May is the time that the garden slows down ready for the colder winter months.  Many of the month's tasks involve preparing the plants for frosts and wet weather.

Spring bulbs should now be planted and once the harder frosts have started, summer flowering bulbs and tubers should be lifted and dried off to be stored in a cool dry place. While the soil is still workable a good hoe around the garden to clean up the weeds will ensure they are under control for the rest of winter. The last of the leaves will be finished by the end of the month so a clean up before they get too wet will be a lot easier. Look around your paths for any signs of moss that might make the path slippery, and treat with a moss killer (the same can be done for lawns).

Repairs to lawns may be done while the weather is still mild but try to complete it before the end of the month. I would recommend that any stone fruit trees be treated with a copper spray as soon as possible. This will be a good start on controlling leaf curl and brown rot next season.

This month is also a good time to plant trees and shrubs while the conditions are still workable; it allows the plants to settle in before the ground becomes too wet.

The vegetable garden will be slowing down, although do keep winter crops weed free. Garlic may now be planted.

As the autumn perennials finish flowering cut them back by two thirds or lift and divide.

Good Gardening, Michael Coulter

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