May means the plot is getting growing – The Guardian

may-means-the-plot-is-getting-growing-–-the-guardian

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May: the month of hope. The time of higher temperatures and longer days. But be wary of cooler soil. The rush to sow seed is strong. Try to slow down a little longer until you are sure in places where cold can linger.That said, of course, the sowing list is long. May is your last chance to plant potatoes and sow sweet peas. Spinach is now or best to wait until late summer. It is a good time to sow a flower patch, if you have room. As before, I go to Higgledy Garden for guidance and seed. Ben’s grandad’s best advice: ‘Never sow seeds into the ground unless you would sit on that ground with a bare bum.’Time, too, to get in corn. Sown in blocks, not rows, for best germination. We will be growing Painted Mountain corn from central Ukrainian organic and heritage seed supplier, Organicseeds.top. Though be warned, there may be a wait for your order as the conflict has put an end to airmail.May is the month to create a summer herb bed where it is warm enough. We’ll sow chervil, coriander, parsley. We’ll also be growing lots of dill (though, to be fair, we’ve never had much success).You should be able to sow root crops: carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips. Leaves, too: the kales, chards, mustard greens, even autumn and winter cabbages. Salads: lettuces, the rockets, and land cress. Remember, too, to offer water and feed for birds, if you can. They may be nesting. Also keep an eye on ponds.If all this talk of seed seems slow or you just feel the need for more plants, then garden centres and some farmers’ markets should be stocked with vegetable seedlings now.Lastly, remember to weed and water, keep a wary eye out for greenfly, blackfly, other aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails. It is a small price to pay. Happy May days.Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com
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