Prune shrubby herbs such as sage and thyme to ensure they stay compact and trim Lavender to 3 cm below the base of old flower stalks.
Early asparagus spears are ready when they are around 15cm tall. Cut just below the surface with a sharp knife.
Sow sweet peas outdoors and plant out autumn sown plants once they are hardened off. Pinch off shoot tips of autumn sown plants once they reach 7.5 – 10 cm from the ground.
Protect fruit blossom from frost damage by covering with fleece when frost is forecast. This is only practical on small and wall trained fruit trees, eg peach, cherry, plum and apricots.
If you have forced rhubarb, harvest stems at 20-23 cm long. Pull the stems by hand. Mulch well rotted manure or garden compost afterwards. Do not harvest again until 2026 because forcing weakens the plant.
Prune back Cornus and Salix hard now. Cut to just above the previous year’s growth or 5-10cm from the ground. This will ensure vibrant stem colour for next year.
At the end of the month, sow tender vegetable indoors such as runner and french beans, courgettes, squashes and pumpkins.
Forsythia will soon finish flowering. To keep plants neat and ensure a good display next year, cut flowered stems back to a strong new leafy side shoot and remove one or two of the oldest stems to the base.
Plant seed potato tubers this month in prepared beds or containers, starting with first earlies through to maincrops at the end of the month.
To provide new growth for flowering later this summer and stop the plants getting woody, prune hardy fuchsias back to healthy buds.