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What To Do In The Garden In May

What To Do In The Garden In May

Happy May, everyone! Or, shall we say, “Happy Where You Do Literally Everything in the Garden Month!” We have finally reached that long awaited time in the year when most climates and gardening zones are created equal. The cold climes are warm enough to plant and the warmer/milder areas (which have been gardening for 2 months now) are continuing their garden planting extravaganza.

With so much going on, it pays to get and stay organized and focused, so follow our tips to stay on top of your May garden, and always remember to defer to your local experts on best times to plant in your area.

May Garden Chores & Activities

  1. Plant bulbs. If you’re just now past your last frost date, you can plant tender bulbs like dahlias, calla lilies, peonies, daylilies, hosta, cannas, ranunculus, gladiolus and more. Read this blog post to learn more!
  2. Plant veggies. All those warm season veggies should be in the ground now. Remember to succession plant your favorites so you have a continuous harvest throughout the season!
  3. Get annuals/perennials into the ground. We love us some colorful annuals and perfect perennials! Choose your faves and get them planted for a full season and beyond of color and texture in the garden. 
  4. Stay on top of weeds! Those weeds are small right now but if you let them go, they will quickly take over your garden and cause a mess. Remove them now so your summer garden looks beautiful and tidy — your future garden self will thank you!
  5. Fertilize. Flowering perennials and annuals typically need fertilizers to keep them growing and blooming in full force. We recommend a water-soluble fertilizer or a slow-release variety. Read and follow directions to the letter, as over-fertilizing can result in fewer blooms.
  6. Mulch. A good 2-3” layer of shredded mulch does wonders to keep weeds down and soil moist. Avoid heaping thick layers of mulch up around your plants to avoid rotting them out; your goal should be to feather away the mulch as you get closer to the trunk/base/stem.
  7. Stay on top of lawn care. This will vary upon where you live and what kind of grass you have, of course, but it’s common to perform spring lawn care tasks like applying a light spring fertilizer and weed preventer, aerating, mowing, trimming, and watering. And while it’s recommended to overseed bare spots in your lawn in the fall, it’s acceptable to do so in the spring if your lawn really needs it.
  8. Plant container gardens. Container plantings are valuable features in the garden in that they’re movable, changeable, and well, just exuberant mini gardens. Plant annuals, perennials, succulents, ornamental grasses and even small trees, combining plants that have the same growth/care requirements.
  9. Tend to the compost pile. As the weather heats, it’s a perfect time to rev up that compost pile. Add yard trimming and kitchen scraps, keep the pile moist like a wrung-out sponge, and turn it regularly so everything breaks down. Feeling ambitious? Have three piles going: One is getting started, the second one is in the process of breaking down, and the third one is ready to go.
  10. Water regularly. Not everyone has (or needs!) an automatic watering system, but whichever way you choose to water your garden, do so regularly if you haven’t recently had rain. As the temperature starts to soar and the sun gains intensity, your garden and the plants in it will dry out more quickly, so you’ll need to keep an eye on their watering needs.

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  • Jenny Peterson