May Highlights

May has come and gone in a whirlwind of flowers and shoots.

I normally say that April is my favourite time of year, but May would be close in the running. We typically have our last frost date here in early May so I can transition into those warmer season crops that will fill up the garden over the next few months.

My greenhouse isn’t insulated (I haven’t got around to it yet…) so those early tender plants like tomatoes and sweet peppers would come into the house at night when it was still cold. They were exposed to some farily low temperatures during the days and evenings which I think held them back from growing too fast too early, and helped harden them off. Now they have lots of flowers, and all but a few peppers and planted out into the ground.

There’s been a riot of flowers from the fruit trees, the clematis, the climbing roses and the poached-egg plants (a favourite early ground cover and beneficial insect attractant for the veg garden). Likewise yellow-rattle and ox-eye daisy were the first to flower in the meadow and those areas are looking their best yet.

A quick observation on ‘pests’: earlier in the year I had a small outbreak of blackfly and aphids on the broad beans and honeysuckle however they were quickly picked clean – I suspect by neighbouring sparrows feeding their chicks. However the blackfly are now back in force though the broad beans had several weeks clear to grow tall and strong and set their flowers in the meantime and are so far coping well.


The ants are tending to the aphids now so I wonder if that earlier first wave was vulnerable to predators because the weather was less warm, their guardian ants were less active and the aphids themselves were presumably breeding less rapidly? I don’t use any controls on aphids though I do sometimes wipe some off, as I want to nurture a good community of pests and predators in my garden. We’ll see what happens….

The first wild strawberries and raspberries could also be harvested this month. The raspberries are actually an autumn fruiting variety called Autumn Bliss and although I cut them down to the ground overwinter, perhaps I did it too early. The shoots are already well-established and fruiting so I have an early harvest compared to previous years. I wonder if it will finish earlier too or if I’ll be able to stretch the berry-picking out for a few more months…


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