Urgent jobs in the garden for May
- Make compost.
- Collect autumn leaves to make leaf litter or to add to compost. Add sparingly to compost as too much in a layer causes matting. Mix leaves well with other ingredients to prevent this.
- Net brassicas and Asian greens with exclusion netting, weighing down the hem to keep pests out.
- Dunk brassica plants (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale etc) in punnets in Dipel, an organic bacterium, to deter green caterpillars that emerge from eggs laid by white cabbage moths (see video below). Spray every 7 days on underside and topside of leaves or plant American Upland Cress between plants. This plant is a dead end trap plant. The white cabbage moth lays eggs on the leaves and when born the caterpillars eat the leaves and die (see video below). Then net as above.
- Plant out autumn/winter vegetables.
- Plant garlic no later than the end of May and preferably by mid May. June is too late.
- Cut strawberry runners and pot up in potting mix. Cut back leaves of strawberries – you can even mow them down on a high blade – and dispose of them. Divide them in spring if they are too crowded.
- Cut asparagus fronds to ground level once they have yellowed.
- Provide trellises for climbing peas.
- If overwintering eggplants and capsicums, prune any dieback or wounds and provide protection for them eg. surround with hessian attached to stakes
- Harvest autumnal fruit including feijoas, guava, persimmon, tamarillo and citrus. Microwave any with fruit fly.
- Check olives for harvest readiness.
Using Dipel to deter white cabbage moth
American Upland Cress
Written by Robin Gale-Baker