May

Hardening off seedlings To get your tender seedlings (french, runner beans, tomatoes, courgettes) used to outside conditions put them outside in a sheltered position during the day and bring them in at night when temperatures drop. This takes a week and nursery grown plants will need to be hardened off too.

Preparing to plant Prepare substantial holes for your plants. Fill these with compost and water copiously before you plant out hardened off plants.

Tomatoes and cucumbers can be grown outside but you need to wait until night temperatures are into double figures before planting them outside, as they are sensitive to low temperatures.

Water Take care to make sure that newly planted seedlings don’t dry out.

Direct sowing The ground is warm enough now to break the dormancy of most seeds and trigger germination. So plant some more beetroot, carrot and lettuce seeds outside to give a continuous supply.

Potash feed As soon as you see small fruit beginning to develop on fruit bushes give them a liquid potash feed. You can buy this or make your own with comfrey  (see recipe in the shop)

Protecting fruit As soft fruit begins to develop and ripen cover bushes with net to keep the birds away.

Aphids Watch out for aphids enjoying new green growth. If you don’t want to use pesticides wipe/squash them with your fingers or spray them with a mild detergent solution or spray with seaweed extract.

Earthing up potatoes When potatoes show 23cm 8” of growth draw soil up around them, leaving 10cm 4” of leaf showing. You will need to do this twice to keep the tubers buried and out of the light.

Hoe regularly This will stop weeds growing and competing with plants for light and nutrients.  As you hoe slugs and other pests are brought to the surface for the birds to eat.

Regular tidying  Remove yellowing leaves on brassicas to avoid developing grey mould as they decay which will in turn attract slugs.

Keep composting Any weeds that have not seeded, trimmings and veg waste can be added to your compost heap to improve your soil next year.

Salad Using a growbag (£2.25 in the shop) will give you a supply of fresh cut and come again leaves for 6-8 weeks. The compost will be packed with nutrients, it will be weed free, and raised off the ground relatively easy to keep the slugs at bay.You can buy seed mixes or make your own from a mix of seeds you already have. Beetroot, chard,dill, kale, lettuce, rocket, coriander, spinach all work well as baby leaves and give  a variety of flavour, texture and colour.

Buying compost When stored bags of compost begin to decompose so when buying make sure it is fresh and not too wet. EDAA stock control ensures that we only sell fresh compost.