30 Apr May Garden Goal Digger
What Garden Goals Do You Need to Tackle in Your May Garden?
If you live up in colder climates, you might still be seeing some snow on the ground in early May. If that’s your experience, here are two comforting thoughts for you:
1) Spring is coming to you sometime soon
2) you can laugh at the rest of us when we’re hibernating during August and you’re outside enjoying comfortably warm weather.
Now that we have the growing zone courtesies addressed, we can celebrate the fact that gardening season is in full bloom! To stay atop of all the garden madness, follow our May Garden Goals and review the checklist below.
Read more May monthly garden tips here:
Garden Season Prep Goals
• Prep new beds. Good for you if you’ve already done this, but if not, there’s still time. Utilize the warmth of the sun to solarize new beds and kill grass and weeds naturally. Mark out your bed lines and place layers of cardboard or newspaper on top, then mulch and wait.
• Plan your fall garden. No, of course it’s not too early! Count back from the fall — in order to plant your seedlings then, you need to start seeds sometime during the summer, so this spring is when you’ll want to plan it all out. Trust us; it pays to be organized.
• Get your lawn mower ready. If you haven’t used it already, you will soon! Make sure it’s in good working condition — you don’t want to find out that it’s broken when you have company coming and the grass is so tall you could lose a child in there.
• Ditto on the irrigation system. Early and mid-spring rains are often adequate enough to forego additional watering, but it’s best to make sure whatever system you have installed is working before you actually need it.
• Know your area’s last frost date. Too many gardeners either don’t know this date, or they ignore it — but they do it at their own peril and that of their garden. Plant too early and then get a late-season cold snap? Your veggies, succulents, and flowers are toast.
• Be prepared to protect your garden. Springtime can bring all manner of weather threats to your garden, from late-season frosts to hail, high wind, thunderstorms, tornados, and sudden hot weather. Do your best to protect your garden in those events — frost blankets to cover plants, adequate additional watering for hot spells, and proper tree pruning to remove dead or damaged limbs that could fall during a storm.
Garden Chore Goals
• Get those veggies in the ground! As with any plant, you’ll want to consult with your local garden experts on the timing, but with many warm-season veggies, timing is everything. Plant those tomatoes too early or too late, and you’ll either get damage from a late season frost or it’ll be too hot for the flowers to set. Almost any veggie can be planted in May, from tomatoes and squash to warm season greens, beans, okra, pumpkins, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers.
• Get your warm-weather annuals planted. The garden centers are full of seasonal color — be sure to get your potted and bedding color in now, or you’ll run the risk of not having any plants to choose from once the weather heats up. Petunias, pansies, alyssum, violas, snapdragons, vinca, nasturtiums, marigolds — whatever is in season in your area, plant ‘em now.
• Plant tender bulbs. Whether you started them indoors or bought new bulbs, get your dahlias, cannas, and caladiums in the ground now, using support stakes if necessary. And speaking of bulbs, notice if your tulip bulbs have weak bloom this spring; if so, they may be exhausted. If you think they’ve lived their best life, dig them up and order new ones for planting in the fall. You can likely get a good discount this time of year.
• Prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees properly. Wait until after those spring-blooming trees and shrubs are finished flowering, then prune. Pruning before they bloom, well, removes the bloom.
• Herb it up. Most herbs are fairly cold sensitive, so springtime is an ideal time to get them into the ground or in your containers. Basil, oregano, mint, chives, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, thyme, parsley, and sage can all be planted now (weather and growing zone permitting).
• Make sure you plant for the monarchs. While they drink nectar from a variety of flowers, Monarch butterflies only eat milkweed, so it’s vital to plant a wide range of native nectar plants as well as native milkweed (Asclepias spp.).
• Stay on top of weeding. Those pesky spring weeds seem to pop up everywhere, don’t they? Don’t let it get out of hand or your summer will be spent in hours of backbreaking hand-pulling and hoeing weeds. We can think of many other things we’d rather do in the summer, like lounging in a hammock with a cold beverage and a good book.
• Tend your compost pile. Keep it moist and turn it to incorporate added material. A dry compost pile takes forever to break down, and we want to use that garden gold much sooner than that.
Garden Chill Goals
• Start each day with “grounding.” This might be a little hippie-dippy for some, but it’s still a great way to connect with nature’s spring. First thing in the morning, grab your cup of coffee and go outside. Take your slippers off and walk on your grass or soil with bare feet for a few minutes. Notice the connection of your feet against the earth — doesn’t that feel good? Best way to start your day ever.
• Make note of the season’s “firsts.” The first iris bloom, the first squash to form, the first firefly — seeing each one of these is thrilling, but only if you notice them. Something as simple as spotting the first firefly – a certain harbinger of warm months in the south – can spark a magical feeling of spring, a feeling you’ll want to remember.