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The Victory Gardener's
Almanack
for the month of
May

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This Almanac should be used as a general guideline of common garden tasks. You should modify the list based on your specific geographic area.



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May is the month when most of us all head into our main gardening season. It is during this month that most vegetables can be planted.

In the Vegetable Garden

  • Set out tomato plants when evening temperatures stay above 50 degrees F.
  • Melons should be planted as soon as all danger of frost is past.  Plant extra seeds in the hill and cull as necessary.
  • Sow tender plants like lima beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, and squash after all danger of frost is past.
  • Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts can also be planted now.
  • Succession crops of radishes, lettuce and other greens can be planted for longer harvest times.
  • Every couple of days, loosen up the crust on cucumbersquash, and melons to help the seedlings to emerge and to help prevent dampening off.
  • Rhubarb plants can use a heavy dose of composted manure.  spread around the plants and dig in well.
  • Eggplants and peppers can be set out later in the month in the North and earlier in the South.
  • Consider New Zealand Spinach as an alternative or adjunct to standard spinach.  It  does great in warmer climates and is a perennial in climates with milder winters.
  • If you are a beginning gardener, don't just plant bush beans.  It is not much more difficult to cultivate pole-type or climbers and you will be rewarded with longer harvest periods and greater amounts for the same garden space.  Check out our trellising ideas on our Bean Page.
  • Witloof chicory can be planted early this month.  They will provide roots that can be used in the cellar for forcing in the Winter as a crop of 'Belgium' or 'White' Endive.
  • If frost threatens, cover tender plants with straw, buckets, or old blankets.  Make sure not to crush the plants.
  • Don't forget to include kitchen herbs like thyme, parsley, sage, and mints.

In the Flower Garden

  • Nearly all varieties of flower seeds may be sown in the garden at this time.
  • Plants received by mail should be allowed to soak in water for several minutes and planted as soon as possible.
  • Shasta Daisies, Forget-Me-Nots and other "clumping" plants can be divided.
  • Dahlias should be divided and planted now.
  • Plant annuals in between your waning tulip and daffodil bulbs.
  • Do not remove daffodil foliage until after it yellows and begins to brown.
  • Before your sweet peas fall over, make sure that you have provide some form of support.

Trees & Shrubs

  • Now is the time to train evergreen shrubs like arbor viatae, hemlock, spruce and yew into shapes.
  • Mulch blueberry plants heavily with sawdust.  Douglas fir works excellent.
  • Mulching newly planted shrubs and trees with grass clippings, leaves, or peat to conserve moisture.  Newly planted roses, perennials, and fruit trees will also benefit from this practice.

Note:  This almanac page should be used as a general guideline of common garden tasks.  You should modify the list based on your specific geographic area.  For a very useful tool to aide in planning your garden, click here.


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Updated on August 17, 2010