May

It's starting to get busy on the allotment as May breaks. The first month of summer and as the weather is really starting to warm up and there is loads to do in preparation for the summer ahead. May can easily catch us out with is variable weather, from mini-droughts and heatwaves to frosts so it's always a time to be weary.

TASKS TO BE GETTING ON WITH OUTDOORS...

  • Earthing up potatoes once the shoots are around 25cm above the ground, this will help any new tubers to grow under the soil and avoid them turning green as the plant grows taller. Try to leave about 5cm of shoots showing so the plant has enough foliage to continue growing.
  • Sow French beans, runner beans and squash outdoors but remember to be weary of those late frosts.
  • Plant out strawberries and line the bed with straw, the aim of this is to lift the fruit off damp ground and to stop soil splashing on to the ripening fruit – which encourages rotting.
  • Time for any courgettes, summer cabbages and leeks to be planted out.
  • Plant corn, plant in blocks as they are wind pollenated and also the the outer plants will help shelter the inner plants from high winds, here's a good guide on block planting corn.
  • Netting soft fruits to avoid them being eaten.
  • Some outdoor varieties of tomato seedlings can be planted out.

AND IN THE GREENHOUSE OR POLYTUNNEL...

  • Peppers, chillies, aubergines and cucumbers can get their final resting places inside. Really keep an eye on them when small to make sure the hotter days don't fry them. Some chillies can even be moved outdoor, capsicum pubescens and Ethiopian pepper trees can withstand slightly cooler climates but still need warm sunny locations.
  • Plant out tomatoes seedlings.

GENERAL TASKS AROUND THE ALLOTMENT...

  • Construct / repair any rainwater collection systems you may have to get any water-butts full before the warm months.
  • Regular hoeing to fend off the weeds.
  • Set up poles for French and runner beans.
  • Watch out for black-fly on broadbeans, green-fly on peas, carrot-fly on... well... carrots. For black-fly and green-fly, you can squish by running your forefinger and thumb up the stems, or use soapy water.

As I said before, loads to be doing right now.