May really is the month when everything springs into life. The birds are in full song, plants are growing, your seeds will be germinating, aphids are swelling in numbers and so are snails! So what to do? There is probably nothing more satisfying than watching your seeds germinate and nothing more disheartening than finding them reduced to slug and snail trails by the morning, so keep a close eye on your garden and vegetable plot.
Tackling slugs and snails early in the season will dramatically reduce their occurrence throughout the summer, so if you haven’t already, it’s time for a tidy up of any broken or discarded pots, pieces of wood, plant debris and stones that make a safe refuge for slugs and snails.
Snails and slugs are a gardenerers worst enemy
Aphids are best treated with an organically approved soap-based product used at regular intervals. As gardeners, we do, however, have a couple of natural allies in ladybirds, (although the larvae eat more aphids than the brightly coloured adults) and, more surprisingly, wasps.
Although a troublesome pest towards the end of summer, wasps are carnivorous in their early life stages and foraging adults seek out aphids to feed their developing larvae.
Aphids can be combated with soap
From the middle of the month there should be little risk of frost and the difference between night time and day time temperatures will have significantly reduced, thus making it a suitable time to sow most of your summer vegetables, although I would still wait until mid-June for very temperature sensitive plants such as basil.
In the flower garden, consider letting plants such as field poppies, Californian poppies, foxgloves, wallflowers and pansies go to seed to ensure a good display for the coming year.
Californian poppies are excellent this time of year
Share Gardening is a social enterprise of Share Community, a charity based in Wandsworth that provides training and employment support for disabled adults.
Share Gardening provides garden maintenance and planting services. To find out more or to get a quote, contact Colin on telephone 020 7924 2949 or email email@example.com. To find out more about Share’s work, visit www.sharecommunity.org.uk