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May checklist

May is the month that completes the transition from the mild days of autumn to the cold of winter. The stunning colours of autumn are starting to fade as we move in to the heart of winter. Many plants relish this change of season, luckily the bugs don’t!

Key points for this month:

  • Refresh you pots with winter flowering annuals.
  • Don’t give up on winter vege seedlings. They can still be planted.
  • Garlic will be available late May so start planning your garden bed.
  • Lift summer flowering bulbs and store them.
  • Continue to plant trees and shrubs before winter sets in.
  • Do a final clean up in the garden.
  • Collect fallen autumn leaves and compost them.

Kitchen Garden

Sow green crops of lupin and mustard in any spaces you are leaving empty for digging into the soil for green manure.

Refresh soil for crops by adding new compost and sheep pellets.

Plant seedlings: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, spinach, onion and silverbeet. Protect from the cold while they are young. 

Sow seeds: spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, onions, and peas. Transplant to the garden as the weather warms and when they are showing at least two sets of true leaves.

Broad beans can be planted directly in to the soil, stagger your sowing for a continuous harvest.

Plant parsley to replace any plants that have gone to seed.

Dust your cauliflowers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts with derris dust to protect them from the white butterfly and the diamond back moth.

Cut back herbs as they become straggly and leggy, divide if necessary.

Plant garlic and shallots bulbs; give them plenty of winter sun.

Tidy up old strawberry beds and prepare for new plants.

Tidy up old strawberry beds and prepare for new plants.

Check your citrus trees as they will be heavy with fruit, remove fruit and shorten any that are bending under the weight. Better to lose a few fruit than the whole branch.

Remove old fruit from the ground around all fruit trees to break the life cycle of bugs.

Pruning fruit trees can begin once the leaves have fallen.

Grape vines can be pruned once all the leaves have fallen.

Watch out for early frosts.

Protect seedlings from slugs and snails.

Garden Colour

Re-plant your pots as necessary with winter annuals, add new fertiliser for the season.

Sow seeds: alyssum, calendula, cineraria, cornflower, lobelia, lupin, nemesia, stock. Transplant to the garden as the weather warms and when they are showing at least two sets of true leaves.

Plant seedlings: calendula, cineraria, nemesia, pansies, polyanthus, poppies, primula, snapdragon, stock, viola and wallflower.

Sweet peas can still be planted just make sure they get plenty of winter sun. Tie them to the support as they grow.

Plant lilliums bulbs in a warm sheltered position, they can be left in place for a few years.

Lift dahlia tubers and gladioli corms remove any soil and store in a dry place.

Trim back perennials, divide and replant straight away.

Plan for roses to plant this winter, prepare the soil by adding plenty of compost.

Trees and Shrubs

Plant new trees and shrub before the soil becomes too wet.

Plant new trees and shrub before the soil becomes too wet.

Continue weed control while the weather is still dry.

Plant camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons for winter colour.

Collect autumn leaves for composting.

Refresh shrub beds by mulching with compost.

Continue weed control; don’t spray within five hours of rain.

Watch out for frosts, some plants may need protection. Cover with frost cloth, drape frost cloth over but not touching the plants. If it is too close a hard frost will freeze it to the plants.

Lawn

Feed lawns for autumn if you haven’t already, it will to boost growth and suppress weed growth. 

New seed can be sown this month.

Fix any dips, hollows and bare patches and sow with grass seed where necessary.

Rake leaves off lawn to stop them composting on the grass.