Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.Lady Gregory of Coole
May is the month of lime green leaves, the sweet smell of blossom, the busy buzz of bees and the promise of endless summer days. Mayflowers (Hawthorn or Whitethorn) provide clouds of white blossom. Cut grass floats on the air, punctuated by the sweet scent of flowers.
Dates, events, holidays and festivals.
2nd May – Early May bank holiday
Seasonal, astronomical and nautical events
1st May – Spring Tide
9th May – 1st Quarter
10th May – Neap Tide
16th May – Full Moon, Flower Moon
17th May – Spring Tide
22nd May – 3rd Quarter
23rd May – Neap Tide
30th May – New Moon
31st May – Spring Tide
Festivals and events, religious, traditional and sporting
30th April – 1st May – The Artisan Cheese Fair
30th April – 2nd May – Urchfont Scarecrow Festival
1st May – May Day
1st May – Dorset Knob Throwing
2nd May – Duncombe Park Country Fair
5th – 8th May – RHS Malvern Spring Festival
7th May – Glanusk Welsh Stallion Show
13th – 22nd May – The Bath Festival
14th -15th May – Spring Flying Metting, North Coates Airfield
14th May – The FA Cup Final
21st & 22nd May – Smallholding and Countryside Festival
22nd May – Leaden Boot Challenge
22nd May – SoapBox Derby
24th – 28th May – RHS Chelsea Flower Show
26th May – 6th June – Hay Festival of Literature and Arts
30th May – Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling
TBA – Tour de Yorkshire
Also, see the Red Arrows UK display schedule 2022
May seasonal foods
What foods are seasonal in May.
Greens & leaves: Cabbage, Pak choi, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring greens, Radicchio, Watercress, Lettuce Lamb’s, lettuce, Chervil, Mint.
Roots and other veg: New potatoes, Potato, Onion, Spring onion, asparagus, Peas, Radish, Broad Beans.
Meat: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Spring lamb.
Seafood: Crab, Halibut, Salmon, Kipper, Mackerel, Tuna.
Exotics: Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Nectarine.
Find out more about seasonal foods throughout the year with a guide to Seasonal foods.
On the Farm in May
All lambs tailed, castrated, ear-notched and ear-tagged. Shear the long tails of the sheep to prevent flystrike i.e. flies laying their eggs in the wool and producing maggots that eat into the sheep.
Stock is removed from silage fields and fertiliser is spread to allow six weeks of growth before cutting. Clean out all livestock buildings.
Fencing and walling repairs.
Crops Fertilised. Spray potatoes, beets, peas, beans and cereals.
Find out more about what is happening in the Year on the farm
Things to do in May
In the May garden
May is the last real month of sowing and planting. If there is showery weather things will grow with great speed, but a dry period can seriously vex the allotment holder. Get any remaining potatoes planted, sow for late drops of roots, and continue with salad leaves.
May like April is a month of massive growth – and this includes weeds. It is time to use the hoe to tackle these: the best time to hoe is early morning on a dry day, as the sunshine will do most of the work for you. 10 minutes with the hoe can save hours of weeding later.
Out and about
Also, see the Out and about Blogs
Late spring or early summer?
Recipe of the month.
Salmon fillet, minty new potatoes and peas.
A light, wholesome and filling dish, that is an ideal lunch on a fresh sunny May day.
Easy to prepare and full of seasonal goodness. Easily doubled up for guests, or halved for a tasty tea time treat.
- 400g new potatoes
- 8 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 200g fresh broad beans
- 200g fresh peas
- 2 salmon fillets
- Dash of oil
- knob of butter
An oven cooking tray, two smallish pans. Potato masher.
- Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
- Add a glug of oil to the oven dish and place in oven.
- Clean the potatoes. If some are large, chop them to make approximately the same size as the smaller.
- Prepare the asparagus. Just rinse and snap of the very base of the stem. This should occur naturally towards the bottom.
- If using Peas and Beans fresh from the garden, shell into a container. If these are not available, do use frozen.
- Clean the salmon and pat dry. Add a little salt and pepper if desired.
- Half fill a kettle with water, boil.
- Place potatoes in a small pan with a generous quantity of mint and a little dash of salt. Almost cover with water, place lid on the pan. Bring to the boil, then cook on a – medium – low heat for 18 – 22 minutes.
- Add asparagus to preheated pan from oven. Stir or toss to coat in named oil.
- Move the asparagus to the sides of the oven dish, and place in salmon filets skin side down. Cook both for about 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.
- Add the Peas/beans to another small pan. Pour in boiling water to about twice the amount of veg. Get water bubbling and heat reasonably vigorously for 3 – 4 minutes. (If using Frozen, 3 – 4 mins after returning to the boil). We are looking to make them hot, not transform then into a soup. Larger or older broad beans may require more substantial cooking.
- Drain potatoes, remove the mint. Return to the pan and gently crush and add a few small pieces of butter and allow to melt through.
- Drain peas/beans. Return to the pan and gently crush: feel free to add a bit of butter here too. a couple of spoons of good mint sauce is a very tasty addition.
- Plate the salmon and asparagus. Stir the potatoes (to distribute the butter) and serve. Do the same with the peas and beans. Enjoy.
For more inspiration see the Food Blogs
May Jobs in the vegetable garden or allotment
Thinning seedlings and watering seedlings. Pot on and prick out plants.
Hardening off plants and seedlings.
Mulch and feed fruit bushes. Trim off excessive growth, remove unwanted raspberry canes.
Put in supports for peas and runner beans.
Tie in and support Broad beans.
Sowing and Planting
Indoors: Sow -Aubergines, Bell peppers, Cabbages (all except spring), Cauliflower (summer and autumn), Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumbers, Endive, Fennel, French beans, Kale, Kohl rabi, Marrows, Pumpkins and winter squash, Runner beans, Sprouting broccoli, Sweetcorn, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes.
Outdoors under cover: sow – Beetroot, Lettuces, Oriental leaves, Rocket, Salad leaves, Turnips.
Outdoors: Sow – Broad beans, Brussels sprouts, Cabbages, Carrots, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Kohl rabi, Leeks, Lettuces, Onions, Oriental leaves, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Spring onions, Spinach beet, Sprouting broccoli, Swiss chard, Turnips.
Plant: Asparagus, Broad beans, Globe artichokes, Endive, Florence fennel, French beans, Jerusalem artichokes, Kale, Kohl rabi, Lettuces, Marrows, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins and winter squashes, Radishes, Runner beans, Sprouting broccoli, Sweetcorn, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes.
Asparagus, Broad Beans, Cabbages (Spring), Cauliflower (Spring), Globe artichokes, Lettuces, Oriental leaves, Peas, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rocket, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring onions, Turnips.
Find out more about what is happening in the allotment or vegetable garden
Activities, things to see and do in May
The month of May can be spectacular and can feel like a real release from the cooler months. Two bank holidays can give it a particularly festive feel, combined with the ever-increasing abundance of blossom. May is known particularly for the May Flowers (Hawthorn) and Cherry blossom.
Thinking about getting out and about, then perhaps Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey to discover new places or see the latest handheld GPS devices with bundled mapping from Ordnance Survey.