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Gardening through the year

Gardening jobs for May

Article 5 of 13

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Gardening jobs for May

May is here, so it's time to mow the lawn, plant bedding and get those weeds under control.

 Mow the lawn

The grass will be growing strongly as the weather warms up.

  • Cut the grass once a week, as most mowers struggle to cut grass if it gets too long.
  • A quick trick to get it looking smart if you don't have time to mow is to cut the lawn edges. Read our reviews of our Best Buy grass trimmers.
  • If your lawn mower is past its best, take a look at our reviews of the Best Buy lawn mowers.

Plant summer bedding

Tender summer-bedding plants, such as petunias and marigolds, should be safe to plant outside in many parts of the country from mid-May onwards, once the danger of frost has passed.

  • When buying plants, look for ones that are green and bushy with plenty of flower buds, rather than open blooms.
  • Dig over the ground before you plant, removing any weeds.
  • Give the bedding plants a thorough soak with water and then plant them at the distance recommended on the label or seed packet.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and cover with fleece if frost is forecast.

Control weeds

It's not just the plants you want that thrive at this time of year - weeds will be growing strongly, too.

  • Catch weeds while they're small by hoeing borders and the veg garden once a week.
  • Paths, drives and patios can be kept weed-free by spraying with a path weedkiller. Many of these prevent weeds returning for several months after they are applied.
  • Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, have roots that will regrow if you just kill the leaves. They will eventually weaken over time if you hoe them off, or you could try to dig out the roots. Alternatively, spray them with a weedkiller containing glyphosate.

Grow your own vegetables

May is a funny month, when winter crops and stored veg have all been eaten but very few of this year's crops are ready. There's plenty you can do now for tasty veg to harvest this year.

  • Plant the following veg outdoors: artichokes, Brussels sprouts, celery, courgettes, pumpkins, squash, sweetcorn and tomatoes.
  • Sow the following veg outdoors: beetroot, carrots, cauliflowers, chicory, cucumbers, French beans, kohlrabi, pumpkins, runner beans, salads, spring onions, sprouting broccoli, squash, swedes and sweetcorn.
  • Cover the emerging shoots of potatoes with soil. Doing this helps to prevent light reaching the tubers. If they're exposed to light, they turn green because of an increase in chlorophyll, which makes them have a high level of glycoalkaloids toxins.
  • Make the most of the space in your veg garden by sowing quick-growing crops, such as salads, between longer-term residents, such as brassicas, while they're establishing.
  • Watch out video guide to veg jobs for May.

Cut evergreen hedges

May is a good time to trim evergreen hedges, such as lonicera, box and yew; it will get their edges looking crisp and neat.

  • Small hedges can be trimmed with shears.
  • Larger hedges are best tackled with a hedge trimmer - see our reviews of our Best Buy hedgetrimmers.
  • It is illegal to disturb nesting birds, so be sure to check the hedges for signs of nests before you start the job.