May

May has an average maximum temperature of 15.8°C, and an average minimum temperature of 4.2°C. May has an average rainfall of 47.5mm.

What to do this month

  • Now is the time to plant into those bare spots in the garden. The soil is still warm and plants are able to adapt to being planted before winter. What about a showy Japanese maple for autumn colour?
  • Hydrangeas can still be cut back to two vigorous buds on green wood. This is important, as green wood is the flowering wood.
  • Prepare soil for planting next month’s new season fruit trees, ornamental trees, roses and berries. Dig in organic compost and cow manure.
  • Feed Japonica Camellias for a great winter show.
  • Lawns may need a selective herbicide if broad leaf weeds are present before winter.
  • Plant some Australian native plants such as Grevilleas and Correas. They will produce lovely flowers for winter. They will attract birds and give them nectar during the harsh winter months.
  • Start planning for bare root ornamental and fruiting trees for winter.
  • Time to spray deciduous fruit trees and roses with horticultural oil and copper spray or lime sulphur. This will tidy up overwintering pest eggs and fungal spores. Follow up sprays will be required in July/August.
  • Check citrus trees for scale. Spray with horticultural oil if present.
  • Tidy Hellebores now and apply a complete fertiliser together with dolomite lime.
  • Don’t forget a beautiful Chrysanthemum, Orchid or Cyclamen for Mum on Mother’s Day – the second Sunday in May.

Vegetables

  • Mulching around tender new plants will reduce the damage of frost.
  • Plant strawberries now. They can be planted in pots or hanging baskets. Protect all Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale) from white cabbage moth. A light dusting of vegetable dust every 3 to 4 weeks will do the trick.

Sow

  • Broad beans
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Shallots

Plant

  • Asian green
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb

Harvest

  • Asian greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Leek
  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Rhubarb
  • Silver beet
  • Spinach
  • Turnip

Flowers and bulbs

  • Continue planting spring flowering bulbs.
  • Plant Foxglove seedlings for a cottage garden look in late spring.
  • Plant up pots NOW for bright colour through winter. Use pansies, violas, primulas, polyanthus and cyclamen.
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