The month of May on the allotment brings a wonderful mix of planting out or charges, seed sowing, weeding and further ground preparation. The warm spell before Easter brought my early potatoes through and moved everything along nicely. The colder weather since has brought a reality check to the allotment. Horticultural fleece and cloches come into their own at this time of year. There have been several frosts since Easter.
An important focus of this month is gradually hardening off our remaining vegetables under glass; ridge cucumbers, pumpkins, runner beans, french beans, squash, sweet corn are just a few I’ll be treating this way. All tender vegetables can be planted out at the end of May or when the risk of frost has passed in your area. The cold frame is perfect for hardening off as we gradually expose our plants to more time outside.
Throughout the summer I’ll be making successional sowings every three weeks of radish “rainbow mix”. This is a great choice as several different types are in just the one seed packet. I do think these mixed variety seed packets are a boon for allotment holders. You never know what colour you will get and it makes for a fun guessing game with the children!
If you enjoy summer long, fresh allotment grown salads as I do, then May to September is the perfect period to also sow spring onion “red and white mix”, lettuce “ little gem” (which are great for one meal and summer) and salad leaves “full on and fiery”. This packet contains some turbo powered zing with spicy mustards, mizuna and wild rocket to choose from. No longer can salads be considered uninteresting and dull.
I’ll also be making my first sowing of Swede” Invitation”. This is a time-served variety I’ve had a lot of success with over the years. It is easy to grow and club root resistant too.
At this time of year, early directly sown carrots invariably need thinning out. This job is best done during late evening during still conditions. This will reduce the chances of alerting any carrot fly nearby. I keep my rows of carrots covered with fleece or create a barrier around the plants.
In the greenhouse and polytunnel it is an equally busy time. Continue to pot on tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and peppers as required. Maintain good ventilation. More space will become available as summer bedding plants are hardened off.