May Gardening Tips

What to Plant

  • Plant heat-loving herbs like basil and dill.  Harvest most herbs before flower buds open for best flavor.
  • Plant hot weather vegetables such as beans, sweet corn, melons, squash and sweet potatoes now.  Mulch and water after planting.
  • Wait until late May or June to sod warm-season lawns.  Apply a second application of fertilizer to warm-season grasses (Bermuda, zoysia and centipede).
  • The ground will be warm enough by mid-May for caladiums, dahlias, gladiolus and cannas.  If you stagger the planting of gladiolus, you’ll enjoy a longer show of flowers.
  • Protect newly transplanted vegetable plants from cutworms by constructing collars for them. Cut 2”x8” strips of cardboard, staple into circles and place around the plants. Push the collar about 1” into the soil; the plants’ stems will be protected from cutworm damage by these “mini fences”.

Garden Maintenance

  • Move your indoor plants outside for the summer now that evening temps are consistently warm.  Acclimate them by placing them outdoors for brief periods, gradually increasing the time or a period of several days or even a week.
  • If you see signs of slugs (shiny trails on the petals and leaves of your ornamentals in the morning), capture them by placing grapefruit-rind halves among your plants.  Position rinds with the peel-side up, and slugs will collect underneath.
  • Lawns maintained at the correct height are less likely to have disease and weed infestation.  Recommended heights:  tall fescue  2-3”, centipede 1-1-1/2”, Bermuda and zoysia ½-1-1/2”.  Mow frequently, removing no more than one-third of the blade at each cutting.  Allow grass clippings to remain on the lawn.  The clippings decompose rapidly and add valuable nutrients to the soil.
  • Pinch chrysanthemums now for bushier plants in the fall.
  • Petunias, salvia and other annuals will bloom beautifully with a few timely pinches. Pinch at planting time and again the first or second week of July to 3-4” above ground.  Feed annuals monthly with a 10-10-10 fertilizer.  Be sure to deadhead for maximum flowers.

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