May 12 - May 18

The one thing that makes a lawn look really good is the lack of weeds, just nice even sward of grass. Lawn weeds can multiply surprisingly quickly, so deal with them promptly.

Feed and weed

The one thing that makes a lawn look really good is the lack of weeds, just nice even sward of grass. Lawn weeds can multiply surprisingly quickly, so deal with them promptly. On small lawns dig them out or spot treat them with a selective weedkiller. For larger areas the simplest method is to apply a feed-and-weed mixture according to manufacturer's recommendations. There are many types - some granules and some liquid forms. Whatever you use it is important to put it on correctly with a proper applicator.

Harden off plants

Now is the time of year when tender plants can go outside for summer. The secret is to gradually acclimatise them to the great outdoors, by hardening them off. Start by putting them outside during the day for increasingly long periods and taking them in at night. Conservatory plants will also appreciate some fresh air now.

Coming up roses...

Roses are one of those plants that produce such a good show of flowers through the summer but seem to attract every pest and disease. To help prevent your roses being devastated inspect plants regularly for signs of pests and diseases. Caught quickly, problems are easier to deal with. Remove and burn shoots affected by fungal diseases.Water the plants at the roots as wet foliage will encourage diseases. It is a good idea to spray every two weeks with a fungicide to keep black spot and mildews at bay and an insecticide to keep the aphids under control.

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Tender loving care

Even though we have been having some very hot days at this time of year we can still have cool nights with a frost by morning. It is easy to forget to keep tender plants covered with fleece at night or tucked up in a greenhouse. Check the forecast and if frost threatens then make sure tender plants are protected.

Looking after strawberries

Regularly weed strawberry beds, pinch out runners as they appear and check for pests and diseases. Keep them well watered in dry weather and, if frost threatens, cover the plants to protect the flowers. Net the plants to keep birds off the ripening fruit. Lay straw or straw mats along the row to protect the fruit.

Plant out brassicas

Plant out cabbage and other brassica seedlings, giving them an open site in fertile, well-drained soil. Set the plants with their lower leaves just above soil level and firm in well. Where cabbage root fly is a problem put a brassicas collar round the base of the stem or grow under cloches.

Water new trees and shrubs

Although we have had a reasonable amount of rain lately, take care with trees and shrubs planted earlier this year. They still need regular watering with vast amounts of water once a week rather than a little everyday. After giving them a good soak, mulch round them with garden compost, well-rotted manure or bark to help hold in the moisture and keep annual weeds at bay.

Get early veg in

If you have not already planted out veg that has been grown on in a greenhouse or cold frame it should go out now. Courgettes and marrow plants should be planted 60cm apart and 120cm between the rows if you need more than one row. Runner beans should be planted out, as they will soon tangle with each other. When training them up canes remember to wind them anti-clockwise. Sweet corn needs to be planted in a block to ensure good pollination. If you have not raised these plants indoors early in the season do not fear as they can all still be sown direct into the ground. They will just be a little later maturing - this can be a good thing as they are cropping when the others have gone over.

Martyn Davey