Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May in My Garden

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?


  1. Good list. It is still cold here and frost at night so I am about 2 weeks behind. Wish it would stop raining! We are going to grow potatoes in barrels this year to ease up some garden spot for peas. Looking forward to the experiment. Thanks for this post because I am in the same frame of mind.

  2. If the rain would ever stop I'd be out cleaning up from winter. Right now everything is so wet that you slosh walking through the grass, let alone trying to work in any of the beds.Right now I'm way behind.Veggie planting doesn't really happen til the end of May in my zone 5 garden.

  3. I'm worried that we're going to pay for all this rain later by having a summer like you had last year! I'm managing to stay on time with all my planting so far (except for peas) by using raised beds for the early crops since they have better drainage. Looking forward to all that is in store this month! :)

  4. I don't think you have missed anything. It all looks great. It is cold here - 37 last night and it is suppose to be in the 50's at night. So I am waiting a few weeks to plant my tomatoes and peppers too.

  5. dear gina,
    we have sunny days but cold nights with frost.the soil is dry..we need husband built me boxes for square can i plant red cabbage ,zuchini,squash,runner beans,broccoli,brousel favorit.thanks for this post!
    happy gardening!!

  6. Our soil is just beginning to thaw and dry. We don't do any real planting till Memorial Day. I get the day off work and we have the garden tilled and ready to go on that day. I do start some things in a tiny greenhouse. I have herbs, beets, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash started early. There are still some nights when that has to be warmed with a small lamp and I think tonight might be one of them. They are predicting snow for higher

    We haven't had any local flooding, but all around us has. One good thing about living on top of a mountian... no flooding.

    We did plant some strawberry starts and an apple tree. The place we order from were supposed to send them to us May 1st, but they arrived early April. Mr. D planted the apple tree mid April and I just planted the strawberries this past weekend. The berries seem to be doing well, the tree hasn't shown much sign of life yet, but it's still early.

    The forsythia and daffodils are blooming in the flower garden. I love forsythia because it is the very first sign of spring in this area. The crocus have mostly gone by, but they also are so sweet poking their little heads through the snow.

    We've had a few very warm days, but this week has been cold and rainy, much like your April was.

    Hope you have plenty of rain this summer. They say in these parts that a wet May means plenty of hay. Hope it's true. It'd be hard to beat the growing season we had last year.

  7. I know that I'm behind on my gardening this year, but it's still cold at night here. I've started loads of plants indoors (leeks, kale, cabbage, broccoli, onions, shallots, parsley, celery, flowers, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, peppers, and squashes), but I should have a few of the seeds in the ground by now. Maybe I'll have a chance on the weekend to plant peas, beans, spinach, swiss chard and lettuce and carrots. The garlic from last fall is growing nicely, but it's almost the only life in the veg patch.

    I have volunteer onions this year in my leek patch. I can't quite understand that, but I'll leave them there because they look very hardy. Maybe they aren't even onions. Odd.


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