Wednesday, May 4, 2011
May is the busy month in the garden. The "to-do" list is long but with out the heat of summer, gardening is a delight.
Our April was so cold and rainy that I'm behind in my garden tasks. My main garden has nothing growing in it but the garlic I planted last fall and a little lettuce. The garden lays low and it has been too busy to till.
The test plots we started last year are up on the hill and better drained (and sure to be dry in the summer). I planted our peas and potatoes in these plots so I don't feel too far behind. But I've said before, after last year's drought, I am trying not to complain about the deluge. It is a blessing to see everything lush and green!
The asparagus was slow at coming up because of the cold. Finally, last week it started growing and we've enjoyed asparagus every other day since then. Our lettuce and spinach is also growing well. I love to eat fresh vegetables again. No more canned or frozen stuff until fall frost!
Here is my list of garden tasks for this month along with a few tips. Your goals may vary depending on your garden and your area of the country. And remember, I'm an amateur gardener and don't claim to be an expert! I'd like to be corrected if I'm mis-informed in any way!
1. Plant beans, carrots, and corn, as well as another planting of greens. Also plant the brocolli and cabbage plants that are still waiting for the soil to dry out. Hope it isn't too late!
2. Set out tomato plants in early to mid May. Tomatoes like 50 degree soil. Cooler temperatures, day or night, will slow their growth. Just because the air is warm doesn't mean the soil is warm. I like to plant as deeply as possible, only letting the first two or three sets of leaves above ground. Roots will grow along the stem and promote a healthier plant.
3. Set out pepper plants in mid to late May. Peppers really enjoy warm weather and should not be planted until the soil is 60 degrees day and night.
3. Plant flowering annual plants and sow flower seeds such as zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers and marigolds directly in soil.
4. Finish dividing perennials flowers and pinch back the mums and fall blooming sedums.
5. Hill early potatoes.
6. Plant vine crops such as pumpkins, squash and watermelon. Vines love the heat and prefer the soil to be 85 degrees before planting so I'm not in a rush! Some folks fork in manure or compost and cover with black plastic to warm up the ground for a few weeks before planting.
8. Mulch. The secret of a weed free garden! Covering our garden with grass clippings has been a huge time saver in the summer! As soon as the seeds are up enough to see the rows, we put a thin layer of grass clippings between the rows. We add to it as the summer progresses.
So what are your goals this May in your garden? Have I missed anything?