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WAHGA Jobs for May

Updated: May 10

May is the green light to go, go, go! Let’s put the wet April behind us, along with the wet May bank holiday Monday.  We’ve already had some very warm days, the ground is moist and warm, so perfect for planting out seedlings.  


Plant out seedlings sown indoors, but harden them off first by putting them out in the day, and bringing them indoors at night.  Hardening off is a physical process where the plant cell wall hardens with the impact of the outdoor breeze and varying weather conditions.  The seedling becomes more resilient to disease and pests.  Make sure you water them in well once planted and keep watering regularly until they’re well established.


  • Plant sweetcorn in grids of four plants to aid cross pollination which is by wind not insects.

  • Courgette/pumpkin/cucumber family - they will cope in a shadier spot

  • Runner beans, french climbing beans and other legumes - they will need canes or netting to climb up. 

  • Chard, kohlrabi, celeriac are all ready to go outside

  • Tomatoes - reduce the risk of blight by ensuring there is good airflow around the plants, so keep distance between the plants,  don’t grow against a shed.  Tomatoes grown inside in greenhouses and poly tunnels are less susceptible to blight as it is a wind borne disease.  

  • Start successional sowing (sowing a row every few weeks) of carrots, radish, spring onions, salad leaves, mange tout, beetroots, and turnips  to  allow harvesting of young crops through the season.

  • Parsnips and celeriac can sown direct into seed drills outside.  They need a long season to mature, and do well sown directly in drills outside.   

  • Legume seeds can be planted outside

  • Brassicas can be planted out, and need fine netting to protect them from cabbage white butterflies and pigeons which will eat brassicas to ground level. 

  • There’s still time to plant asparagus crowns, and you can always try sowing asparagus seeds.

  • Plant out any remaining seed potatoes, continue to ‘earth up’ any emerging shoots with soil, or composted manure, to encourage a larger crop. 

  • Sunflowers.  We’re looking forward to another year of sunflowers blooming all over the allotments and in Weybridge gardens.   Once they get to a 60cm high they will need staking, but don’t do this too soon as swaying in the breeze encourages the sunflower to develop a deep and strong root system.  Try some different cultivars, I particularly like the multi-head varieties as they make lovely cut flowers


  • Slugs and snails are already a problem, we need more hedgehogs and foxes!  

  • Check soft fruit and broad beans for aphids; spray the plant with dilute washing up liquid, squish the flies, or wait for the ladybirds!  Don’t be tempted to use insecticides as this will kill beneficial insects and bugs as well.  Try companion planting with marigolds and nasturtium nearby - these will attract the aphids away from your produce. 

  • Protect early strawberries from birds with netting that is wide enough to allow pollinators in. 

  • Cover soft fruit plants with netting to protect from birds - this can be done after pollination but before any signs of ripening.  Summer fruiting raspberries need netting, but autumn fruiting don’t.

  • Watch out for signs of powdery mildew or disease on fruit trees and bushes, though you can treat with a fungicide, the solution is better pruning and good airflow.


  • We are well into nesting season so watch out for activity in trees and hedges near you and don’t disturb.   

  • Leave water dishes and for the bees and the birds. 

  • Continue to sow wild flowers, a few in a section on your plot or garden to encourage pollinators.  Try planting asters, camomile, marigolds, oregano, sage, sunflowers, thyme, yarrow and zinnias. The entire Compositae or “daisy” family will attract a number of beneficials including ladybirds.  


  • Continue to harvest rhubarb, and watch out for any flower buds.  Break these off to prevent the plant putting energy into flowering.

  • May is the month for harvesting asparagus.

  • The first strawberries will (hopefully!) be ripening in May

  • The first radishes and baby carrots will be ready.  Continue to sow every couple of weeks through to autumn.  

  • Salad crops: salad leaves, pea shoots will be ready

  • Edible Flowers: borage and marigold

  • Leafy greens: chard and spinach

  • 1st broad beans 


Compost all green matter.  Add foliage, leaves and annual weeds to your compost pile, turn the pile to help activate it, and make sure it doesn’t dry out.  Comfrey and nettles not only make a good nutritious ‘tea’ for plants, they also act as compost accelerator.


It’s a good time to plant small shrubs, they  will establish quickly, need less watering than larger versions, as well as being a lot cheaper!

May is the perfect time to plant up your ornamental pots and hanging baskets for summer colour. Prune early flowering shrubs once they’ve finished blooming and  plant out herbaceous perennials.   

Plant out dahlias for late summer/autumn colour and direct sow annuals such as cosmos, poppies and cornflowers for easy summer flowers.

I’m not a fan of ‘No mow May’, it takes longer than a month to develop wild flowers in a domestic lawn!  So instead have a ‘Never Mow’ section of your garden, and put areas  throughout your garden and allotment over to wildlife permanently. Sow wildflowers around your shed, make stacks of logs at the back of the beds and borders, an area with leaf piles, a pond for newts, toads and frogs, bird boxes and perhaps a bat box.


Oatlands Village Fair is in Oatlands Park on Saturday May 11th 12:30 to 4:30 pm.  Do visit the Weybridge in Bloom and Oatlands Allotment stalls!

Later in the month, whether experienced in person or on the telly,  Chelsea Flower Show (22-27 May) provides ideas and inspiration for gardeners.


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