The beginning of the month still gives us cooler nights, but it’s getting warm enough that I can start planting the majority of my seeds throughout the month. The last frost in my area is usually around the 15th. This year, the beginning of April was quite cold, but the end of April is leaving us with what seems like a heat wave with nighttime temperatures staying in the 40s.
In the past, May has left us with nights dipping into the lower 30s, and squalls of snow that occur as late as the 25th. June is when things start to get hot, and the amount of growth that happens in our garden is phenomenal, so I need to get everything in now. Here’s a list of my garden chores and what we’re planting in May.
To start off, we need to finish moving around our raised beds. The remainder of the month’s chores can be monotonous, but are very important in the long run. This includes weeding the garden beds, topping off any compacted beds with soil and compost, creating a watering & fertilizing schedule as checking for pests as needed.
After I get everything planted, I need to be vigilant about slugs. They’re the number one pest in my garden, and I’m very picky about what I’ll put out for them. Sometimes I will leave out orange peels to trap them, other times I leave cups of stale beer. But since I started using Bug-Geta*, I’ve noticed a reduction in the amount of plants that are mutilated by slugs. I absolutely refuse to use Diatomaceous Earth* unless it’s a dire bug emergency simply because I like keeping helpful bugs in our garden, and diatomaceous Earth will kill all bugs.
I’m also adding planting in 2 week successions to my chores list because with our busy month wrapping up school, soccer, and concerts, if I don’t count it as a chore, it won’t get done!
Additionally, I need to transplant strawberry runners this month. I didn’t get to it in the fall, when it’s really the best time to thin them, because we were still figuring out where we wanted to put our raspberry bushes, and didn’t have the permanent beds built for the strawberries yet.
What I’m Starting Indoors:
May finally brings us some warmer weather, so I don’t have the need to start things indoors this month. If I were feeling spunky between soccer games, I may start some zucchini and yellow squash. While it’s not necessary for these plants to get started, it does help ensure that my seeds don’t get stolen by the squirrels and chipmunks as soon as I plant them.
To help keep the squirrels and chipmunks out of my garden, I use Repel-All*. I really am picky about what I’ll use because I like to keep as close to an organic garden as I can, and this contains ingredients like garlic, clove oil and putrescent whole egg solids. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s got an absolutely lovely smell. NOT! But it was better than the “colorful puff balls of poison” the lady at our local garden center was trying to sell me. I have young kids, I’ll use the smelly stuff over the poison any day.
What I’m Direct Sowing:
This is basically everything that we’re growing this year. May is our month for massive planting. Everything I plan on growing throughout the year gets planted in May. This year we are trying out some seeds from Seeds Now*, and I’m thoroughly impressed. Their germination rates have been remarkable indoors; I can’t wait to see how they do outside.
This year I’ll also be planting in 2 week increments for continual harvests. It’ll give us fresh produce throughout the summer, and will also make sure I don’t have an entire harvest of lettuce to eat before it goes bad.
I’m planing bush beans, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets and chard for continual crops this year. Whatever is extra among spinach and chard I’ll blanch and freeze to add to some recipes , like Greens Beans & Rice, or Sausage Potato Soup, over the winter.
I’ll also direct sow some sunflowers in the raised beds I’m transplanting the tomatoes into. Unlike the others, the sunflowers won’t be in 2 week planting increments.
What I’m Transplanting:
The end of this month means I should have all our seedlings and transplants out in the garden. This includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and any pumpkins, melons, and winter squash I started indoors.
I’ll also be able to get the rest of my herb garden planted. We have chives, lavender, lemon balm, and bee balm that keep coming back year after year. Herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, mint, & sage I plant every year. Some will come back year after year, but they don’t seem to be as hearty when they regrow the next year as when I just start them from a new transplant.
What I’m Harvesting:
Asparagus! It’s a continual harvest crop, so it’ll keep producing as the season goes on.
Towards the end of the month I may have kale and spinach that could be harvested as well. Not an insane amount, but enough to eat fresh or add to a few salads.
Looking for tips on what to plant in other months?
What are you planting in May? What are some of your garden chores for the month? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!