Your guide to gardening in May! We're entering the final month of autumn, and we've certainly been enjoying the crisp, cool weather (although it seems the rain is now upon us!). It can seem like a slower time in the garden, but there's still plenty to keep busy with this month. Planting, tidying, replenishing and preparing. Read on for your May garden task check-list.
WHAT TO PLANT THIS MONTH
There's plenty to plant this month, here are a few ideas...
Garlic & shallots, onions, broad beans, rhubarb, parsley, kale, broccoli, bok choy, a first lot of strawberries, and feijoas (feijoas can be planted any time of year, but autumn is best!). May is a good time to plant any other new trees and shrubs you have in mind, so they can get established over the cooler, wetter months.
A note on garlic: Start planting garlic cloves in cooler areas of the country. You want to get these in before the shortest day of the year (mid-late June). Ideally you want to buy your garlic bulbs from a garden centre, but if you do buy from the supermarket make sure you get NZ grown - NOT imported.
A note on strawberries: Strawberries need a good period of chilling over winter if you want earlier & longer yielding plants. Start planting now through till July so your strawberries get the benefits of those cold winter temperatures (however you can plant right up until November).
As always, prepare your garden beds before planting with plenty of organic matter: compost (home-made is best!), worm castings, sheep pellets etc.
IN THE FLOWER GARDEN
May can be on the quieter side when it comes to flowers. There's still a few tasks to get stuck in to though...
Lilies: Time to start planting your lily bulbs! This can be done between May-September. Get them in with some bulb food & cover with 10cm of soil.
oppies: Plant poppies now for gorgeous winter & spring blooms. Planting guide here.
Roses: Pick up any leaves that have dropped and remove any diseased foliage. Don't put these in your compost bin - make sure you dispose of them well away from your garden, to ensure no diseases re-emerge next season from left-over fungal spores. Now is also a good time to transplant mature roses, particularly those that did not perform well over summer. Moving rose plants to a new spot can give them a new lease on life!
Dahlias & Gladioli: It's time to lift your dahlia tubers and gladioli corms. Label & store in a cool, dry place ready for planting again in spring.
Spring Bulbs: There's still time to get your last spring flowering bulbs in. More info on planting bulbs here.
MAINTENANCE & TIDY UP
Collect & compost any rotting fruit.
Mulch your veggies and fruit trees.
Cover any frost-tender plants with frost cloth or a cloche. Pull sensitive patio plants under cover.
Clean & sharpen your tools, especially secateurs & pruners - ready for winter pruning!
Double check that the lid of your worm farm is secure, to prevent any excess water from getting in. Keep the tap open with a container placed underneath, so any rain that gets in can drain out.