In the Garden: Tips for May

May is coming and most of your cleanup work should now be done! Congratulations on making it through the spring work, but there is always more to do, yes? YES

I have a bundle of things to do in the potager and I am sure you do as well. I am so ready to plant my tomatoes, but wait, what is the soil temperature?

Rose & Flower Food


  • I like to squeeze the bottom of the pot, then gently lift the annual flower out, and use my fingers to tease apart the roots before planting
  • The holes for your annuals should be no bigger than the container the flower came in
  • Water deeply after planting
  • Mulch all newly planted annuals with sawdust, chopped alfalfa, pine needles, or grass clippings (depending on your location)
  • Fertilize with a combination fertilizer and systemic insecticide to prevent aphids, mealybugs, scale, or whiteflies (Fertilome Rose and Flower Food + Systemic is what I use)

In the Vegetable Garden

  • Remember to turn your compost!
  • When your soil temperature is consistently over 60 degrees F, you can plant tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, corn, beans, and eggplant in the ground
  • When planting tomatoes, remove the lower set of leaves and bury the plant in the ground past this point
  • Plant the borders of your vegetable garden with perennial and annual flowers and herbs to attract beneficial insects
  • Fertilize onions with a high nitrogen fertilizer if the bulbs have not cracked the soil yet
Purple and white iris blooming

In the Landscape

  • Pinch or cut back your chrysanthemums to 6 inches tall
  • Begin pruning evergreens such as yew, boxwood, juniper, arborvitae, and holly as needed
  • Pick bouquets of iris and peony to bring inside
  • Mark the colors of iris and peonies as they bloom, for fall division


In the Orchard

  • Plant fruit trees
  • Plant berry bushes
  • Spray peach and apple trees with an insecticide/fungicide combo

In the Lawn

  • Keep mowing height between 3 and 6 inches
  • If you bag your clippings, be sure and add them to the compost pile

As always, keep enjoying the garden and its beauties.

Happy planting!

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