Home-growing has really gained in popularity recently with benefits so numerous. The savings you make economically and the fuller flavour of fruit and vegetables are just a few, not to mention having your own dependable cache when the supermarkets fall short as they did early this year.
Enjoy the gardening this May when the days are getting so much longer. Be sure to relax at the end of a hard day’s growing by having a drink or catch up with a friend with our NEW range of comfortable garden furniture.
Jobs to do...
Sow some summer favourites now
Sow French beans and runner beans now – these are quick-growing plants that don’t need much space but produce lots of vegetables for you as early as this summer.
Sow pumpkin and squash seeds now. The fruit will be ready to harvest in summer and autumn but the spreading leaves will keep weeds down from the start helping all your other crops.
Eliminate plant-eating slugs
It’s the perfect time to apply nematodes to your soil- organisms that naturally hunt out slugs underground and eliminate them, now that soil temperature has risen. Slugs are predicted to be out in their billions this year so now the time to act to save your crops.
Nemasys is a nematode-based product you dissolve with water and water onto allotment beds and containers you want to fill with tasty crops. Choose your pack size to suit your own plot – be it an allotment or a small vegetable patch.
Consider strawberry growing in baskets
If harvesting strawberries is taking its toll on your back and joints from having to crouch right down to pick the delicious fruit you can eliminate this problem by growing them in baskets or in raised VegTrugs.
This means you have delicious strawberries every year without the pain of backache or knee problems associated with harvesting them. Grow more than one basket full of strawberry plants so you have lots of varieties that develop fruit over a long period. We recommend you grow 3-5 plants per basket from our Long-Cropping Collection.
Get grafted plants for high-yielding and healthy crops
Get hold of crops that are naturally disease-resistant and produce lots of fruit and vegetables. Expert growers have combined varieties together to form super-charged crops for you to enjoy. This process is called grafting but all you need to know is that they make great plants to grow on yourself.
Salad plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines are all available to you as dependable and prolific grafted plants. Just plant them up as you would with standard varieties.
Prepare for pests
Unwelcome garden visitors will be making an appearance or two now that your crop plants are actively flowering and fruiting. Be aware of larger pests like birds and large mammals. In some areas badgers are at large and they just love sweetcorn plants.
You can keep fruit shrubs and vegetable plants contained within crop cages that are easy to put up and dismantle. These let your crops grow undisturbed so you can enjoy the harvests rather than the unwelcome garden visitors.
Enhance your herb collection
Grow bay plants to give you a year-long supply of bay leaves that make fish-dishes and tomato sauces so much more flavoursome. Growing bays is great not just for the generous supply of leaves you get all year but also because the plants are so attractive in their own right.
Buy bay plants as mound-forming shrubs or as architectural trees that give your garden or growing space that bit of formality and style.
Radishes pack a punch in salads. They are great for transforming a salad for giving it texture and a hot bite. They’re really easy to sow and are fantastic to grow in the smallest of containers when you’re short of space or fancy introducing vegetable-growing to your children or grandchildren.
Varieties to try...
Radish Sparkler - Very tasty with a crisp texture which it maintains long after maturing.
Radish Diana - A first in this colour break for rounded radishes that form perfect spheres.
Radish Pink Dragon - This oriental radish has a long cylindrical root; this is the radish for growing in a cold spot.
Radish salad and salsa Verdi on tortillas – serves 4 people
Have a refreshing and tasty treat for when it’s time for 'tools down' from spending time outside working on the vegetable plot or in the garden.
- 1 handful of fresh coriander leaves
- 4 x tablespoons of lime juice
- 3 x tablespoons of olive oil
- Rock salt and crushed black pepper
- 100-120g of radishes (slice thinly)
- ½ chilli Jalapeno (remove insides if you want less heat)
- ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
- 2 x tablespoons of water
Blend coriander, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, water, salt and pepper until pureed.
In a separate bowl mix together remaining lime juice, olive oil and radishes. Add the chillies Jalapeno. (Make sure you wash hands after use if handling without gloves). Season with more salt and pepper.
Combine both puree and salad together and enjoy with your first barbecue of the season.
Home-grown asparagus is delicious so don’t come a cropper with asparagus beetle.
A pretty yet destructive beetle that lays eggs on the feathery foliage of your asparagus plants. They will even lay eggs on the spears themselves so keep your eyes open for these pests and be ready to take action.
What to look out for?
- Pretty adult beetles with red undersides and black/white backs
- Dark coloured eggs
- Grey black-headed grubs hatching in spring feeding on the spears
How to treat
- Pick off adults and grubs off feathery foliage and spears.
- Rub off groups of eggs.
- Dispose of old stems so adults have fewer places to hibernate over winter.
Marshalls May catalogue – coming soon to your door
A catalogue full of solutions for creating the perfect vegetable plot and garden with great-value tools, storage sheds, pests and disease control, and NEW high-quality plants ready to grow on.
Check out our NEW range of beautiful and durable garden furniture so you become the host with the most this summer, getting satisfaction from showing off the gorgeous garden you’ve created.
RHS Malvern Spring 11-14 May and RHS Chelsea Flower Show 23-27 May
Enjoy the exciting month of May to see shows with some of the best home-grow ideas for you. This year RHS ambassador Jekka McVicar unveils her Health & Wellbeing Garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival in mid-May – a garden full of herbs and ornamentals to relieve all your senses of the trials and tribulations of life.
At RHS Chelsea Flower Show visit the Great Pavilion to see the best of nurseries and growers come together to show off plants, fruits and vegetables at their best. Always happy to give home- growing advice are Pennard Plants, Hooksgreen Herbs and Peter Seabrook to name a few.