Wow… May already. Where did the time go? The gardening calendar for May provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores.
As I mentioned in the last calendar update, April and May, about growing organic food, more people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you…. it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden’s date of expected last frost. Okay, okay, I said all that last month, I realize, but if you are far north, you are still waiting…. I realize. So you northerners (I’m in zone 7) still have time to get ready to better evaluate your gardening successes, keep weather records along with garden records. The most important items to report are daily minimum and maximum temperatures, precipitation, cloud cover, and frost occurrences.
If you are receiving this email/blog post then you may have signed up to receive our newsletter, “Homestead Express” and you were sent a link to our “download and print” garden journal. If you did not get it or forgot where you downloaded it to your computer (or worse, crashed your computer with the journal on it) then send me an email and I will send you a link to the journal. It is as much a part of my garden as my seeds and greenhouse.
Remember, the below are just a sampling of all the many gardening reminders, tips, and ideas you will find on our monthly organic gardening calendar, so use the links to get to the rest of it. You will find the following categories for each month…
Here are a few key tasks for the organic garden in May…
- Keep making plantings of beets for greens and root. If you have any cooler shadier spots, keep planting salad greens!
- Plant warm season crops such as watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, squash, eggplant, okra, sweet potatoes and southern peas this month.
- Bothered by leaf hoppers already? Put out molasses traps to kill grasshoppers. Mix one part molasses to 8-10 parts water and place in a flat lid or container. Clean and replenish as necessary.
- Cover sprouting seedlings with berry baskets to keep birds from pulling them up. When the young plants outgrow their protective covers, they are at a size where birds have little interest in them.
- Make a support rod for your hanging baskets using an old mop or broom handle. Place two sturdy hooks into your porch or patio
roof about as far apart as the handle is long. Suspend the rod with two equal lengths of chain. The rod can hold several hanging baskets, depending on size.
- If you remodel the kitchen, (or keep on eye on the “free” section for your area on CraigsList save a section of the old cabinets and use it for a potting bench. It provides a comfortable working height and storage below for pots, media, tools, etc.
- Recycle tea grounds around roses, azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. Recycle coffee grounds around lilies. Unless you use unbleached filters, toss the filters to the trash. Otherwise, bury or compost the filter too.
- Increase blooms on crape myrtles (yes, they will be here soon!) by sprinkling a light handful of Epsom salts around the roots.
- The May Garden Calendar is the time to prune back your spring blooming shrubs, and is the perfect time to trim back your azaleas, which can be aggressively sculpted to give you the flower arrangement you want next year. Lilacs will also need to be trimmed, and should be pruned just below the spent flowers.
- Remove 2 or 3 peaches out of every 4 to produce larger fruit and keep limbs from breaking from too weight. Thin fruit when it is about the size of marbles.