May Gardening Tips
May is one of the most exciting months here in the Catskills! While there is still some danger of frost, the likelihood has lessened greatly. In April, we began to see some green poke through the soil, along with pretty little daffodils and the like. But now, in May, we’ll begin to see the profusion of color we’ve awaited for so long! The “To-Do” list is growing! Check out these May Gardening Tips to help you stay on track.
Now is the time of year when we do a little plant shopping! Even though I like to plant a lot of my own seeds and seedlings, I still love to visit the nurseries and see what they have.
Often, unique offerings will be available that I may not have heard of, or that I don’t have seeds for.
We like to go with friends and make a fun day of it. We call it, “The Best Day Ever!”
Plant Some Things Now
Maybe you started direct-sowing seeds in April? Or perhaps you started some seeds indoors? Either way, now is a great time to get some annual flower seeds in the ground, along with some seed potatoes, beans, lettuce, spinach, and kale. (unless you did this in April) Additionally, some other perennial food plants can be planted now. How about asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, strawberries, or other berries? Look for the things that grow well in your growing zone.
If you have begun planting already, consider what you should plant now for “Round Two.” As you harvest, think in terms of crop rotation and plant something different in the newly vacant section of your garden.
Herbs are a good thing to plant as well. If you have seedlings or seeds, get them in the ground according to your plan.
Flowering Bulbs, such as dahlias, are a nice touch for your garden areas that need some added beauty.
“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”
As the saying goes, “When the forsythia blooms, it’s time to prune the roses.” Make sure you time this as closely as possible.
I don’t know why, but this saying is true for me.
Maybe you live in a warmer area where your roses bloom earlier. If that’s the case, of course, prune them earlier!
It’s also a good time to clean out the rose garden area and get rid of debris.
Use a little organic fertilizer on the roses as well, then give them a nice drink of water. They will reward you for it!
Trees and Shrubs
Get those saplings in the ground! If you have some trees and/or shrubs to plant, now’s the time to do it.
Hopefully, you’ve picked out a place to put them.
Dig the holes, adding a little bit of sphagnum peat moss(if available) and/or some compost. After you plant each “baby,” fill the rest of the hole back up and tamp down the soil with your feet.
If you have particularly damp soil, consider looking into a way to create better drainage. Sometimes, simply adding sand to your planting mixture can work wonders.
Remember, most evergreens “don’t like to get their feet wet.” Although, some of them can tolerate wetter conditions than others. I have three white spruce saplings that are ready to go in the ground.
Other possibilities for wet areas are white cedar, as well as other spruce trees. I’ve also had luck with Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), but for some reason, neighbors have told me that is not very common in these parts.
Sometimes, we have to roll the dice a little.
If necessary, stake your trees. We live in a particularly windy area – windier than usual lately, in fact – so staking the trees is a really good idea for us.
Protect the trees, too. We like to put a wire “cage” around each tree for added defense against critters. To each cage, we tie a bar of deodorant soap, using floral wire. The deer don’t really like the soap very much.
If you have blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, you can prune off the dead canes. Also, if you have to move some around, do so now. You may not get the greatest harvest from the ones you move this year, but in years to come, they will rejuvenate.
Get Your Container Plants Going
If you grow plants in containers, such as window boxes or flowerpots, now is a good time to set your plants in them as well.
If you have old outbuildings like we do, “shop” there first. Think outside the box and make use of unusual receptacles.
Once, we saw someone use an old washing machine as a planter! I mean, REALLY old! The kind with which you had to use a paddle and a wringer.
Old outdoor chairs with no seats can make planter frames, too. Simply insert a flower pot where the seat used to be.
Weeding and Watering
The two “W’s.” Let us not forget. Probably the most important things we gardeners do, yes? Get out there as often as you can. The earlier you get the weed babies pulled out, the better. It becomes much harder as they grow bigger and stronger.
If you view weeding with dread, try to change your way of thinking and view it as a way to relieve stress or release your aggression. I have a very dear friend who finds weeding the garden to be a great form of therapy!
I really hope that you find these May Gardening Tips to be helpful! Here’s just a few more:
Enjoy Your Garden
Hopefully, at this point, you can finally get outside and relax in the garden area. Find a quiet spot to sit and breathe in the scents of nature. Look around at the beauty that is unfolding.
Get a hammock.
In Permaculture, a hammock is a very important “tool.” You can observe the natural world very comfortably.
Listen to the birds and the spring peepers.
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What are your May Gardening Tips?
Check out this post for more gardening tips:
And this video for more inspiration:
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