1) Prune early flowering shrubsEarly flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, can be cleaned up and pruned back. Side dress them with compost.
2) Deadhead spring flowering bulbsFor example: Daffodils, muscari, snowdrops, and tulips. Letting them go to seed will drain them of energy for next year’s blooms.
3) Divide perennial flowers and herbsWhile the plants are still small, use a flat tined pitchfork to gently separate the plants. Replant divisions to expand your flowers beds, or share and trade with friends.
4) Continue to water and turn your compost pileYour compost pile will break down faster with air circulation and water. Consider building and rotating three piles. You will always have one you can use in the flower beds, one that is cooking down, and one to add to.
5) Put up hummingbird feedersHummingbird feeders should be scrubbed them with hot water (no soap!). Make a solution of 1 cup white cane sugar to a quart of hot water. Stir until completely dissolved, let cool, and fill the feeder.
6) Add compost to flower and vegetable beds, and turn it inRake the garden's level, removing rocks and breaking up clods. You’ll have a smooth surface that’s easy to plant in and fine enough for small seed to sprout through.
7) Seed more cool weather vegetablesCool weather veggies like carrots, broccoli, beets, radishes, salad turnips, chard, kale, spinach, peas, lettuce, and Asian greens. Also plant potatoes!
8) Plant warm weather startsAfter the last frost, seed beans, corn, squash, and cucumbers. Plant tender warm weather starts: tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, basil, calendula, and other flowers.
9) Mulch all your beds once they are plantedMulching keeps the soil cool, conserves water, prohibits weed growth, and adds humus to the soil as it breaks down.
10) Put in stakes & cages while plants are still smallPut stakes in for tall flowers and cages for indeterminate tomatoes. It’s much easier now than when they get big.
11) Plant containers with flowers, herbs, and vegetablesDecorate your patio, walkways, and entrance with them. Put container herb gardens close to the kitchen door for quick harvest.
12) Rake the lawn to aerate itReseed bare spots, and dig out weeds. Apply organic fertilizer. Keep the mower blades sharp, and set them high for lush growth and weed suppression. Read more about organic lawn care.
13) Convert lawn to low-water plantsConsider converting your expensive and water hogging lawn into a native landscape of trees, shrubs, and flowers. You would use less water and need to do less maintenance. Native grasses can give you a soft, lush lawn for less money and work. Native plants are good for the environment, your wallet, and your leisure time! Even though May is a whirlwind of gardening activity, it’s your one-time chance to get the season off to a productive and healthy start. Plants don’t wait. So take a deep breath, gather your tools and gardening plan, and get out there this month! When all the planting is done and the mulch spread, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your efforts for months to come.
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