May 3rd and for the third night in a row we had no frost last night…Spring perchance!
After one of the coolest Aprils in memory May arrived and with it brought the first prevailing south-westerly in over a month. Still a little blustery at present though, and the darling buds shall be roughly treated a few days yet, but noticeably they have double digit temperatures to contend with, and though shaken and a little stirred at least conditions are finally conducive to tempting the last of the frigid buds to give way.
Radish, beetroot and parsnip seed are all germinated; the Lollo Rossa, Oak Leaf and Little Gems are out of bed as are the White Lisbon’s, Deep Purples and Rojas de Niort; Gooseberry Blooms are setting, and the first hints of strawberry blooms are visible; The Stuttgarters and Karmens have weathered reasonably well though only time will tell when we see the percentage of bolters in mid to late summer: the blueberry bushes planted during the winter have taken as have the two apple trees we had to move; the Tayberry scrambles have bloom, and the Autumn Gold raspberry clump is putting on a few inches at last. The Suttons beans that had stuttered are on the move again, and with the improvement in weather over the last few days we decided to sow some Velour mange-tout. We’ve also sown up a large pot of Italian giant leaf basil, and once the basil is in summer can’t be far behind…
May on the Monster in the corner generally heralds the beginning of weeding season and with all the early spring growth and development so weather suppressed this year we’ll have to be mindful that once activity takes off in the next few days it will be instant and explosive, and everything will suddenly happen at once.
So, the likelihood is that everything we sowed in March and thought we’d lost will germinate; and everything we sowed to compensate for that loss will also germinate; and every winter blown weed seed in subterranean hibernation will germinate just as we get to survey the limitless store of nature’s free bounty which every gardener unwittingly disturbs in turning the soil.
An hour or two spent weeding right here when it’s all happening helps to keep everything in check: to leave the May’s weed head out to seed is more than garden or gardener needs. Experience has taught that this first flush of weed is the most important to control and the two or three weeks of effort expended now always pays an early dividend and that by July the developed crops should then shade out the rest of Mother Nature’s freebies.
But careful as we go: where for weeks on end we’ve had to wear warming and protective gloves as we worked the Monster in cooler than average air, we must now resort to the kid glove variety as we go and hoe especially in the beds with tap-rooters where the aim is to cause as little disturbance as possible to those roots which have taken long enough to get going in the first place.
We generally weed parsnips and beets before seedlings become too established, and always a few hours after a good downpour or a good watering, using much the same approach for the thinning out process…
However, with the weeding season comes the watering season, and the bedding plant season, and the hardened-off season and planting out season; and with the weeding season comes the aphid season, and the earthing-up season, and the watering season, and the beer trap season, and the cucumber sowing season, and the soft wood season, and the sow the autumn and winter seed season, and the slug season, and the pinching out season and the salad days season. But, how quickly the season will likely turn, and the summer season’s short lease will quickly fade; always a little too quickly.
So, you can plan on how you’ll make your season’s hay in the bright and broadening days of May, but remember
to leave the May’s weed to go to seed is more than garden or gardener needs.