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Your gardening calendar: Top tasks for May!

Our monthly calendar guides focus on what we do: Wildflowers, edible crops and wildlife. Here, we'll take you step-by-step through the most important sowing, growing and nature-friendly tasks for May.

Sowing and growing wildflowers

You've still got time - just!

Lots of native wildflowers can be sown at two key times - from March to May (for flowering the same summer) or from mid-August to mid-October (for flowering the following spring).

That means if you'd like to see wildflowers blooming on your patch this summer, you need to act fast.

Cornfield annuals mix, field poppy, wild blue cornflower, foxglove and borage seeds can all be sown during May.

May is also a good time to try sowing sunflower seeds directly into the ground.

They're not a wildflower, but we sell them because they're a fantastic source of food for birds and bees (and great fun for the wee ones 😊)

Sowing and growing fruit, vegetables and herbs

Sowing and growing outdoors

May is a busy month when it comes to sowing vegetable seeds directly into the ground.

With the risk of late frosts finally receding, now is a great time to sow your beetroot, radishes, carrots, parsnips, chard, cabbages, brussels sprouts, chives, coriander, lettuces, peas, rocket and other salad leaves, spring onions, swede and turnips.


Sowing and growing indoors

In Britain (particularly Scotland) it can be safer to wait until May to sow any plants that originated in warmer climates.

Basil, rosemary, courgette and squash all fall into this category. You've still got time to get the seedlings started on a sunny windowsill, or in your greenhouse.

If you're growing tomatoes already, you will probably need to pot the young plants on into larger containers during May.

Tomato plants need plenty of nutrients, and many people choose to give them a tomato-specific liquid feed (diluted in water) once the first flower heads appear.

Top tips to help wildlife

Give your local wildlife space - and do no harm

May is a very busy time for wildlife - as the weather gets warmer and vegetation really begins to thrive, wild creatures will be making the most of the better conditions to raise their young.

In previous months, we've suggested ways you can create a really wildlife-friendly environment in your garden. Now, the main way you can help wildlife is to give it some space, and avoid the urge to 'tidy'!

That means no hedge-cutting (birds may well be sitting on eggs or feeding hatchlings).

Plantlife's 'No Mow May' campaign is a great, easy initiative - simply let your lawn grow. And (as we explained back in April) please don't strim unless you've checked the whole area first!

Avoid using weedkiller or pesticides. This is important at any time, but particularly when so many pollinating insects are looking for food, and anywhere near a wildlife pond. Chemicals can easily leach into the water and kill tadpoles, pond skaters and other aquatic life.

Finally, keep cats indoors as much as possible - particularly if there are birds nesting nearby. Much as we love them, cats are sadly responsible for thousands of fledgling deaths every year.

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