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MAY: What to Do in the Garden


In the Edible Garden

  • Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons, peppers & eggplant need at least 8 hrs. of sunlight for best fruit production.
  • Plant warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and vine crops after mid-May.Control cucumber beetles, carriers of cucumber wilt, as soon as cucumbers germinate to prevent disease. This disease will cause plants to wilt and die just as cucumbers start producing.Make a home for toads, which eat cutworms and other insects. Invert clay flowerpots in shady spots. Chip out a piece of the rim to give the toads an entrance to their home.
  • To insure pollination of sweet corn, plant several rows together in a block, rather than in one long row. Keep well watered, especially from tasseling time to picking.
  • The Agricultural Research Service has found that size & quality of tomato harvests increased significantly when plants were grown over red plastic. Potatoes & green peppers produced best when the plastic was white.
  • Plant flowers in the vegetable garden. They attract beneficial insects and make the garden pretty.
  • Plant mini-vegetables in containers.
  • Grow cucumbers on a trellis or in a tomato cage. This helps to save space and provides better air circulation, thereby reducing disease problems.

In the Ornamental Garden

  • Multi-flora petunias withstand heat better than other types and are more resistant to botrytis, a disease that attacks petunias during wet weather.
  • Watch for European pine sawflies on Scotch, Red, Jack and Mugo pines. Larvae have a black head, black legs and a dark stripe bordered by white stripes down the side of the body.
  • Use plastic milk jugs for seed irrigation. Take a large nail & punch holes 2 inches apart in the side of a jug. Bury with the neck protruding. Fill with water and screw on the cap. The water will gradually seep out providing a slow, deep irrigation for surrounding plants.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia and lilac after blooming.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
  • Plant perennials, annuals and herbs after mid-May.
  • Plant larger dahlia varieties 6-8 inches deep, and smaller varieties 3-4 inches deep after mid-May.
  • For best growth keep roots of clematis cool by mulching with straw or pine needles.
  • Dry grass clippings before using as a mulch. Do not use clippings that have been sprayed with a herbicide.

In the Indoor Garden

  • Adding fertilizer to a dry root ball burns the roots, damaging or killing the plant. Water dry houseplants before fertilizing & never fertilize wilted plants.
  • Increase your houseplant collection by taking cuttings. Root cuttings in perlite, potting soil or vermiculite.
  • Move houseplants to the garden when night temperatures remain above 55 degrees F.

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questions

I have houseplants outside that I will need to bring indoors. What is the lowest temperature at which I can leave them outside?

What trends do you see in container plantings, such as type of pot, materials, sun or shade, foliage or flowers.

What does it take to make a climbing hydrangea flower? Ours was planted 3 years ago and is growing energetically. It’s in a protected nook near the patio and gets very little direct sunlight, but doesn’t act sun starved. We gave it a shot of slow release fertilizer on planting, and once since. Somewhat inadvertently it gets plenty of water, since the hose spigot is nearby and leaks, but drainage does not seem to be the problem. It now fully occupies an 8-foot trellis but shows no interest in flowering. Is it youth, lack of sun, too much or too little fertilizer, bugs, lack of pruning or what? When do these plants bloom and what conditions do they like?

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