From the Desk of Ed Hume: May Garden Projects

May 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Time to start thinking about the Summer garden.  If one wants to enjoy color during the Summer, Spring is the time to plant out Summer- flowering annuals, bulbs, perennials, and shrubs.  This is also the month to begin getting the lawn in shape for the Summer.  In fact, what you accomplish this month will greatly cut back on garden maintenance the rest of this Spring and Summer.

ANNUALS – By mid-to-late month it should be warm enough to plant out just about all of the Summer-flowering annuals.  Early in the month it should be relatively safe to plant the hardy annuals like Pansies, Snapdragons, Stock, Dianthus, and Petunias.  Geraniums, Fuchsias, and Impatiens should be ready by mid-month and later in the month go ahead and plant out the more tender annuals like Salvia, Zinnias, Marigolds, Lobelia, and the rest of them.  If you have already planted out a few of these annuals, just watch the weather forecasts to be sure there is no danger of frost that could damage them.  If frost is forecast, cover the plants with newspapers, light cloth, or some type of overnight protection.  See Also: Flowers Outdoors

BULBS – It’s hard to beat the color that Dahlias, Gladiolus, tuberous Begonias, Lilies and Cannas can provide in the Summer.  All of these and other Summer-flowering bulbs can be planted this month.  See Also: Bulbs

PERENNIALS – Now is the time to plant out the Delphiniums, Phlox, Daylilies, Carnations, and other Summer-flowering perennials.  The Spring-flowering Aubrietia, Candytuft, Basket of Gold, Primroses, Coral Bells, and Saxifraga can be selected and planted anytime this Spring.

FROST DAMAGE – It may still be a little early in the season to determine how much frost damage has occurred on plants like rhododendrons, camellias, and some azaleas.  So it would be wise to wait just two or three more weeks before doing any drastic pruning.  Roses should have started their new growth by now.  So if there is no new growth above or at the graft, chances are the bushes are dead and you may want to consider replacing them.

LAWNS – This is a great month to eliminate lawn weeds, control moss, thatch (if needed), aerate, feed and over-seed the lawn.  Actually few lawns will need all this care so only do the steps that are necessary to get your lawn in tip-top shape.  See Also: Lawn

BASKETS AND CONTAINERS – As soon as the evenings warm-up just a little more, the Fuchsia, Geranium, Impatiens, and mixed baskets can be put outside.  If you already have put these out into the garden be sure to keep tabs on the weather so there is no chance of the baskets getting nipped by a late frost.

PLANTING – This would be good time to select and plant those plants that you need to replace the ones that were Winter killed.  Since most plants are now grown in containers, they can be planted into the garden at anytime now.

VEGETABLES – It should be safe to plant almost all vegetables now.  The warm weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumber, pumpkins, and peppers can wait until mid-to-late May.  Carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn, beans, peas, and most of the rest of the popular vegetables can be seeded or planted anytime now. See Also: Wide Row, Vegetable Gardening, Companion Planting, Seed Planting Chart

FERTILIZING – There’s still is plenty of time to fertilize all the trees and shrubs. Use a “Rhododendron or Evergreen” type of plant food to feed evergreens like rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, Viburnum Davidi, junipers, etc. Use a “Rose or All-purpose Garden” fertilizer to feed roses, perennials, deciduous shrubs and trees, and annuals. Be sure to water-in the fertilizer thoroughly after it is applied.

SLUGS – They are out in full force right now, so be sure to take steps to control them before they have a chance to ruin your garden.  Early slug control will also help reduce the population of slugs before they have a chance to reproduce. See Also: Plants that Slugs Do Not Like

WEEDS – Many weeds are already flowering and going to seed. Eliminate them before this happens, otherwise you will be fighting those weed seeds for up to the next seven years or more.

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