If you haven’t already, now is a good time to fill in the low spots in your lawn, reseed, and fertilize. You can prepare for summer by ensuring that your irrigation system is running properly; fix any problems prior to warmer weather.
Monitor your plants every few days for potential pest issues so you can catch them before they become an issue. Common pest issues this time of year that you need to keep an eye out for include:
- Slugs and Snails
- Cabbage Moth Caterpillars
- Leaf Miners
- Pea Leaf Weevils
Keep up on your weeds so you can avoid additional problems in the future. It’s best practice to manage them before they flower. Adding a layer of bark as mulch will help suppress weeds and conserve water.
May is generally the first month recommended for planting most warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They will need some protection at night if the temperatures are not steadily above 50 degrees F, and that doesn’t typically happen until closer to June. May is also a good time to start squashes, pumpkins, and melon seeds indoors, but June is often a better time to start or move them outdoors. For those that have already planted warm-loving plants but are worried about chilly nights, you can use wall-o-waters (plastic tubes filled with water) to help keep the plants warmer. A handy planting calendar is available here.
Perennials & Annuals
It’s warm enough this month to plant most annuals, including heat-loving tubers such as dahlias and begonias, however it should be delayed if it is unusually cold at night. Perennial season started a little while back and they should be growing well. May is also a good time to add a layer of compost for nutrients and bark for mulch which will help suppress weeds and conserve water.
Companion planting is one of the easiest and most natural methods to enhance growth and deter pests. Many annual and perennial plants can be used as companion plants in the garden including:
- Basil – Repels beetles, flies & mosquitos
- Borage – Attracts pollinators and repels cabbage worms & tomato hornworm
- Calendula (pot marigold) – Edible and repels beetles & tomato hornworm
- Catmint- Repels aphids, cabbage loopers & tomato hornworm
- Chives – Edible and repels aphids & Japanese beetles
- Dill – Edible and attracts beneficial insects, repels cabbage moths & spider mites
- Garlic – Edible and repels aphids, moths, beetles & rabbits
- Hyssop – Repels cabbage moths and attracts pollinators
- Nasturtium – Edible and deters aphids
- Onions – Repels aphids, beetles & rabbits
- Radish – Repels squash bugs & cucumber beetles
- Rosemary – Repels cabbage moths, beetles, slugs & snails
- Thyme – Repels cabbage moths & tomato hornworm