Pick up great gardening tips as we launch brand new monthly Free Press garden column

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

If you want to get your garden in great shape, welcome to our brand new Doncaster Free Press gardening column, packed with great tips and advice for a green-fingered paradise.

Hello everyone, allow me to introduce myself – the Yorkshire Flower Faffer!

My name is Sally, a proud Yorkshire lass and your new regular here at the DFP to bring you a monthly offering of all things gardening and facts you may or not know about nature.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Think of this like a gardening column with useful advice like Alan Titchmarsh gives but imagine him wearing a pink tutu with his gardening boots and wool socks whilst twirling in and out of his glorious lavender bushes and reciting a funny poem by Pam Ayres! (you can’t get that image out of your head now, can you?)

Keen gardener Sally Robinson will be passing on monthly gardening tips to Free Press readers.Keen gardener Sally Robinson will be passing on monthly gardening tips to Free Press readers.
Keen gardener Sally Robinson will be passing on monthly gardening tips to Free Press readers.

Well, let's get started then, no time like the present.

It should be May by the time you read this and if you’ve not had consistent rain for what seems like six months and little to zero blasts of that hot yellow blob in the sky (I think they call it the Sun?) then you obviously do not live in the UK, and we are all jealous of you.

I reckon most of us have, by now, booked a holiday somewhere hot on our credit card just so we can walk around for five minutes without our big coat and wellies on. How exhausting!

Yet May, May holds the key, the key that is going to warm up the soil and see the way through to those brighter, longer magical evenings that we all love so much (excuse me while I open the wine a for a long overdue Sun downer).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
May holds the key, the key that is going to warm up the soil and see the way through to those brighter, longer magical evenings that we all love so much.May holds the key, the key that is going to warm up the soil and see the way through to those brighter, longer magical evenings that we all love so much.
May holds the key, the key that is going to warm up the soil and see the way through to those brighter, longer magical evenings that we all love so much.

If you are a vegetable gardener, you may have got a head start in April but if not, you can now direct sow things like beetroot, carrots, radish, spring onions, cauliflowers, fennel and peas.

It is also not too late to sow tomatoes, brussels sprouts, pumpkins, cucumbers, sweet corn, squashes and courgettes in pots, but do this indoors for now and plant out when the soil is warmer, and the chance of frost has passed.

Predicted last frost dates for Doncaster are between May 1 and May 10.

If you would like to fill your garden with flowers then you can still sow Cosmos, Salvia, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Nicotiana, Calendula and the amazing Strawflower are all great and very easy seeds to germinate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
If you would like to fill your garden with flowers then you can still sow Cosmos, Salvia, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Nicotiana, Calendula and the amazing Strawflower are all great and very easy seeds to germinate.If you would like to fill your garden with flowers then you can still sow Cosmos, Salvia, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Nicotiana, Calendula and the amazing Strawflower are all great and very easy seeds to germinate.
If you would like to fill your garden with flowers then you can still sow Cosmos, Salvia, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Nicotiana, Calendula and the amazing Strawflower are all great and very easy seeds to germinate.

Down on my own flower farm I have already sown my Sweet Peas, Statice, Cosmos, Zinnias, Amaranthus and Nasturtiums to name but a few, but I have got to say even though they are up and through the soil they too seem to be a waiting to see what’s happening with this weather.

I think, like me, they are unhappy that the sun keeps hiding behind the clouds and are waiting for the rain to get the memo to stop falling.

The wildflowers that are opening up now are doing their best to attract the bees and the dawn chorus starts to get louder.

FUN FACT Did you know birds only sing when they feel safe and there are no predators around? This dates back millennia and humans would listen out for the birds and know they too were safe to go about their business. If they were silent, I guess they’d start to panic, or start running.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
May is a great time to get into the garden to ensure a fruitful summer.May is a great time to get into the garden to ensure a fruitful summer.
May is a great time to get into the garden to ensure a fruitful summer.

You will now see the countryside starting to unfurl with the frothy cowslip blowing in the wind, the last of the daffodils and tulips starting to die back and interspersed with the beautiful bouncing blue bells. Summer is on its way.

Love it or loathe it, you will see plenty of the stupendous stinging nettle mixed in within an untouched area of the roadside or an unloved part of your, back garden but did you know of its amazing healing properties and also the benefits it can have as a natural organic feed for your plants?

I always cut down some of the nettle in my garden when it is still quite young, (gloves and long sleeves are recommended unless you get a kick out of getting stung, who am I to judge?) stick it in a large bucket, cover it with water and weigh it down with a brick. Pop a lid over it to keep out the light and leave to steep and ferment down for approximately 3 to 6 weeks.

Word of warning though, when you take that lid off be prepared for a smell akin to wearing the same socks for a month, walking through cow manure then putting your feet back into sweaty shoes for another month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yes, it smells bad, but is exceptionally nutritious, providing nitrogen, and is rich in minerals. Dilute it down (1 part solution to 10 parts water) into your watering can and top up with water and apply liberally, it will stimulate growth and improve the chlorophyll function of plants. No chemicals, plastic or shipping it for miles which in turn helps the environment, it’s a win win.

You can also use this golden liquid as a soil drench to enhance the availability of nutrients in your soil and make it more accessible to plant roots.

If you can’t get enough of this power plant and you would like to improve your own nutrient content, nettles contain calcium, fibre, protein, glucosamine and vitamin K to name a few, it may help to reduce inflammation, give you stronger teeth and improve your skin's health.

From nettle tea, soup and adding to omelettes or frittata, it is worth googling and easy to find a recipe you would enjoy and include this superfood that is right on our doorstep.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Well, I’ll wrap it up there for this month and let you get on with keeping on top of the weeding, pull them up while they are young and then they don’t get chance to develop strong roots (you’ll thank me later).

I look forward to chatting with you next month about what to do in your garden for June when I am certain there will be less rain and we will all have a rosy glow from those warm rays of the glorious sun.

In the meantime, if you would like to see what I am up to on my flower farm then please feel free to follow me or direct message on my social platforms Instagram and Facebook

You can also email me at [email protected]

A parting poem to celebrate May

May is Pretty, May is Mild

by Annette Wynne

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

May is pretty, May is mild,Dances like a happy child;Sing out, robin; spring out, flowers;April went with all her showers,And the world is green again;Come out, children, to the glen,To the meadows, to the wood,For the earth is clean and good,And the sky is clear and blue,And bright May is calling you!

May is pretty, May is mild,Dances like a happy child,On a blessèd holiday,Come out, children, join the play!

  • Sally Robinson, (AKA The Yorkshire Flower Faffer) is born and bred in Doncaster and owner of Field Good Flowers, a British seasonal flower grower in Hatfield. She is an avid lover of nature, gardening, writing and art and is a mum to three rescue dogs, always passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of all that is mentioned with you and others.
Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.