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Do you grow organically, or want to try? Here is a great resource to help you grow great fruit and veg at home from our friends at Garden Organic. Like BigBarn Garden Organic work with schools to get kids growing veg and they are supporting our petition to get Food Growing on the national curriculum (please sign here).
So here is what they are suggesting to do in May:
May is a busy month in the garden. Winter is well passed and the world feels full of energy – including the gardener!
Don’t forget the two organic principles: good soil management, and diverse planting to encourage plenty of beneficial wildlife. And keep on top of the weeds.
See below for advice on soil, vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers as well as the greenhouse and conservatory.Soil Matters
Grow fast-growing green manure plants, such as Crimson clover Trifolium incarnatum, where there are areas of bare soil – for instance where summer or autumn vegetables are yet to be planted out. If you dig it in before July, it will not only keep down weeds but also fix precious nitrogen in the soil.
Keep adding to your compost bin, making sure to mix ‘greens’ (lawn cuttings etc), with ‘browns’ (cardboard, straw and scrumpled up paper).As the soil warms up, plant out some of the more tender crops. Some can be sown directly. Plant comfrey (Russian cultivar ‘Bocking 14’ is best). The leaves can be used as a compost activator, a mulch to feed the soil, as well as making an excellent liquid feed. See Comfrey – how to grow and use.
Fill any empty gaps awaiting vegetables with a fast-growing cover crop of green manures. Buckwheat, mustard, phacelia or trefoil can all be sown in May if the ground is moist enough. See Green Manures
Pest and Disease Watch
Slug control – use all available methods to protect your new young plants. See Slugs in Pests and Diseases It is often worth starting new plants in pots or modules, and planting out only vigorous transplants.
Keep fleece handy to protect blossoms from late frost. Including strawberry plants. Remove during the day to let pollinating insects in.
Put up codling moth traps in fruit trees.
Pick off and destroy emerging larvae of apple and plum sawfly at petal fall. You need to catch them before they start tunneling into fruit. Look for creamy white larvae, about 15mm long, around the fruiting spurs.
Gooseberry sawfly larvae Inspect gooseberry bushes twice-weekly for gooseberry sawfly larvae (pictured). Eggs are laid under leaves in the centre of the bush, and pinprick sized holes are the very first signs of larval damage. Pick off and destroy the tiny larvaeHerbs
Greenhouse and conservatory
Remove and dispose of any dying foliage on sight. Disease prevention in a greenhouse relies on good hygiene.
Temperatures should be high enough by now to use all types of biological controls for red spider mite, aphids and white fly, and require 18-20°C for a couple of hours a day.
This is direct from Garden Organic’s website and has some great tips every month. We will continue to quote and expand on their input next month. For more on grow your own and building communities around food please read our Next Big Idea blog here. As the Brexit squabbles continue we all need to get growing food?Many of our readers go on to grow their own crops, but often rather more than they really need for themselves. Please look out for places to sell your excess produce through our Crop for the Shop scheme here.
You will find places on our Local Food Map that have opted in with a carrot flag on their icon. You could even approach your local shop, pub or restaurant and supply them with fresh produce in return for a pint of beer or meal.
And please advise them to join our map if they do opt in.