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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 am going to be planting five dwarf fruit trees; two ‘Bartlett’ pears, one ‘Cresthaven’ peach, and two ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. Could you give me some feedback on them?

I’d like to know the secret to growing a decent-sized pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns for the grandkids and for decorating. My experience in recent years is that they get about as big as a basketball and then begin to rot. What am I doing wrong?

Do the ants on my peony flowers help buds to open, or is this an old wives’ tale? What are the extremely tiny, microscopic yellow wormy looking bugs crawling on my pink peony flowers? My peonies are beautiful, but I don’t want all these bugs.

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