May garden guide: Tips to help keep your garden in sharp shape


As the last autumn leaves are falling, now is your last chance to plant bulbs and protect your garden from frosts.

Now is the time to plant trees and shrubs so they can be established over the cold & wet winter months.

What are the most important jobs to accomplish this month?

  • Feijoas, Guavas and Tamarilloes are needed to be harvested as they ripen.
  • Be sure to pile up the soil around growing leeks to provide support and keel the stem whitened.
  • Lay quash granules around young seedlings in order to protect them from slugs and snails. These are also rain resistant, which is great for winter use.
  • Be sure to mulch your fruit trees and vegetables with compost.
  • Move your house plants into warmer positions to reduce watering.
  • To see what to plant and when in your area, you can download this handy planting calendar. Download this handy planting calendar to see what to plant in your area, and when.

Flower Garden

  • May is the last month to plant new trees and shrubs before winter, so they are able to get established over the colder, wet, winter months.
  • Now is also your last chance before winter to plant bulbs for a bright spring display.
  • May is a great time to sow Alyssum, Calendula, Cineraria, Cornflower, Forget-me-not, Lobelia, Lupin, Nemesia, Statice, Stock, Sweetpea, and Virginian stock seeds.
  • Anytime between May and September is great for planting Lilies (Lilium). These are easy to grow, but make sure to work bulb food into the planting area use 10cm of soil to cover the bulbs.
  • You can start preparing soil for new seasons roses, which will arrive in stores late may.
  • Be sure to move frost tender patio plants into shelter.

Edible Garden

  • Maintain foliage colour and health of citrus trees by using Tui Citrus food.
  • Now is a great time to sow Betroot, Broccoli, Broad Beans, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Onions, Radish, Spinach, Swedes, and Turnip seeds directly into the garden bed.
  • Garlic and Shallot bulb are now able to be planted until late July.
  • Cut back Asparagus plants to within 15cm of ground level after the stems start to turn yellow.
  • You can start planting your first lot of strawberries. Plants which are well established will fruit earlier and for longer in spring and summer.
  • Sow Blue Lupin or Mustard seeds if your vege patch will not be used over winter. This is a great way to add nutrients and improve your soil for spring.
  • A greenhouse will allow you to continue growing salad vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and capsicum over the cooler winter months.


  • While the whether is still warm, it is your last chance to repair or sow a new lawn.
  • To improve water penetration through the soil and reduce dry patches, mix in saturaid with your lawn seed.

Be sure to thoroughly clean your garden out before the cold, wet months to free up space for young seedlings to grow. Put dead organic matter into the compost pile to decompose.

Remember, May is your last chance before the whether turns to plant new trees and shrubs, and harvest the last of your summer fruit!



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