May gardening jobs: Key date to sow certain vegetables – ‘frosts are over’

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May is a great month to get into the garden and prepare it further for the warmer months. This includes planting, watering and sowing seeds such as green beans and sweetcorn. One gardening expert has shared the top jobs to do in May.

Gerald Startford, also known as gardening grandpa, told Express.co.uk: “Outside in the garden you need to be careful about how hardy things are.

“We get frosts until the first week of June so I like to make sure I only put out tough plants.”

This includes sowing runner beans on May 12. 

Gerald said by the time they have germinated, “the frosts are over”.

He added: “Sweetcorn too can be sown after the middle of this month and if you haven’t planted your main crop potatoes, get on with it.

“Carrots and parsnips can also be sown now as well as leeks, I find musselburgh to be a good one.”

Sweetcorn is most successful in long hot summers, although many modern cultivars are better suited to the UK’s cooler climate.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said: “You can buy early, mid-season and late cultivars, in colder regions, early cultivars will do best.

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“Sweetcorn needs warm conditions, so sow indoors at 18 degrees from mid-April to early May.

“Sow outdoors in late spring, in the ground or in pots. Make sure the soil temperature is above 10 degrees.

“As sweetcorn is wind pollinated, plants should be grown in blocks rather than rows, 45cm apart.

“Sow two or three seeds at each point, then thin out the extra seedlings to leave just the strongest one.”

For those with a greenhouse, Gerald said the list of things to grow is “endless”.

He explained: “You can sow all your cucurbits such as cucumbers, squashes, marrows to grow until June, and tomato, cabbage and cauliflower plants do well growing under cover.

“I also start my sweetcorn off in the greenhouse and plant it out after the danger of frost is gone.

“My father always said don’t plant any frost tender plants out until there’s been 10 nights without a frost which usually brings us to the first week of June.

“I have already started on my lawn by giving it its first cut.

“I put the blades on the highest setting and just take the tips off so it starts thickening up.”

Scarifying the lawn is also a job to get done before the end of May.

This involves getting rid of any dead grass or moss which may be preventing the lawn underneath from growing.

Gerald continued: “I like to apply some feed and weed then leave it for a week and scarify.

“After that I will keep feeding with a high nitrogen feed which encourages green leafy growth and cut it at least once a week.

“Don’t put the mower blades so low that you scalp the lawn as this will only encourage moss to grow then, then hopefully you will have a lovely lawn to set off the rest of your garden.”

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