May heralds the end of autumn and the beginning of winter so many of the tasks this month involve cleaning up around the garden and doing repairs and maintenance on green houses, shade houses and any structures used for climbing plants.

Autumn has been mild and dry so far, so many of the plants have not yet dried off (dahlias and begonias) or frosted back. This may delay lifting them for the winter but if you want to plant some of the winter /spring plants you can lift them and place them in trays to dry off.

Spring bulbs will need to be planted before the end of the month as the colder wetter weather will make it more difficult once it arrives.

Any frost tender plants in pots need to be moved into sheltered areas or in a green house to over winter them.

Plants that are in the ground and in need of protection will need to have the frost cloth cleaned and ready to put over the plants.

Winter vegetable crops must be kept weed free. Broad beans can be sown now, the ground prepared for garlic and any empty ground sown in a green crop.

Once all the leaves have fallen from the fruit trees the first of the winter copper/ conquer oil sprays may be applied.

The last of the indoor tomato, cucumber, chilli and pepper crops will now be finished so clean them out of all their plant material and give the area a good wash before any other plants are moved in for the winter. This will help prevent any pest or disease carry over to next season.

Soon the grass will stop growing and once the ground gets cold repairs and new grass seeding will not be as successful.

The grass should not be cut too short now so raise the cutting height. 

Moss treatment should now be completed.

Geranium cuttings may be taken this month before the frosts spoil them. 

Good gardening, Michael Coulter

Remember: bring your questions to our monthly AAG meeting, post them on HortTalk or email Michael directly beforehand