The Allotment in May

Tante Marie Allotment

Thank goodness for May! As the asparagus tips peek through the soil in the warmth of the sun, the garden suddenly seems to spring into action with vibrant green shoots and leaves all over the place!

The allotment has been chilly and very wet for the last few months with most of the jobs being tidying and cleaning. We leave some of the beds covered in black anti-weed fabric over the winter to warm the soil ready for spring sowing, but are sure to leave some empty beds for the weeds to grow and flower to keep the insects and critters in food.

The last couple of weeks have been full of weeding and clearing and it is so wonderful to get out in the fresh air with a bit of sunshine and warmth. We have started lots of exciting varieties of tomatoes (including my favourite varieties Costeluto Fiorentina and Sweet Millions), chillies and tomatillos, keeping them indoors at night and setting them out in the sunshine during the warm days. It is important to give them as much light as possible, but not too much heat as this can cause leggy thin stems. The potatoes are chitting, ready to be planted out this week. Outdoor sowings of lettuce and salads, parsley, kale – both red and green varieties, rainbow chard, radish, and romanseco cauliflowers have been ongoing for the last couple of weeks so we can harvest a successional crop.

May Jobs

We will be planting sweetcorn, squashes, courgettes, cucumbers and beans next week, I always find that using cardboard toilet roll inners filled with soil is the best way to avoid disrupting the roots when planting out. Keep an eye on tender plants as we can always get a late frost – I usually plant out these delicate seedlings after the end of May bank holiday as they should be safe after this point.

The fruit canes are bursting with fresh leaves and fat buds, raspberries, black and red currants and gooseberries, both red and green. Last year we planted a tayberry which has a fantastic and heavy crop of completely delicious berries – perfect for pies and jam as well as eating fresh and warm from the sunshine. Spring is here and the garden is ready for the season ahead. Happy gardening!

Ally Molyneaux – Head Teacher

To Do List:

  • Continue sowing seeds outdoors every two weeks for continuous cropping for salads, radishes, leafy greens, beetroot
  • Start seeds indoors for sweetcorn, beans, squashes, courgettes, cucumbers
  • Prepare greenhouses and outdoor beds ready to plant out tender plants at the end of the month
  • Keep on top of weeds to ensure seedlings will grow strongly
  • Set up supports for tomatoes, and climbing beans, fertilise the beds well for these hungry crops too.