Gardening with Children

School Zone

What to do this Term

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Get busy in the garden during May

 

Spring is well and truly with us the weather can be very mixed with sunny warm days and chilly nights, Mother Nature carries on in earnest with stunning displays of Hawthorn blossom, beautiful pure white flowers which look like blankets of snow covering the trees and hedges, and carpets of vivid blue woodland Bluebells, if you have a garden ...

there are plenty of jobs to do now this month

 
General Jobs
  • Weeds seem to be growing faster than the crops so keep your eye on them andStainless Steel Hand Hoe either Hoe or remove by hand as soon as possible, putting them in the Compost Bin (except for perennial and deep rooted weeds).
  • Keep Onion and Garlic beds weed free they dont' like competition for sun, space and water.
  • Harvest rainwater from your downpipe with diverters to Water Butts ready for watering during dry spells. 
  • Protect your tender seedlings, young plants, blossoms and flowers from frost with Fleece or a Cloche.
  • Slugs and Snails love damp weather and with the mild winter they are about in larger numbers, protect plants with environmentally friendly Slug Gone (which also acts as an excellent mulch, weed suppressant, soil conditioner and slow release fertiliser too) NemaslugSlug and Snail Traps or add Copper Tape to ContainersPots and Raised Beds.
 Fruit
  • Give Pot grown fruit trees a top dressing of new compost, a liquid feed then mulch, keep watered in dry weather, pull off suckers that appear at the base of trees.
  • Protect Apple, Pear and Plum blossom from frost with Fleece but remove during the day to allow access for pollinating insects.
  • Protect Strawberry flowers from frost with Fleece or a Cloche removing during the day for pollinating insects. Pick any fruit from early Strawberries kept in a heated greenhouses. If you have any new spring planted Strawberries remove any flowers Raspberry Support With Extensionto encourage a larger more productive plant next year.
  • If you have an abundance of new Raspberry canes prune out the weaker canes to allow the remaining ones to produce stronger canes and better fruit and tie them onto your Raspberry Support.
  • Tie in new shoots of Blackberry and Loganberry plants.
  • Thin out Gooseberries if you want larger fruit.
  • Cover soft fruits with Netting or Fruit Cages to prevent birds eating them.
 Vegetables
  • Plant any remaining ‘main crop’ potatoes and earth up any ‘early’ potatoes when the shoots are about 23cm high or before if frost is forecast.
  • Sow Carrots thinly in rows in fine, light, stone free soil and thin out any earlier sowings covering them with Enviromesh to protect from Carrot root fly.
  • Sow Beetroot in rows in soil that has not been recently manured.
  • Continue to sow salad crops Lettuce, Radish, Spring Onion in rows for a continuous supply.
  • Sow Peas into wide drills spacing the seeds about 5cm apart, then provide support/netting once they appear.
  • Repeat sowing of Parsnip in rows if an earlier sowing was unsuccessful (germination can take 3 weeks).
  • Provide support/netting for Broad Beans before they get too tall.
  • Sow seeds of Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Kale in rows outdoors in a seed bed.
  • Sow seeds of Swedes, Turnip, Leaf Beet and Spinach outside in rows.
 In the Greenhouse/On your Windowsill/In the Propagator
  • Plant indoor tomatoes in their final growing tomato pot ring positions (Growbag/Large Pot/Border) and provide Support consider planting within a Tomato Ring these provide a larger area for more root growth promoting a healthier and more productive plant, whilst feeding and watering in the ring goes direct to the roots. Remove side shoots on cordon varieties (these grow between the stem and the leaf axis).
  • Newly sown seeds in containers will germinate quicker in a propagator which provides a constant and steady temperature improving the germination rate.
  • Sow seeds of Marrows, Courgettes, Pumpkins, Squash and Cucumber individually in small pots if you have not already done so.
  • Sow French Beans and Runner Beans individually in medium pots.
  • Continue sowing Herbs Seeds to replace any exhausted plants.
  • Sow Sweetcorn individually into deep pots in moist but not wet Multi-Purpose Compost.
  • Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days to allow the air to circulate.
  • Plant up Hanging Baskets, Wall Baskets and Window Boxes with fruit, vegetable and herbs ready to put out next month.
  • Keep a greenhouse heater handy to boost temperatures on chilly nights.
 Harvest
  • Continue picking early sowings of Salad Leaves, Spring Onions,Forced Rhubarb Radishes and windowsill Herbs.
  • Rhubarb is plentiful continue harvesting by pulling and twisting the individual stems at the base, put the poisonous leaves in the Compost Bin.
  • Asparagus Spears can be cut but leave if your plants are less than two years old.

      The Illuminated Minibeast Centre - Solar Insect Theatre

The Illuminated Mini Beast Centre attracts moths and insects inside when illumated at night so that you can identify and study them during the day.

 Wildlife
  • Whilst your plants are still growing put up some insect and bees homes in sheltered, dry and sunny positions and hedgehog and frog/toad homes in cool, shady spots in your garden the plants will then grow round them making them more inhabitable.
  • Continue to feed birds and provide fresh water in your bird baths for the birds to drink and bathe in. Put peanuts into Birdfeeders as whole peanuts can choke young birds.
  • Live mealworms are juicy and full of protein they provide a ready meal for young, hungry chicks, serve up in a bowl so that they can't escape.
  • Sow Sunflower seeds (indoors/greenhouse) their large flowers will provide food for bees and insects and seeds for the birds during the winter months,why not have a competition to see who can grow the tallest and largest.
  • Sow a small Wildflower Meadow in your garden, allotment or school garden to provide food for beneficial Bees/Butterflies/Moths and other Pollinating Insects.
  • Put up nest boxes for our returning Summer migrants the Swift, Swallow and House Martins who haven’t got a home yet.

  CJ Wildlife Woodstone Swift Nest Box

A CJ Wildlife Woodstone Swift Nest Box

 

 

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