By the time May rolls in, we are in the midst of planting madness. The winter blues are far behind and our gardens are quickly getting filled with growing seedlings, tender herbs, and young flowers. The grass has greened up and started growing like crazy. The landscape is alive and well, and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.
Nearly everything in the vegetable garden that isn’t already in the ground gets planted this month. The average last frost date is finally behind us, so we can safely plant frost sensitive plants. This is the month where all the time we spent preparing beds really pays off and everything starts growing like crazy. Our May garden chores list is loaded down with to-do’s that will help your gardens pop.
Keep in mind that we are in the fairly mild climate sitting on the border of 7b and 8a. By May, freezing weather is behind us. Our season is a bit ahead of northern climates,
May is a gardening frenzy:
Plant your summer seeds:
Corn, beans, squash, and peas all get planted in the garden. It’s also time to turn your attention back to the beautiful side of the garden. Get your summer annuals like aster, celosia, cosmos, marigold, morning glory, and sunflower all sown. Continue sowing carrots, lettuce, beets, and radishes. Aim for more heat resistant varieties. (Hot weather will be here in the blink of an eye.)
Plants to set out:
In Georgia we are usually safely clear for any last frosts by May. Cucumber, Melons, Peppers, Beans, Summer and Winter Squash all get planted during the early part of the month. Seedlings grown inside under lights should be acclimated by gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside. Okra seedlings get planted during mid-May once the soil has really begun to heat up. Late May, Sweet potato slips that were started during April get planted in the garden. By the end of this month, our gardens are overflowing with goodness.
With all the excitement going on in the vegetable gardens, the flower gardens see just as much action this month. It is officially time to get all of those annual and perennial flowers in the ground. It’s also a perfect time to get an herb garden started. Rosemary, basil, oregano, dill, and other herbs can all be planted.
Let the harvest begin:
By now if you planted lettuce, kale, collards, or other greens, they may be overflowing. Pick them like crazy before they bolt, when the hot weather rolls in. As long as it’s well established, keep your asparagus well picked to ensure it keeps producing. Rhubarb should be coming in strong by now. Pick it before it gets too large while the stems are still tender and young.
Keep everyone well watered:
With the temperatures rising, start watering your garden more often especially during dry spells. Spread a thin layer of compost over the beds to help hold in moisture and provide a little boost to the soil. Don’t forget to keep your compost watered as well. With the hotter weather, your compost will dry out much quicker. Keep it watered to keep it breaking down.
Edge your gardens:
Give your gardens a nice edging to start the season. Using a half moon edger, cut and remove weeds to create a nice deep edge along your beds. Leave it cleaned out or spread mulch into the area. Not only does this help keep weeds from encroaching into your gardens, it also gives your gardens a nice crisp look. You will be thankful for this all year.
One last round of pruning before the summer:
Prune spring blooming shrubs like azaleas and camellias after they finish blooming. Aim to remove no more than one-third of the branches. This allows them to fill out with new growth over the summer.