The Gardening Year May 2019
The weather during the past month has been extremely cold and wet and while storm Hannah battered the south of Ireland we still received a lot of wind and rain, however, now that May is around the corner, there are plenty of jobs that can be undertaken.
Early daffodils will be finished flowering, however don’t be tempted to cut their leaves away or bend them down as this foliage feeds the still growing bulb in the soil ensuring better blooms the following year. Packets of dahlia, begonia and gladioli are in the shops and can be purchased now, grow them indoors and when all frost has finished at the end of the month plant them outdoors. Keep a careful look out for slugs and snails too as they will devour young fresh foliage, last year I had great success with copper strips around my favourite plants, apparently they give our slimy friends a nasty shock when they try to cross the metal, so they stay away, Try and look for an alternative to slug pellets as they can kill birds and hedgehogs.
Summer bedding plants will become available towards the middle of the month, but be cautious as regards planting them outdoors as we can get frost until the first week of June and it will kill them.
Its great fun planting up baskets. Tubs and window boxes, choose a good quality compost the more expensive ones may contain water storing crystals and slow release fertiliser which will ensure that your baskets remain healthy all summer, if you want to have some filled bring them to your nearest garden centre or florist and they will do them for you, the sooner you drop them off the better they will look.
Vegetable /Fruit Garden
Continue earthing-up potatoes. Thin carrots parsnip beetroot seeds etc. and give the plants a good watering afterwards. Protect crops from carrot root fly by covering them with horticultural fleece.
Continue to make sowing of lettuce to ensure a supply of fresh leaves throughout the summer.
Any roses not pruned in March Early April will have a lot of growth now, its too late to give them a good cut back but dead wood, crossing and diseased branches should be removed, apply a good rose fertilizer to the roots and keep a look out for black spot and greenfly, these can be treated with rose spray or warm soapy water, good hygiene is very important with roses so all dead diseased or dying leaves should be removed.
Growth will be starting now, have your mower and strimmer serviced in good time to beat the rush, apply sulphate of Iron to any mossy areas to kill it, wear gloves a mask and eye protection when using any chemicals, think safety first, keep children dogs and cats indoors while spraying and always follow the manufactures guidelines.
Feed fish now as they will be hungry and need to build up reserves for winter, divide water plants in early May.