Growing in the Garden – May Update

What better way to start the new blog really going than for me to give you an update of all that is happening in our urban garden.

A little background

Our growing patch is split into two areas: a front garden and a back garden. The front is mostly north (slightly west but mostly north) and gets sun from the afternoon until the evening.  The back garden is mostly south and gets the sun from early morning to late evening).  Both aren’t that big in size, as garden’s go but they are pretty big when it comes to being able to grow food in.

When I designed the back garden, I created it to achieve four main areas:

Growing food, a lawn for playing on (the dogs, not me), areas for wildlife to rest, eat and drink, and seating areas to relax in.  It had to be easy to maintain and most importantly easy to grow food in!

The front garden, due to its position, is mainly lawn, wildlife native hedging and some food growing areas.

This blog documents my ongoing gardening plans, growing experiences, and adventures in the place I call my sanctuary.

What am I growing in 2016?

Most of the 6 raised beds are split into two, three and even four crops areas.

Bed 1 (each bed is 1.5m x 1.5m)

  • Runner beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach

Bed 2

  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Kale

Bed 3

  • Potatoes (2 varieties, both mains)

Bed 4

  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes

Bed 5

  • Strawberries

Bed 6

  • Sweetcorn
  • Squash
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumbers

Other areas

  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Apples (espalier) (Egremont Russett)
  • Plum (espalier)
  • Cheery tree
  • Blueberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Redcurrants
  • Nuts (Kentish cob)
  • Hops (Fuggle)
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Mint (spearmint)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Chillies (Cayenne)
  • Lettuce
  • Spring onions
  • Radishes

May Update

I love May, it’s my favourite month of the year.  The Blossom is still a sight to behold, new leaves are beginning to unfurl, the birds are singing brightly and the days are warmer and brighter.

The garden is beginning to fill out.  Where over winter there were bare patches now it’s full of greens, pinks and reds.  The spring bulbs that so nicely led the way to colour is now being replaced by perennial flowers.  The garden is full of wonder and expectation before the battle of pests starts next month.

Seeds I planted in April are now taking off, in the beds and the pots.  The potatoes (which I planted a couple of weeks too early) are now just putting their spurt of growth on.  The chillies have been potted up, the raspberries have been tied up and tomatoes plants I grew from seed have been added to the garlic bed.

I’m trying companion planting this year.  Hopefully, the garlic should help the tomatoes keep the greenfly and spider mites away.  Garlic is mostly a repellant. You only have to eat it and breath on someone to know it’s great for that!

It’s the first time I’ve grown tomatoes outside with garlic so looking forward to seeing the results.

Pests and disease

Greenfly is already on the loose around some of the wildlife hedging. I need to keep a very close eye on the cherry and apple trees as it attacks both of these viciously every year.  The only other issue at the moment is snails.  They have been hibernating and just starting to wake up.

Most morning’s I’m finding snails around some of the pots.  I’m using the most organic method available which is to encourage insect eaters but for the seedlings, I’m using organic slug pellets (containing ferric phosphate).

Gardening jobs in May

  • Sow sweetcorn, more basil, runner beans, squash and cucumbers (my last lot all died on me)
  • Earth up the potatoes
  • Keep training the espaliers
  • Be on pest alert!

What are you up to in the garden this month?  Share your comments and ideas below.  I look forward to seeing them.

Have a great green week and I’ll catch you next Monday.

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8 thoughts on “Growing in the Garden – May Update

    1. Hi Helen, I rotate the beds. This yr one bed has peas, spinach and runner beans. The other has beetroot, carrots, leaks and kale. So far most of the seed has germinated. Just waiting on the runner (pole) beans now.

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      1. That sounds great. Which latitude are in – and which hemisphere? The reason I ask is because I doubt carrots would grow in a north-facing garden in the UK (where I am).

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  1. You’ve done an inspiring job! Sadly, I’ve been too absorbed in quilting and soap making and have neglected a decent start to my garden. I’ll probably really only be eating a lot of lettuce this year! lol

    I wish more people would understand how easy, and important, it is to grow their own veggies, there’s nothing like fresh picked 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. I need to have a go at soap making. Is it easy to do?
      Don’t worry about the garden, any time is a good time to start the season and if not the lettuce is super good too 🙂

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