Welcome to my special gardening page for those of you who like to garden yourselves! Each week, I will make suggestions as to what gardening tasks we need to do every week during the growing season. It will help keep you on track--as well as myself!
To keep things simple, I am using the year's weekly number, Week #1 through #52 (example: the week of January 1 is Week #1), instead of specific dates.
So, come on! Let's get our hands dirty!
The Merry Month of May
May, to me, is the best month of the year. It has everything - perfect weather for being outside in the garden, few bugs, everything rapidly springing to life, finally some fresh edibles from the veg garden, and the most beautiful and voluptuous perennial flowers of the year!
Here's what we need to do to get off to a great start this month:
In the vegetable patch:
In the flower garden
In the Vegetable Patch:
You should be able to start harvesting salad greens, spinach and radishes from your garden by now! Enjoy!
Sow a second sowing of radishes now, before the weather warms up too much. They grow so quickly. Try different varieties, too, there are so many interesting shapes, sizes, colors and flavors to savor. Have you ever roasted radishes in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper?
If you are lucky enough to have a rhubarb plant, you can start harvesting now, if you want. The stems won't be as long as they will be later, but they are perfectly good to eat now. Go on, make your first rhubarb crumble or strawberry/rhubarb pie of the year! You won't regret it! If you blanched your rhubarb under a rubbish bin, check it now, they should be ready!
In the Flower Garden:
Harden off Seedlings
Start hardening off hardy,half-hardy annuals and perennial plants you started from seed indoors, or any plants you purchased from the garden center, as these have been raised in a greenhouse. This is a very important step for successful transplanting. Place plants outside in a protected area, out of direct sunlight on warm days. Protect them at night by covering them with a sheet or agricultural fleece. Bring them inside if the temps drop below freezing. Gradually introduce them out into the sun, a little bit more every day, to avoid burning them up. Make sure they are kept well watered.
Sow Tender Annuals
Sow tender annual seeds like Zinnias, Sunflowers, Marigolds, Salvia, Coleus, Ageratum, Amaranth and Celosia indoors for earlier bloom.
Dead Head Spent Blooms
If you have spring bulbs blooming in your garden, be sure to start “dead heading” the spent blooms. Producing seed will use up energy from the bulb and will affect blooming next year. Remove only the flower head, leave the stem and leaves to photosynthesize and feed the bulb for next spring. Let the leaves yellow and die back naturally. Never cut the leaves off when they are green.
For some real drama in the garden, plant some lily bulbs now. Remember that Asiatics bloom early and Orientals bloom later in the summer. They are very easy to grow and will multiply year after year. Plant bulbs about 6 inches deep in clumps of three or more, about 6" apart, in full sun. They will multiply, and some get taller, through the years.
Plant Gladiolus Corms
Plant gladiolus corms now too, in succession, planting every two weeks until mid June for continuous blooms throughout the summer. Glads are not hardy, so if you live in a cold climate, you will either need to dig them up in the fall and store them over winter, or treat them as annuals and just buy new ones next year.
I grow mine as annuals, usually, and plant them in a trench about 4" deep and a 2' wide. I sprinkle tomato fertilizer in the trench, then lay out the corms closely, like in an egg carton, cover them with soil, then mulch them with at least 2" of good garden compost. Since they don't stay in the ground to multiply, I don't worry about planting them so close together.
May is the time of Peonies and Poppies; Lilacs and Larkspur; Foxgloves and Forget-me-nots. I will cover some of these next week. May is a truly magical month, indeed.
Now, let's get busy!
If you have any questions, put them in the comments below!
Valmont Valley Farm
Where Beautiful Magic is Always in Bloom
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