May To-Dos

It’s May, everyone! We love the garden in May. It really gets going right about now, which means there’s no time to rest. If you haven’t planted spring or summer crops yet, now is the time. If they’re already in the ground, we’re here to help you keep them happy. Here’s your list of May To-dos:

May To-Dos

May flowers are here! Let's enjoy them.

May flowers are here! Let’s enjoy them.

  • Deadhead spent flowers to keep them producing through spring.
Acorn squash (or maybe not?) flowers and sets fruit.

Acorn squash (or maybe not?) flowers and sets fruit.

  • Hand-pollinate squash plants in the morning before flowers shrivel up. By 9 a.m. they’re spent, so get out there early, bring a paintbrush and transfer pollen from male to female flowers. Need help identifying those? Read this.
Tomato plants increase in size weekly. Give them the food they need.

Tomato plants increase in size weekly. Give them the food they need.

  • Feed tomatoes regularly. If you planted in late March, it’s time to feed your tomatoes. We give ours a foliar feed and soil drench of compost tea.
Cilantro bolting to seed.

Cilantro bolting to seed.

  • Let herbs bolt to seed. You can throw the seeds of cilantro and dill into corners of the garden and they’ll re-seed on their own. They’ll become more adapted to your climate and hopefully over time will produce through hot weather as well.
Blackberries setting fruit.

Blackberries setting fruit.

  • Train your blackberries (if you can) against a wall for easier harvesting. Do it before they get out of control. Now (or soon) it will be time to harvest blueberries, and these cane berries won’t be far behind. Summer is on its way.
Sonora white wheat is ready for harvest.

Sonora white wheat is ready for harvest.

  • Harvest winter wheat. If you planted wheat in fall, it will be ready to harvest this month. Wait until all signs of green are gone and cut down plants to the ground. Read up on how to harvest, winnow and store your wheat here.
Mint is ready for use, as are many other herbs.

Mint is ready for use, as are many other herbs.

  • Harvest herbs regularly to keep them growing all season long. Cut mint, chives and oregano back to the base of the plant when picking stems. Thyme, rosemary and sage grow from the cut end, so give them a hair cut as needed. Harvest parsley’s outer leaves since it grows from the center of the plant.
Sift compost before adding it to your garden beds.

Sift compost before adding it to your garden beds.

  • Harvest compost for use in spring garden beds. (see Feed Tomatoes above). Compost piles made last fall will be ready to sift right about now. Use compost to prep beds for new plantings and use through the growing season to feed fruiting crops.
A yellow onion ready for harvest

A yellow onion ready for harvest.

  • Harvest fall-planted onions and garlic. See our latest blog post on how to do that. Shallots also finish up this time of year. Pull these plants to make room for sprawling crops like pumpkins, watermelons and summer squash.

Get ready to pour a glass of lemonade, the garden is about to go on autopilot. Do these tasks now to make it easier later on. Most of all, enjoy the process. Enjoy your garden’s progress. Tomatoes will be here soon!

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2 Responses to May To-Dos

  1. Sue Payne says:

    Do cucumbers need hand pollinating like squash? Thanks.

    • Christy says:

      Generally, no. They will pollinate by themselves. If you find you are having trouble with cucumbers setting fruit, you may want to try adding a little phosphorus and potassium to your soil to help boost fruiting and flowering.

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