This month I’m coaxing the more tender plants, like chillies, basil and tomatoes, along on the window-sill at home, the slightly tougher or more advanced ones, like french beans, have been upgraded to the cold frame by the back door, whilst some vegetable seeds are already in place at the allotment.
We’re well into May and I’d like to get everything growing away and flourishing, but despite consistent rain recently and a fair amount of additional compost, the soil is dry just under the surface, so I’ve been watering as much as I can to give the tiny seeds help to get going.
Meanwhile, this is what to sow now:
Squash and courgette seeds, plant them in their sides in a 4in pot, water and cover with a plastic bag until a couple of leaves appear, remove the bag and wait until there’s no possibility of frost before they’re planted out. Harden the plants off for about 10 days before they’re planted out permenantly .
Runner beans and french beans can be started off inside now,the method is the same as above. I find this more reliable than planting them directly into the ground.
Seed to sow directly into the ground:
I’ve already started sowing beetroot, chard, carrots and radishes at that allotment, but there’s plenty of time to get them in the ground this month if you haven’t done so yet. Sow little and often to avoid a glut, these are some of the most obligingly quick seeds to germinate.
I never got round to sowing these, I probably could still sow some this month and have them to eat in summer, but if you were more organised than me and have good-sized plants you can pinch out their tips now to encourage the bean pods to form.
Keep adding soil around the base of the plant as they grow, the first lot I planted back in March are getting quite big, though still a way to go before they flower and are ready to dig up.
Rhubarb is flourishing and there’s plenty of apple blossom on the trees:
This isn’t the most creative task, but most satisfying and pays dividends if it’s done now.
all photos: Jill Anderson