Gardening Tips - May
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Harden Off Summer Bedding by Steve Bullock
 
Get ready for the summer display but do resist the temptation to plant those tender annuals too early. The weather warms up in May and with the light levels improving plants grown in the greenhouse are putting on lots of growth. There is still however the danger of a late frost; we forget in the last two years we have had frosts and even hailstones in May.
 
Harden off your summer bedding by bringing your annuals out of the greenhouse on a good day but give them protection at night by putting in a cold frame or back in the greenhouse.
 
If space is a problem horticultural fleece can give those tender plants some protection. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, it’s a shame to lose plants or have them knocked back.
 
Begonias
 
If you are buying plants from a garden centre be selective, look for the strong healthy stocky plants, don’t succumb to the look of flowers it’s far more important to purchase a strong growing plant; flowers will be all the better later.
 
Prepare the ground ready for planting in the first week in June. Annuals are not deep rooted but benefit from light airy soil so fork and hoe and let roots establish. A light fertiliser such as chicken manure or a little bone and fish meal helps.
 
Things to do.
 
Plant up hanging baskets and leave in the greenhouse for two or three weeks to establish and grow on. Check plants for pests, aphids and white fly.
 
Pot up begonias and gloxinias.
 
Tidy up fuchsias, prune back old growth to new shoots.
 
Sow melons.
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