Fiann’s tips for the weekend

Leek seedlings

* Be alert to late frosts. Some fruits and tender crops may still need fleece protection.

* May is the thinning month. Thinning enables space for roots to swell and spread and gives space too to top surface foliage spread and lessens competition for water and nutrients.

* Similarly to thinning, disbudding can be a practice of strengthening the vigour of plants for future years. 

Traditionally new Strawberries (those only planted earlier in the current year) have their flowers removed preventing them from setting fruit and thus focusing their energies into building good roots to support a bumper crop next year.

* The weeds will be at full pelt this month but don’t get side-tracked from pests and diseases including leaf miners, leafhoppers, mites, weevils, aphids, and eelworms and many May-time pests that vector viral diseases. Get the garlic spray out.

* Be vigilant for canker, stem root, soft rot and blossom end wilt this month.

* Earth up potatoes to prevent the new tubers going green, leave about 5cm of shoot uncovered to keep plants photosynthesing and for continued growth.

* When it comes to planting out leeks, an old practice sometimes still chronicled by contemporary garden writers and pundits, is to top and tail (trim a bit of root and foliage) your seedling leeks before transplanting from greenhouse to end site. 

This is nonsense, the shock of it will set back your leeks. The trick is to dib a hole, slide leek in and water around allowing a natural backfill of soil to occur. No surgery required.


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