Grow Yourself Healthy: May jobs

by Adam Pasco

Things really move up a gear in May when you're growing your own. With a greenhouse bulging at the seams, I can't wait for the risk of frosty nights to pass [...]

Grow Yourself HealthyThings really move up a gear in May when you're growing your own. With a greenhouse bulging at the seams, I can't wait for the risk of frosty nights to pass so I can plant them outside.

Tomatoes, courgettes, sweetcorn and other tender crops are growing bigger by the day, and I don't want to plant out only to find a late frost damages them.

Our Gardeners' World magazine campaign to help you Grow Yourself Healthy moves on apace too, and my own plot has been delivering regular pickings of rhubarb, lettuce, rocket, mizuna, chives and other herbs.

Strawberries are in flower, and good blossom on my apples, pear, peach and plum has now turned to promising little fruits. I think it's going to be a good year for fruit.

Canes of raspberries, blackberries and loganberries have been alive with bees helping to pollinate an abundance of bloom. Desperately dry conditions in my area of the East Midlands have forced me to water regularly to support new canes development, as these new canes will carry the crop next year. Seedlings need watering, as do flowering broad beans and garlic.

I'm anxious to get tender crops planted outside so that I can set-up an automatic watering system in the greenhouse for my tomatoes and cucumbers. Chillies, sweet peppers and aubergines grow more slowly than tomatoes, so are still being potted up as roots outgrow smaller pots. I'll gradually move these up to about a 20-25cm pot with cane supports, then position on capillary watering mats on the staging. Regularly watering these with a high potash tomato feed will help encourage good flowering and fruiting.

Pests have turned up too, so I'm using a safe spray called SB Plant Invigorator to provide foliar feed and control of red spider mite and whitefly.

There are many crops that can still be sown now including salad leaves, beetroot, spring onions, herbs, sweetcorn, French and runner beans, squash, courgettes, marrows and more. The top job for the next couple of weeks is to get seeds sown so you can enjoy these crops later this summer. Alternatively, don't forget that many garden centres offer a good selection of young veg plants, so check these out too.

Our Grow Yourself Healthy campaign aims to encourage people to grow more fruit, veg and other crops in their gardens and allotments, and appreciate the benefit of eating delicious, fresh home-grown produce. Helpful growing plants can be downloaded from this website, so check these out today.

The 2011 campaign concludes with a Harvest Weekend in September, providing tips and advice on storing and cooking crops. Do let us know in the comments section of this blog if there are any harvesting tips you'd like us to cover.

Finally, do join me and a host of other experts on the ‘Grow Your Own’ Garden at BBC Gardeners' World Live (15-19 June 2011) for more productive ideas for your own plot.

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Talkback: Grow Yourself Healthy: May jobs
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Gardeners' World Web User 16/05/2011 at 20:37

i would like you to cover how to store beans of all types and how to store tender veg like cougetts and squshes i have just planted out my second batch of climbing french beans and my second batch of runner beans as the last frost got my first ones along with my cougettes so i have to so some more any ideas how to get them to germinete quicker

Gardeners' World Web User 17/05/2011 at 07:55

Last year my husband made me two large raised beds (18in) in height. I grew beans, carrots and purple caulifowers. The cabbages and cauliflower didnot do well. This was my first attempt. I also managed to grow different squashes, never again, these were in pots and bags, took over the whole place, we had a great amount of foliage and flowers. The raised beds were filled with compost, I wondered if I could top it up with good quality top soil?

Gardeners' World Web User 17/05/2011 at 07:58

I forgot to say cabbage and cauliflower were from famous DIY STORE.

Gardeners' World Web User 17/05/2011 at 08:02

Can anyone tell advise me on a good spring onion to grow ? I have tried Kyoto Market for two years with no great success, they are slow very slow growing even though the packet says quick to mature. I grow in a raised bed.

Gardeners' World Web User 17/05/2011 at 09:09

I have been growing White Lisbon for many years,Lin*2, and have always had a great crop. I usually have too many to use as salad and spring onions and the ones left in make good big bulbs for the autumn.

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