The ground rules for May | Allan Jenkins

It’s all systems go in the garden now May is here

The May days. No more excuses and no more frost (everything crossed), all systems go for growth. Time to sow outdoors summer flowers and food. Time to clean and clear pots and windowboxes (first change the soil, but use peat-free compost if possible, please). Time to introduce new plants, to support small growers and your local garden centre.

May is good for sowing hardy annuals in situ, to fill a flowerbed. I am a fan of Higgledy Garden seed (higgledygarden.com). Ben Ranyard lives in a narrow boat with his dog, Flash. He grows good flowers and sells fine seed. You may have your own favoured supplier, but if you don’t, Ben’s seeds are hard to beat, and the website’s growing guides, too.

I will be out on the allotment a lot, anxious to make up for lost time, sowing in the early morning and late evening; watering, weeding, wandering around with a hoe. May days are long, the mornings magical. I feel like a cow released to pasture or a lurcher let out of the car.

I am acutely aware that not everyone has outside space but, if you do, however small, maybe grow herbs on a windowsill, potatoes in a pot, tomatoes in a bag, or salad shoots in an indoor propagator. There is joy in nurturing from seed to flower to fruit, eating leaves you’ve helped make happen.

If you have a veg patch, most everything is good to grow now: peas, beans, summer squash, spinach, chard, roots, lettuces of every variety. Crop some for cut-and-come-again, but try to grow, say, interesting salads not easily found in shops. Swap seed with other growers (most everyone buys too much), see what grows well in neighbouring soil, talk to the old gardeners. They’ll know what works well where you are. Good luck. Make hay while the sun shines.

Plot 29 by Allan Jenkins (4th Estate, £9.99) is out in paperback. Buy it for £8.49 at guardianbookshop.com

Contributor

Allan Jenkins

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Ground rules for June | Allan Jenkins
As the summer gets into its stride, it’s time for both us and the flowers to soak up the sunshine, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

03, Jun, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Autumn comes to the summerhouse | Allan Jenkins
As the seasons change, it’s time to look at the trees and appreciate the colour and growth that another year has brought, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

21, Oct, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Summer’s over, winter’s on its way, time to settle in and take stock
This isn’t the busiest time of year, but there’s still some useful planning and prep to be done, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

07, Oct, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Late January, time to feed birds and burn branches
More than anything it’s time to tidy up – and for that there’s one indispensable garden tool, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

20, Jan, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
Gardening jobs for July | Allan Jenkins
As high summer kicks in there is still plenty to do on the plot. But make sure you take time out to sit and enjoy the fruits of your labours, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

01, Jul, 2018 @4:59 AM

Article image
My gardening guru | Allan Jenkins
Following the example of gardening expert can inspire you to greater things, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

20, May, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Growing flowers and families in my daughter’s garden | Allan Jenkins
Sowing happy new memories amid the roses, lilac and jasmine

Allan Jenkins

13, May, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Exotic visitors arrive at Plot 29
It’s November: pottering and planning and squawky parakeets. By Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

04, Nov, 2018 @6:00 AM

Article image
Planting English tulips in a Danish coastal garden | Allan Jenkins
Although we mostly miss them in flower, we consider them a gift to the garden, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

25, Nov, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
When it comes to feeding the soil, cow manure just can’t be beaten
Every gardener needs a top supplier of rotten muck, says Allan Jenkins

Allan Jenkins

27, Jan, 2019 @6:00 AM