Monday, May 2, 2011

For the May Gardener...

May is a frantic month in northern hemisphere gardens. Warm climates change rapidly to hot climates. Colder gardens suddenly appear out of nowhere and demand attention. You may not need a list of what to do in the garden in May, because it is staring you in the face every time you walk through your garden. But here are some reminders of what you can do. Don’t panic. The season is just beginning.


  • Keep harvesting cool season crops like asparagus, peas, and spring lettuce
  • Seed cool season vegetables and root crops after mid-month (beets, beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, onions, potatoes, radishes, turnips...)
  • Start warm season melons and squash indoors, to transplant after Memorial Day, when the squash borer has moved on
  • Keep seeding lettuce. Start seeding squash, cucs and beans
  • Hold the heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers until the end of the month


  • Finish seeding annuals
  • Resist the temptation to put out heat lovers until the end of the month, when night time temps remain above 50 degrees F.
  • Deadhead and begin replacing pansies and primroses as the blossoms fade
  • Summer bulbs can be planted
  • Plant new roses. Prune one-time blooming roses as they faded and feed.
  • Give fall bloomers like asters and mums, a first pinching

Trees & Shrubs

  • Plant or transplant trees and shrubs before the heat of summer.
  • Prune forsythia, viburnums and other spring blooming shrubs, before they set next year’s buds.
  • Cut older branches back to ground level to encourage new flowering branches.
  • Prune Clematis montana hybrids after blooming to control size and shape.

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