May is the Month for Gardening!

 In Home Improvement

If you are like many green thumbs, you have been itching to dig in the dirt for months, and may have even started some bedding plants and vegetables from seed in the house, in anticipation of warmer weather. But even if you aren’t a budding gardener, there are still some tasks you can do in the month of May to get your garden going, with homegrown vegetables ready to harvest later in the summer, and colorful flowers all season long. Here are just some of the tasks you can tackle this month:

General lawn maintenance: 

  • May is the best month for fertilizing your lawn, typically. If you fertilized recently, wait at least four weeks before fertilizing again. An all-purpose, high nitrogen fertilizer is sufficient for most lawns.
  • Aerate your lawn, which allows better water penetration.
  • When mowing, keep lawns fairly long. This encourages deeper root growth, and allows the grass to endure the dryer summer conditions better with less watering. When mowing, you should not be removing more than 1/3 of the length of the grass a time.
  • Avoid using chemical pesticides and herbicides, as these are detrimental to the environment and harm honey bees. There are some natural ways to get rid of weeds, but they might require a little more work if your lawn is heavily infested. Here are some ideas for getting rid of weeds without harsh chemicals (just avoid #12, as it’s not safe for dry/fire-prone areas).

Care for shrubs and trees: 

  • Prune back uneven growth on ornamental bushes.
  • Remove dead wood when ever you see it.
  • Azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons prefer acid-type fertilizer after blooming. You can also recycle coffee grounds as a mulch/fertilizer for these ornamental bushes.
  • Fertilize citrus trees with a fertilizer combination that includes iron.
  • Thin fruits on fruit trees. This is necessary to prevent limbs breaking as the fruit grows, and to allow remaining fruit space and resources to grow larger. Here is a handy guide for thinning fruit trees.


  • Hand weed flower beds, rather than using harsh chemicals. If you choose to use any of the natural weed treatments in the link above, make sure you protect your perennials and annuals from any splatter or overspray, as they could kill desirable plants as well as undesirable weeds.
  • Use natural methods to get rid of slugs and snails.
  • Fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer for most perennials and established annuals. Don’t fertilize newly planted annuals, as they need some time to root in before they start growing above ground.
  • Some flowers that are easy to grow from seed are: coreopsis, cosmos, marigold and zinnia. You can plant those in May in your flower beds. Other flowering annuals are better to plant from bedding plant flats from your local nursery or garden center.
  • Mulch flower beds to help reduce weeds and help the soil retain moisture.

Vegetable Gardens:

Once we get into May, it’s generally safe to plant most vegetable garden seeds and plants that require a summer growing season. Some veggies take too long to grow from seed (unless you started them indoors in pots), so you will need to buy nursery-grown plants from your nursery or garden center.

  • Vegetables you can grow from seed: bush beans, carrots, chard, corn, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, radishes and squash.
  • Vegetables you can grow from nursery-grown plants: Eggplant, peppers and tomato.

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