What to grow in the greenhouse now: May

Victorian greenhouse bench at Holehird Gardens Cumbria

May is one of the most exciting times to be working in the greenhouse. The risk of frost has passed for the majority of the country – or it hopefully has! Most seedlings and young plants are now toughened up and this is the month to finalise the planting programme for the greenhouse.

May sun can be extremely hot and potentially damaging, particularly to younger plants, so take care when watering and, if necessary provide some sun shade.

Tomato and other seedlings should now be potted up and using 3” biodegradable pots. By the end of the month these should be potted on to their growing site. For tomato and aubergine plants the usual choice is whether to plant them straight into the beds, use growing bags or pot on into larger 10” or 12” pots. It is a similar situation for Californian Sweet Peppers and cucumber plants. The choice is whether to grow in pots or beds/grow bags. There is no right answer and the final solution is usually down to available space and the number of plants being put out.

All should be watered at least once a day – depending on the weather and NEVER in full sun. Evening is best when the sun is down. The cool of the night prevents that vital water form evaporating away before it gets to the roots. Feeding is weekly and try to select one day that is most convenient and stick to it. Weeding is a daily chore, as is removing the side shoots from the tomato plants. Always fill the watering cans and leave them inside the greenhouse in shade to get to temperature. Pest control is a constant battle.

Keep the greenhouse well ventilated, particularly in sunny weather. Sweep it regularly, weed it daily and enjoy the fruits of your labours. If you have lots of green tomato fruits still on the vines as autumn approaches there is a good tip to keep them fresh and ripening. Pick only the larger and unmarked fruits. Place them on a tray covered by brown paper in front of a south facing window. If you are lucky and have enjoyed a big tomato crop, you could still be eating them in March next year!

Posted by Linda in Tips