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May Gardening Tasks


Expand the categories below to learn more about what you need to do this month.

Vegetables

Keep a watchful eye out for cabbage worms, potato beetles, bean beetles, blister beetles, corn earworm, cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden. Good insecticides for the garden include carbaryl, Bt-dust (for caterpillars), spinosad, diatomaceous earth (for aphids), and pyrethrum dust.

Control weeds, too, because they compete for resources (light, water, nutrients) needed by your crops! Early discovery means early control! The best ways to control garden weeds include mulch (wheat straw, pine needles, leaves) or regular light cultivation with a hoe.

Think about using “trap crops” for control of leaffooted bugs on tomatoes. Some good trap crops include blooming sunflowers, some strains of sorghum and millet. Leaffooted bugs are more attracted to trap crops than tomatoes and may keep these pesky insects off your precious fruits.

Provide water at about 1” per week especially in dry periods. Uniform moisture prevents plant stress and encourages maximum productivity. Mulching helps encourage even moisture and discourages weeds. Preferably water via a soaker hose or drip system and if you use overhead watering, avoid wetting the leaves especially after 10 AM to minimize fungal issues.

Check your tomatoes and other susceptible crops for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is an indication of a calcium uptake issue. Don’t overfeed with ammoniacal N (from manures or cheap fertilizers containing ammonium sulfate or urea) or potash or magnesium. Lime to a pH of 6-6.5. Place a few tablespoons of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) and water to help prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray may also help alleviate the problem but only work marginally well. Nothing will "heal" the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them.

Treat fire ant nests in gardens areas with the organic called spinosad (baits and drenches).

Continue to plant herbs. Now you can focus on heat-loving herbs, including basil, oregano, and Mexican tarragon. Sage and rosemary can still be planted. Watch for downy mildew on your basil.

Some planting times for more common vegetables:

Cucumbers - Apr. 1 - May 15

Cantaloupes – March 20 – June 20

Lima beans – March 15 – June 1

Okra – April 1 – June 1

Tomatoes, Peppers – March 25 – May 1

Southern peas – April 1 – August 10

Sweet potato – April 15 - June 15

Squash, Zucchini - Apr. 1 - May 15

Try something different this summer such as New Zealand or Malabar spinach or yard-long beans.

Fruit Trees

Lawns

Flowers

Trees

Houseplants

Miscellaneous




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