The Gardener's May Calendar

It's May: the most-anticipated month in my garden! Is it a coincidence that this is also the month where everything else in life tries to jockey for position as well? This year I am hoping I will be able to focus on the garden more than I have in the past. As usual, there is plenty to do.

Parsley grown from seed on the potting bench.
Be on the lookout for invasive plants in your garden before they take hold. For me, that means I need to watch for garlic mustard and wineberries. Usually both pop up around my compost pile, situated in the back corner of my property. (I've already pulled out a ton of garlic mustard.)

Once again, I noticed my hydrangeas and butterfly bushes did not fair well over the winter due to our deep cold spell. That means hydrangeas that make buds on old wood will likely not flower again this year. My neighbor lost her huge butterfly bush this winter as well. Needless to say, I am not liking this new trend for gardening in the Northeast. To check that the stems really are dead, scratch the stems and see if it is green underneath. If not, cut it off.

Diatomaceous earth is
useful to keep in the shed.
Trim off spent blossoms so the bulbs do not waste time in producing seeds. Do not remove the leaves - this is the plant's source of energy for next year. Even though they become unsightly, leave them in place until they wither away.

I start warm season flowers like zinnias, tithonia, calendula, cosmos and marigolds now. Flowering vines such as morning glories can also be started (soak the seeds overnight). It's time to harden off the seedlings that have been growing indoors.

Pest Control
If you have ant problems, try using diatomaceous earth. When the bugs walk through it, it gets stuck to them and causes them to dehydrate and die. It's way safer than baited ant traps. Be sure to apply it on a day without a lot of wind since you shouldn't breath it in.

Various tomato seedlings.
It's time to fertilize fruit trees and roses. You can fertilize container plants "weakly at half strength since it leaches out of containers quickly.

Lure them to your garden by setting up feeders and offering plants they like. I boil 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar together, then let it cool before I put it outside. Flowers like salvias, calibroachia - basically anything trumpet-shaped - will also attract them to your garden.

Order it in bulk! Who wants to drive home bags of mulch anyway? It's usually cheaper when you have it delivered. And stay away from the dyed colored mulch. That is so not earth-friendly.


I live in Central Connecticut and garden in Zone 6b.


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