“May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.”
– Fennel Hudson
This month, the garden will kick into high gear. Because of the mild winter, it has had an early start, but this is the month where the likelihood of frost dwindles to almost nothing, and the plants put on lots of growth and start flowering. It is certainly a time to feel alive, and the gardener’s enthusiasm and energy is often at a high point. The question then becomes how to efficiently use all that extra energy, and how to use it in such a way that your body, whose gardening muscles have become lazy over the winter, don’t get so angry that they forbid you to go out in the garden the next day! What follows are a few projects to do in the garden in May, and a few ways to help keep those angry muscles at bay.
1) Mulch. Before long, your plants will have grown so big that it will be hard to spread mulch between them, so now is the time to do it. Consider using a mixture of bark mulch and compost. The compost feeds the plants right away, and the bark mulch keeps down the weeds and slowly breaks down to help feed the plants later. Please don’t use the dyed red or dyed black mulch… As well as being unnatural, some of the color will rinse away in the rain and you will be disappointed!
2) Weed. By now, your plants will have grown enough that you will be able to tell the difference between an established plant and a weed. If you’re not sure, take a picture and ask your garden center. Or send it to us! And remember, weeds haven’t mastered the art of growing in rows, yet, so if plants look rather well spaced, chances are they aren’t weeds! Anyway, now is a good time to get rid of the weeds, before they start getting too big or entangled in the plants that you want to keep.
3) Plant annual seeds. Some seeds, like Calendula or Nasturtiums, prefer to be planted where they are to grow, and now is the time to plant them. Plus, now that you have weeded the garden, you won’t wonder whether that new green shoot is friend or foe!
4) Plant peas, if you haven’t already. This is your last chance!
5) Plant strawberry plants. There is still time to get some tasty strawberries if you plant bare root plants now. A great source is Nourse Farms in Deerfield, MA.
6) Think, and make plans. The estimated last frost is different in every area. To find yours by zip code, click here. Once that date has passed, the gloves are off, (or on, as the case may be) so it is good to have a plan for any planting that you want to do. Then it’s off to the races!
As they say, “Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.” We were going to list some tips on how to stay pain free while gardening, but this article by Prevention Magazine says it all. So check it out, stay safe, and have fun in the garden!!