In the second part of our gardening series, green-fingered guru Cinead McTernan tells you what flowers, fruit and veg to grow, and what other jobs to tackle
Welcome to the second instalment in our three-part series, in which we are helping you to get your garden ready for the warmer months.
We haven't had the best of springs, with plenty of wind, rain and even sleet. But try to stick to the task in hand, as you'll be thankful for it when the weather finally turns and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Remember that Boundless members can get money off gardening tools, seeds and accessories from retailers such as Wickes and B&Q. To find out more, visit our Shopping Discounts Hub.
Flowers to sow in May
Zinnias – Perfect for a cut-flower or cottage garden, these bright annuals should be sown directly in moist, well-draining, prepared soil, in a sunny position. Seedlings will appear after a week or two. When they are large enough to handle, thin them out to about 20cm apart. Don't know what kind of zinnias to grow? BBC Gardeners' World magazine has published a helpful guide here.
Annual meadow flowers – If you have a sunny patch, annual meadow flowers will put on a magnificent display throughout the summer, as well as providing plenty of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies. Prepare for sowing by clearing, digging over and raking the desired area so that the soil is fine, and follow the directions on the packet for the right quantity to sow for the size of your area. Keep weeds at bay and water seedlings in dry weather.
Fruit and vegetables to sow in May
Carrots – Grow in containers to avoid the dreaded carrot root fly, which can't fly higher than 60cm. At this time of year, choose a maincrop variety and sow seeds thinly about 1cm deep, in rows about 20cm apart. Unless the weather is particularly dry, they won't require too much watering, but keep on top of weeds as the seedlings appear. Read BBC Gardeners' World's guide to combatting carrot root fly.
Pumpkins – You can't beat carving a homegrown Jack O’Lantern when Halloween comes around. Pumpkins are easy to grow, and there’s lots of choice when it comes to size and colour. However, they do need space, sunshine and plenty of organic matter as they are heavy feeders.
French beans – Choose a sheltered site and build a cane support, tying the poles together at the top to form a wigwam. Prior to sowing, dig-in well-rotted organic matter. Sow five seeds at the base of each pole, about 4cm deep, and water well – especially when flowering. Remember to keep an eye out for slugs.
Other gardening jobs to do in May
Cover soft fruit with netting – Just as we look forward to eating fresh, juicy berries once they appear, so do the birds! The easiest way to tackle this issue is to cover plants with netting. Create a barrier with bamboo poles or similar, and secure the netting on top of it.
Chelsea chop – Named after the prestigious flower show, which usually takes place at this time of year, this technique is an effective way to encourage flowers to put on a second flush, as well as control their overall size and shape. After cutting back, feed and water well. Try it on asters, echinacea, phlox, heleniums and sedums. Read RHS's guide to doing a Chelsea chop.
Do more with Boundless
As a Boundless member, you can benefit from year-round discounts on gardening equipment, as well as access to the Boundless Gardening Group, through which you can share inspiration with likeminded enthusiasts and attend a calendar of exclusive events. To find out more, visit our dedicated membership page.
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