Skip to main content

What To Do in the Allotment This May

Published on May 1st 2020

by AlanGardenMaster. All rights reserved

A group radish vegetables
During May, the edible garden really gets a wriggle on! Earlier sown and planted crops will grow incredibly well this month, and there's more to sow and plant. Some crops will need support, some pruning, and you need to be on the watch out for pests.
Don't forget to down tools on Sunday, May 10th and celebrate Garden Day with me. Why not wear a #flowercrown of edibles?
Celebrate your garden successes of the year and delve into some of our floral-inspired, plot-to-plate, garden day recipes:
A close up of a sign

Create a Banquet Fit For Garden Royalty: Four Tasty Recipes Using Edible Flowers


A close up of a flower

Simple Recipe for Garden Day Pesto


The Vegetable Patch in May

  • Sow sweetcorn directly into well-cultivated soil outside. Sow in blocks, not rows, for good pollination. F1 "Sundance" is a particularly good cropper and has been awarded RHS Award of Garden Merit.
A bowl of sweet corn sundance
  • Sow courgettes, marrows, ridge cucumbers and melons in individual pots. When germinated plant the melons under glass or polythene as they will need all the heat they can get. All like lots of organic matter so plant them with lots of compost.
  • Sow turnips, swedes, cauliflower, leeks and other late winter vegetables now. Turnips and swedes should be sown where you want them to grow, but the others will need to be transplanted and spaced out.
  • Plant out basil; this herb is best grown in a very sheltered spot, in pots. It may even pay to grow them in between your greenhouse tomatoes.
  • Earth up early potatoes and keep a watch out for late frosts. Cover with horticultural fleece if frosty.
  • Plant runner beans. Support them with canes or poles and strings. Make sure that they are protected from wind and well-watered at all times.
  • Support peas and mange-tout with pea sticks, prunings or netting.
  • Sow borage, nasturtium and other edible flowers for use in salads.
Find out what to plant this month in the May Growing Guide:


  • If necessary, prune stone fruits now (cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, etc.). It's best to make a few large cuts, rather than lots of little ones, as this reduces the risk of silver leaf disease infection through the many open wounds.
  • Remove strawberry runners as they develop as these waste the plant's energy. Lay straw under fruit trusses to prevent mud splashing. Cover with bird netting.
  • There's nothing worse than finding annoying maggots in your fruit, so make sure to hang pheromone traps on your apple and plum trees. The traps will attract and capture male moths, which indirectly reduces egg-laying and indicates when moth numbers are high in your garden. You can then use a single insecticide application rather than regularly spraying in the hope of gaining control. Tip: you'll need separate traps for apple and plum as they have different pests!
Codling moth grubs in apples
  • Tie in soft new shoots of trained fruit trees and canes. Flexi-tie is soft tubular plastic and the perfect material to use, and you can reuse it too!
  • Hoe raspberry canes off where they appear in between the rows.
  • Check gooseberries, Birch and 'Solomon's Seal' for Sawfly larvae. If left, they will strip the leaves in a few days. Use a general insecticide or SB Invigorator.
Find out alternatives to pesticides here:


  • If deer are getting into your garden and eating your roses, apple shoots and other plants, try a sonic pest control systems. If badgers and foxes are coming in and causing damage, these sonic emitters work well on them too.
A roe deer buck in a garden
  • Continue to feed birds but avoid feeding peanuts and other large food from feeders that allow the adults to take whole seeds to their young. It is thought that this can cause choking of fledgelings. Feeding suet fat balls is a good alternative. It is vital to continue to support birds at this crucial time.
  • Leave a patch of grass to grow longer and even some weeds to create a wildlife sanctuary. Piles of old logs can make a brilliant home for wildlife. A small sheet of corrugated iron may encourage slow worms and grass snakes into your garden. In return, they will eat many of your pests.
A wildlife log pile in a garden

Jobs for the Greenhouse and Polytunnel plants

  • Start feeding greenhouse tomatoes with a high potash tomato feed as soon as you can see the first visible tiny fruit.
  • Remove side shoots from cordon type tomatoes before they get too long, and thin out the side shoots on bush varieties. Make sure to provide support for both types to prevent stem breakage when fruit becomes denser.
  • As all plants grow larger and days get longer and hotter, remember to increase the amount and frequency of watering.
watering can
  • Increase ventilation on bright days. It may be necessary to open vents very early in the morning and close late in the evening or even leave them a little open at night.
  • Plant marigolds or tagetes as 'companion plants' to encourage natural predators into your greenhouse to control pests. It can provide pesticide-free control of whitefly, greenfly and red spider mite.
Tagetes and Calendula with tomatoes and peppers

Find out what to plant this month in the May Growing Guide!

#Candide Festival of Flowers
Haven't you heard? It's the Candide Festival of Flowers!, meaning we're having a gardenia party all month long. To find out about what's going on, read the article below:

Related articles

A close up of a purple hardy geranium flower

In the garden


What to Do in the Garden in May

In this story, I'll tell you what seeds need sowing, what plants need pruning with a few extra tips on how to keep on top of...
Pots of flowering and foliage plants

In the garden


What to Do in the Garden This Week - April 30th

April was warmer than usual and with little rain, but gardens are now looking magnificent.
A close up of a flower

Plot on Plate Competition

Chelsea Physic Garden has announced its first-ever miniature gardening competition.

Love gardens? Sign up for Candide’s Almanac!

A weekly edit of freshly picked gardening tips, travel guides, and the best botanical days out happening near you. Unsubscribe at any time.



About usCareersPrivacy policy

Candide is your guide to visiting UK public gardens. Find the best gardens, buy tickets and enter with just your phone. Download the app for offline tickets, community access and more.

Terms & ConditionsCode of Conduct

© 2022 Candide

Made in Bristol