time is in Autumn or late winter, as it's damper and cooler, allowing the turf to bed in without you having to worry too much about regular watering. See here: laying a new lawn for further information.
  • Remove algae and moss from patios and paths with a proprietary patio and path cleaner or tar-oil winter wash.

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