You’d have thought you’d be done with sowing seeds by now – but not a bit of it. If anything, I’m even busier in May than in April frantically getting the last of the spring seeds in, as anything not in the ground this month won’t give me a harvest till late summer. But I’m also thinking ahead and sowing kale, leeks and winter greens to reach just the right size for me to pick next winter.
More seed sowing advice:
May seed sowing inspiration
Plants featured in this video
Now the kids have left home I no longer have an excuse to hold an annual giant sunflower competition – but that doesn’t stop me having a go myself! I usually manage about four metres – but the current record holder is more than nine metres tall, so I’ve got a way to go. Multiheaded sunflowers are shorter, at a mere couple of metres, and come in gorgeous shades of bronze and red as well as classic yellow.
I find sowing annual larkspurs a little later in the year helps avoid both slugs and soggy, chilly soil – both of which can do for earlier-sown seedlings. Sown this month, they spring up like cress. Annual larkspur is much daintier than its big, showy perennial cousin, the delphinium: its 1m tall spires of delicate bells come in blue, white or pink and are best sown in great drifts so you can cut as many as you like to bring into the house and fill your vases with colour.
Corn on the cob, cooked within minutes of harvesting and dripping with melted butter - it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I sow mine into saved loo rolls to germinate on a shelf out of reach, as mice are very fond of stealing the seeds. Once seedlings are about 15cm tall I plant them outside in blocks – they’re wind-pollinated, so you get more cobs if you group them together.
It baffles me why more people don’t grow borage. Perhaps it’s because it self-seeds: but the seedlings are easy to pull out, and besides, whyever would you want to? Those clear blue, starry flowers are bee caviar and bring pollinating insects flocking when planted under your crops. They’re edible, too, tasting of cucumbers: I freeze the flowers in ice cubes to add a touch of style to my evening G&T.