This gardening guide for May has been put together by Mantis because we are dedicated to our promise to help make gardening easier. You may also like to look over last month’s guide. May’s gardening calendar covers everything you could (or should) be doing in your garden just before summer hits the UK.
Lawn Care in May
Mow lawns regularly – Lawns will need to be mowed at least weekly, twice weekly if possible now as they will grow very rapidly at this time of year. Avoid mowing too short this early on as this may cause the roots to grow shallowly and will make the lawn susceptible to moss and weeds
Treat bare patches – this can be done by throwing seed down where the grass is thin. This is known as over-seeding.
Feed the lawn – feeding the lawn with spring/summer fertilizer with ensure a thicker, healthier more drough-resilient lawn.
Treat moss and weeds – feeding the lawn should assist in keeping the moss and weeds at bay, however, if it does persist there are products on the market that will feed and weed the lawn. Note: always follow the manufacturer instructions
Scarify lawn – do this with a spring tine rake. The Mantis Lawn Care Package includes a Lawn Dethatcher/Rake Attachment which is perfect for this job.
Aerate Lawn – if your lawn is growing on heavy, compacted or clay soil, it will benefit from being aereated at this time of year. An aerator attachment is also included in the Mantis Lawn Care Package. Aerating improves the drainage on your lawn and encourages good growth. Remember to dress the surface once aerating is done as this will further improve drainage.
If you want to learn even more about caring for your lawn, read our ‘ten tips for a great lawn‘.
Garden Care in May
Keep on top of weeds – the soil is starting to really warm up now so weeds will be growing rapidly. Keep on top on top of them in flower and veg beds by hoeing them and pulling out as much of the weeds as possible, so they are unable to take a hold. Use the Mantis Tiller with the tines in the cultivating position to get the job done fast.
Plant seedlings out – you can now start to harden off seedlings sown in February and March. Start by introducing them slowly by putting them out during the day and after a week or so, you can plant them into their final position.
Prepare your beds – get your beds ready for planting your bedding plants by clearing debris and adding fertilizer and compost to your soil. The Mantis ComposTumbler is ideal for collecting waste and scraps and making compost, you can have good well-rotted compost in as little as 14 days.
Look out for pests – the vine weevil will attack container plants but you can add nematodes now to kill them off. The most vulnerable plants to this pest are cyclamen, begonia and primula.
Dead head spring bulbs – you can now start to dead head daffodils and other spring flowers as they die off. Leave the leaves of the plant to die off naturally and feeding these plants now will ensure a good display for next year.
Trim hedges – this is the time of year to give your hedges their first trim.
In warmer climates, hanging baskets can now go out for the summer – elsewhere, these can be hung in a greenhouse until the risk of frost has passed.
Dead head daffodils and tulips and other spring bedding plants – let the plants continue to grow until they die off as this will enable the bulbs to store up energy for blooming in the next spring.
Fruit & Veg in May
Winter crops can now be sown – Leeks, brussels sprouts, winter cabbage, marrow. Starting them off in pots is a good idea, you can then plant them out in a few weeks once you have seedlings.
Harden off your tomatoes – If you have ‘potted on’ your tomato seedlings, May is a good time to start hardening them off by introducing them to gradually to the outside, extending the length of time you leave them out each day. However, do not leave the plants out overnight until all risk of frost has passed as they are very sensitive to frost and it will kill them off. Alternatively you can introduce them to an unheated greenhouse to harden them off.
Earth up your potatoes – Keep pulling the soil up around the base of your potatoes to avoid them coming into contact with the light, as this turns them green.
Other Gardening Activities in May
Pinch out the tops of sweet peas – this encourages the plant to bush out and produce more flowers
Keep on top of your composting – during the growing season, you will need to keep topping up with well-rotted compost. The Mantis ComposTumbler is ideal for keeping a regular supply for your garden.
Feeding everywhere in your garden is a good idea in May, as it helps to get the nutrients back into the soil after the wet winter months.
Keep ponds clear and filters clean – also start feeding fish regularly. As the days warm up and we see more of the sun, you may see blanket weed forming on the surface of your pond. Remember to remove this as soon as it appears as it will spread quickly once it gets a hold.
Watch out for aphids – remember to check the underside of leaves and new shoots.
Look out for disease on your roses – these can include mildew, rust and blackspot. Diseased leaves should be removed as soon as possible.
Start planting outdoor containers – summer bedding plants can now be placed into containers but remember to water regularly and avoid them drying out, even after a late spring shower. By the end of May, frost should be a thing of the past but it is still possible right up the last day, so if it is forecast, protect young bedding plants by covering them with fleece, or, if you don’t have any, you can use newspaper or bubble wrap.