The soil is just right for planting in late May: warm, moist and easy to cultivate. Ground that was dug last winter can be readily worked into a planting tilth with a fork, working backwards across the plot, loosening the soil to a depth of 4in or so. Avoid turning the soil over-it should break up nicely as you fork through it. It can be made finer by running the back of the tines across it, and kicking down with the boot where needed. A light raking over will be all that’s necessary to level the site.

* Subscribe to Country Life and save 40%