Jobs to do this month
This list isn’t exhaustive. You can get detailed advice from many organisations, especially those listed on this website under Help and Advice
- Tie in raspberry canes to stop them flopping over.
- Make sure you protect your soft fruit crops from birds. A purpose-made fruit cage is ideal, but can be expensive; you can cover individual rows and bushes with netting supported on canes.
- Water fruit bushes growing in containers regularly.
- Thin out apple tree fruitlets, leaving only the healthiest, best-shaped ones to grow on.
- Prune fan-trained apple and pear trees.
- Harvest rhubarb and strawberries.
Vegetables and salads
- Plant out courgettes and squash once they’re hardened off. If you’ve still got some space left, why not try growing ornamental gourds? Sow outside, or raise seedlings in pots for planting out. Grow them up a trellis or let them trail across the ground. Keep them well watered in dry weather.
- Sow annual herbs such as basil, coriander and parsley.
- Sow fast-growing crops such as beetroot and spring onions alongside main crop varieties to maximise the use of space.
- Sow radishes and cut-and-come again salads for regular crops.
- Don’t harvest asparagus after the end of this month; let the stems develop. Don’t forget to keep looking out for asparagus beetles (and their eggs and grubs); there seem to be more of them than usual this year.
- Later in the month start harvesting calabrese broccoli.
- Harvest broad beans once the pods start to swell up. Pinch out the growing tips to deter blackfly.
- There’s still time to sow runner and French beans, now that the risk of late frosts is over.
- Keep on earthing up potatoes.
- Transplant leek seedlings into their final growing positions when they’re about 25 cm (10 in) long. Trim the roots to encourage regrowth, and trim the top leaves of to reduce water loss.
- Plant out sweetcorn plants once you’ve hardened them off. Set them out in blocks rather than rows, to help wind pollination.
- Harvest young beetroot leaves for salads and stir fries, but don’t take too many or you’ll hinder your main crop.
- Thin out carrot seedlings. Rather than pull them out, try cutting them off with small scissors to minimise the risk of their forking.
- Keep taking the sideshoots off cordon-grown tomatoes, and feed them with a high-potash liquid fertiliser every week. Did you know they’ll form roots if you put them in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill? (Take the bottom leaves off first.) After 3-4 weeks you can pot them up and grow them on. Alternatively, treat them as softwood cuttings; plant them in some multipurpose compost.
- In the greenhouse, prune out the tips of aubergine plants to encourage branching.
- Damp down the greenhouse by leaving water on the floor to evaporate. This will help to cool it, and the increased humidity will help to deter pests such as red spider mite.