Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things to do in the May Garden

'There is so much to be thankful for,
The drops of rain that take on new meaning,
Bear the promise of new life
And renewed energy to the rootlets and buds.'
- Helen Keller (1880-1968), deaf-blind American author and activist
 ~ forget-me-nots ~
  • Divide primrose plants after flowering is finished. Pull the clumps gently apart to separate individual crowns for replanting. I find my primrose never really stop flowering during the spring, so if you handle them gently, you can divide them up at any time.
  • Lightly cut back early-blooming perennials such as yellow alyssum after flowering. This prevents them from self-seeding all over the place, keeps them compact & might possibly allow for a second bloom.
  • Pinch back the stems of Michaelmas daisies to produce denser plants and better flowering later. Stake tall varieties, and fertilized very lightly. Do this with almost any kind of later flowering perennial - I will do it with my Helenium when they start to pop up as they can grow up to 5 feet tall!
  • Continue planting gladiolus corms.
  • Plant corn in blocks of short rows for the best pollination and the fullest possible ears.
  • Thin early spring sowings of carrots, lettuce, beets, calendula, poppy and larkspur. If you handle the seedlings gently, you can replant them in-between the existing rows for a slightly later harvest (as it takes the replanted seedlings a bit of time to recover).
  • Consider a flowering potted plant as a Mother's Day gift. Mums, New guinea impatiens, Chinese hibiscus, miniature rose, gloxinia and Martha Washington geranium are a few of the highly desirable gift plants commonly available now.
  • Where space is limited and no trellis or other major support is available, try growing vining cucumbers in wire tomato cages. You can also grow zucchini, melons, pumpkins & other ground vines this way too - just carefully adjust the leaves & vines in an upward pattern. Will also save them from slugs, other bugs & rot.
  • Keep unwanted strawberry runners cut off.
  • Pinch out the tops of broad bean plants if they are infested with black aphids. Better yet - grow nasturtiums with susceptible plants as nasturtiums will attract the aphids to them & away from the other plants.
  • Earth up early potatoes. As a space saver & for easier harvest, try growing potatoes in buckets - drill holes in the bottom & lower sides for drainage & plant one or 2 potatoes, mounding up the soil as the leaves grow.
  • Remove faded flowerheads from Rhododendrons by snapping the stems off at the base of the flower cluster, immediately above new green growth buds. Take care to leave these buds intact.


Heather said...

Busy, Busy, always so much to do in the garden. Have you tried making seed mats for carrots, lettuce and other fine seeded veg. I have seen this method used sucessfully by others, although I have yet to give it a try. I have also had great sucess with pelleted carrot seeds.

Michelle van Boven said...

Actually, all my carrots, beets, radish & lettuce have been planted for a few weeks already!

My raised beds are rather small, so I just use a little seeder for the fine stuff - will have to post a picture.

I've not yet looked into pelleted carrot seeds, actually don't really even know what they look like! Now I'm curious...

Eliza said...

I love growing every vining thing I have vertically to save space. I didn't have any forget-me-nots this year so it was nice to see yours!