May Calendar
Gardening Jobs


Cottage garden May calendar. Thing’s to do in the cottage garden this month.

May is the month of balmy breezes and the first thoughts of summer spring to mind. The cottage garden is displaying more colour and other plants show the promise of things to come. While the weather is mild try to get any gardening jobs done before the heat of mid summer.

If you have a green house you should think about applying shade paint and making sure everything is clean. Check all plants for pests and disease before you take them into the green house.

If you are feeding the birds, clean your feeders to prevent disease spreading and continue leaving out your wild bird seed. They will need the extra food for their young. Look out for any recent nests when you are cleaning up and if you find any, leave the area alone, it can be cleaned later.

Temperatures vary all over the country and your garden will have it’s own microclimate so take that into consideration. You may need to adjust this May calendar a little for your own cottage garden but it’s a good place to start.

Make a note of these tasks in your calendar.

May Calendar: Flowering Cottage Plants

  • If you have sweet pea seedlings grown last month you can now plant them out. Towards the end of the month train the young shoots.
  • Sow cottage climbers such as morning glory, nasturtiums and black-eyed Susan
  • Now is the time to tie in and train the young shoots of climbers such as honeysuckle, clematis, wisteria, roses and vines.
  • Hoe to keep weeds under control and fill in any gaps with plants.
  • Sow perennial seeds outside, or in pots to plant outside later in the autumn.
  • Sow biennials outside. If you sow biennials outside now you will have flowers by next spring.
  • Once done flowering snap of the heads of tulips and deadhead spring flowering bulbs. Feed spring bulbs for next/new years growth.
  • Check roses for black spot and disease remove any infected leaves from the plant and the ground.
  • Continue sowing hardy annuals, this will give your cottage garden colour throughout summer.
  • To enjoy a longer flowering period of Gladioli, plant in groups, every 10-14 days.

Herbs, Vegetables, Soft Fruit and Fruit Trees

  • Harvest Time: Asparagus, garlic, globe artichoke, lettuce, radish, rhubarb, spinach, spring onions, Swiss chard and turnips.
  • Sow: Leafy salads (regularly for a continuous summer crop, not all at once), Swiss chard or perpetual spinach, runner beans (two for each bean pole), French beans, beetroot, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, kale, Kohl Rabi, onions, parsnips and peas.
  • Sow outdoor cucumbers in pots at the start of May so that they are ready to plant out at the end of the month.
  • Grow parsley from seed. Divide and plant other herbs this month.
  • Plant: Marrow and courgettes into rich organic soil. Plant leeks seedlings (if you sowed them earlier) out now. Plant squashes and pumpkins and tomatoes.
  • Plant brassica; winter brassica such as Brussel sprouts, put a net over young plants to protect them from birds.
  • Prevent carrot fly attack.
  • Apply organic fertiliser to rows of cane fruits and strawberries. Pull out weeds to prevent them from taking the nutrients that the seedlings need. Pinch off any strawberry runners you don‘t need. Pick rhubarb and apply a liquid food to the soil.

May Calendar: General Cottage Gardening Jobs

  • Take advantage of May’s balmy weather and get any garden chores done before the weather warms up.
  • If there are any night frosts cover young plants with horticultural fleece overnight.
  • If you have a green house plant up hanging baskets ready for hanging outside next month
  • Water all plants outside in containers and especially hanging baskets; which dry out quicker from the wind, as often as they need, up to twice a day during summer.
  • Keep checking plants, pots and containers for slugs and remove any that you find.
  • Buy a water butt if you think you will need one for the summer months

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