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Top gardening jobs for May

Summer is approaching, and it's time to get your garden set for colourful displays and tasty home-grown veg

Top gardening jobs for May

May marks the month when the danger of frost should pass in most areas from mid-month onwards. Don’t be in a rush to plant until then as you don’t want to lose your valuable plants.

The warming temperatures will also see your grass growing strongly, and the garden becoming more and more colourful. However, watch out for weeds and pests becoming more commonplace.

For in-depth advice about what to do in your garden each month, subscribe to Which? Gardening for just £5 – either online or by calling 029 2267 0000.

1. Plant hanging baskets and patio pots

  • Look out for bedding plants at the local hardware shop or at the supermarket when you do your weekly shop. Easy plants for pots and baskets include petunias, fuchsias, pelargoniums, begonias and diascia.
  • Look out for ‘trailing’ varieties for hanging baskets as they will naturally spill over the edges of the basket.
  • Use a Best Buy compost for patio pots and mix in some controlled-release feed before you plant. This will keep the plants healthy and well fed until late summer, when you’ll need to start feeding with tomato feed.
  • Water your containers well and make sure you water them daily during the summer as they can dry out very quickly.

Try a Best Buy compost for pots

Learn how to plant a hanging basket

2. Earth up potatoes

Potatoes get damaged by frost, which leaves brown scorch marks on their leaves. To stop your plants getting damaged, cover the whole plant with compost or soil. It might look strange to cover a plant, but the potato will soon grow through the cover. Earthing up also helps to avoid potatoes growing the surface turning green in the light.

Watch our video about how to grow potatoes


3. Buy plants via mail order

It’s been a tough year for plant nurseries as they haven’t been able to sell their plants at gardening shows, garden club talks and open gardens. We can all do our bit to help them by ordering plants online.

Check the list of recommended nurseries on the Which? Gardening Facebook group

Find plant stockists near you

4. Watch out for pests

Many pests proliferate as plants grow strongly. It’s best not spray them as you can kill pollinators, such as bees, by mistake. There are also insects that will help control the pests for you, such as the larvae of ladybirds, and these can also be killed by spraying. Instead, be vigilant and pick off or squash any pests you find.

Watch out for:

Check the Which? Gardening helpdesk

5. Remove weeds

With the extra time in our gardens, it’s a great chance to check for weeds more frequently, and catch them before they can make big plants and spread themselves by seed. Rather than using weedkillers, dig them out, removing as much of their roots as possible – as in some weeds, such as dandelions, these can regrow if left in the soil. If the weather is dry, you can kill weeds by cutting them off with a hoe.

How to deal with:

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