It’s May and garden season has kicked into high gear. Here’s a list of chores that will keep you busy for the entire month!
Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned now! They begin to set their buds for next year’s bloom right away. If you prune too late in the season, you’ll be pruning off all the flower buds for next spring.
Deadhead your spent bulbs but leave the foliage. It should remain in place for about eight weeks to help rejuvenate the bulb for next spring.
Watering your roses with drip irrigation or a soaker hose will help reduce black spot and mildew.
Remove weeds and grass from around trees and shrubs and make a mulch ring using shredded bark or other organic material. This will help regulate soil temperature, reduce weeds, retains moisture and benefits the soil as it decomposes. A large mulch ring will also keep the weedeater and lawnmower from damaging the trunk.
Wait until Memorial Day to plant your warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Sow seeds that require warm soil to germinate like squash, cucumbers, and zinnias that weekend, too.
Don’t forget to put up your hummingbird feeder because they have already shown up in the valley. Make your own syrup by using a 1:4 ratio (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water). Don’t put red food coloring in the water, it’s unnecessary and adds potential harmful chemicals.
Remember to harden off transplants before planting them in the garden. They are tender little guys until they get used to the natural elements.
If you’re spraying for fruit insects, the sprays must continue until harvest. Be sure to follow the label directions about timing and the number of days you should wait between your last spray and the harvest.
Tackle weeds while they’re small and don’t let them go to seed. If you don’t have time to dig or pull them out, at least cut off the seed heads to make your gardening life easier down the road.
Turn your compost pile and keep it moist. You’ll get finished compost a lot quicker.
Divide summer and fall blooming perennials before they get six inches tall. Spring bloomers should be divided in late summer or early fall, about six weeks before our first frost.
Repot houseplants that have become root-bound into new soil. Move up only one pot size to avoid root problems.
Summer bulbs can be planted outside.
Rotate vegetables in your garden if possible. Even just 10 feet will be helpful.
If you have a place under shade trees where grass won’t grow, try planting a ground cover, like Vinca minor or Ajuga.
Don’t add gravel or lightweight material to the bottom of your container or planting hole. This does not increase drainage and in fact does just the opposite, causing a perched water table.
Small planting space? Try growing vertically. Many plants can grow on a support like a squash and melons. Annual vines like morning glory and scarlet runner beans can disguise walls and fences.
Treat yourself to one new plant!