The most critical month of the whole year

I’m just looking at my dad’s old gardening book – well, it was new when he had it for his birthday from my mum, the first year they were married. So far this year, May has been more like April, sunshine and showers and very cold. Today started of miserable, rain, drizzle, rain, spitting, rain… but we went out despite it and as the day progressed it became clearer and actually warmer!

No doubt in May my dad would have been busy in the garden; this is what Richard Sudell who wrote ‘Practical Gardening and Food Production’ instructs:


Probably some hot sunny weather, but still the possibility of frost at night. The most critical month of the whole year for raisers of bedding and vegetable garden seedlings.

May work

  • Plant out hardy plants from frames.
  • Sow quick maturing annuals for succession.
  • Sow tender vegetables in the open.
  • Watch the progress of the weather, and be prepared with protection for all seedlings.
  • Prepare beds and sow seeds of biennials.
  • Keep the plot and boarders clean.
  • Hoe regularly.
  • Mow regularly.
  • Fight pests: many of the worst are now busy laying eggs.
  • Prepare to plant out tender summer bedding plants, and plan how to fill gaps in the summer colour scheme.

He continues through Food Plots, Fruit Garden, Flower Patch, General Maintenance and lastly Under Glass. He writes so precisely and clearly, I’m sure much of his suggestions and directions are just as valid today as when my dad followed his instructions!


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