Monday, May 10, 2010

May Groundwork

It seems as though spring has had a hard time leaving us this year. That's ok with me, but my tomatoes and peppers are having a hard time adjusting to the fluctuating temperatures! With this fair weather and a little digging, a vegetable garden becomes a family affair. Fast growing choices for kids might include: patty pan squash, cantaloupes, watermelon, and armenian cucumbers. Of course, the summer isn't summer without sitting in the shade of a sunflower house. (Plant sunflower seeds in a circle). Hopefully, cherry tomatoes were planted earlier in the season and are ready for little hands to pick while meandering in the garden. Here's the list of things to do for the month of May.

Continue to plant warm season vegetables, flowers, container fruit trees and citrus trees.

Transplant basil, garlic chives, lemon grass, oregano and mint.

Warm weather flowers include, marigolds, purslane, portulaca, sweet alyssum, scented geranium, zinnia, verbena and sunflower.

Citrus trees need to be fertilized, always water thoroughly before adding fertilizer.

As weather warms, increase your watering. Water deeply and slowly, but infrequently. Don't let soil get bone dry though. Check and reprogram water systems.

Add mulch, straw or compost around the base of each plant to help retain moisture.

Deciduous fruit trees should be thinned so fruit is 4 to 6 inches apart. (Just keep thinning! )Be prepared with bird netting and ladders as fruit ripens. Place netting before fruit is ripe! Another method is to pick the fruit before it's ripe and let it ripen indoors in brown paper bags. Water trees deeply to a depth of three feet every 7 to 10 days to provide moisture as fruit size increases.

Have shade cloth on hand to cover tomatoes as temps rise to the 95 to 100 degree range. Gently shake stems early in the morning to help pollination tomato flowers.

Feed roses every two weeks during their peak bloom season. Water deeply to 18 inches.

Harvest onions, garlic and chives.

Enjoy the merry, merry month of May!

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