Planting time is here! May is arguably the best month in the veg patch. All the herbs have sprung back into life, with rosemary and chive flowers adding a punch of colour, the soil has started to warm up and plants are ready to go in the ground. Be wary of the chilly nights though…
What to harvest
There’s not usually a huge amount to harvest in May as most winter/spring crops will have been harvested already and spring planted veggies won’t be ready yet. But you may have some last kale plants or spring onions to pull up! Other than that, it’s a great time for perennial herbs and we’d recommend using the time to harvest some herbs that are already established to make some delicious pestos and flavoursome oils or mint sauce for lamb.
What to plant
Pretty much all the veg and herbs from the Rocket Gardens range can be planted this month so it really is the perfect time to fill up your veg patch.
Tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and peppers (and melons) will all benefit from plenty of warmth, so if you don’t have a polytunnel/greenhouse then they are best kept on a sunny windowsill in pots until the weather warms up.
Lettuces, leaves and some herbs like coriander will benefit from a little dappled shade if possible to keep them cooler in the summer sun.
Everything else will be happy planted outside in a sheltered spot that gets plenty of sunshine through the day.
Jobs to do
This month is all about watering, weeding and pest prevention. Make sure that when you plant your seedlings you keep them well watered (the soil should be moist but not waterlogged) so that they can get easy access to water and nutrients while they are putting down their roots.
Slugs can be a particular problem in the early days as younger plants are more vulnerable. Use a combination of tactics to try and keep on top of them – slug traps, grit around the base of the plants, a dusk patrol on damp evenings (see below)
Pigeons and rabbits can be a problem, so make sure that crops are protected from these if they are in your area – pop a net over brassicas, and use chicken wire to keep bunnies out!
Keep weeds down by hoeing off emerging seedlings regularly. You can use a mulch to suppress weeds – compost and leaf mould work well.
Finally, when you are waiting for your plants to arrive, try to get all the preparations done – build bean and pea supports, dig over and weed raised beds, clean greenhouse windows, cut out brassica collars and so on.