May To-Do List: Chores In The Garden

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Take the guesswork out of gardening by using our handy monthly gardening to-do lists…

But please keep in mind, ideas for each USDA hardiness zone will be a little different due to specific local climate conditions. This May chore list is a good starting point for your reference. Adapt it and make it your own based on your local growing conditions.

Zone 3: You still have a chance of freezing temperatures, so don’t put out the summer garden quite yet. Instead, keep seeding cold weather (spring) crops and be ready to plant your warm season crops at the end of May or first of June.

Zone 4: You can start your squash, cucumber, and melon seeds indoors or in a cold frame. Don’t plant any frost-sensitive crops like tomatoes or peppers until the end of May or first of June.

Zone 5: When your soil temperature hits 60°F and consistently stays there, it’s time to plant your warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and melons. Squash and beans like the soil temperatures to be a little higher, so you will want to wait until your soil temperature is around 70°F for planting those vegetables.

Zone 6: It’s usually safe to direct sow your seeds or put out your transplants just about anytime now, and definitely by the end of the month. Like zone 5 above, use a consistent soil temperature of 60°F or higher as a guide to tell you when it’s the right time to plant! You may want to delay planting beans and squash until the end of the month as they prefer really warm weather.

Zone 7 and up: Go! Go! Go! It’s time to plant all your heat-loving veggies like tomatoes, okra, eggplant, peppers, squash, beans, and more. Get that summer garden going!

A special note about zone 8 and up: You’re probably harvesting the last of your spring crops, like lettuce, due to increasing temperatures. You may be able to enjoy them a bit longer if you keep them out of intense sunlight and provide extra water and supplemental shade. This will vary from climate to climate, and slow-bolting varieties will fare better in the heat.

Chores for ALL Zones:

-Keep making compost! Add it to your garden beds as you plant. It will keep your soil rich and healthy.

-Weed the garden regularly. It will save you so many headaches later on. Weeds can overtake both the garden and your stamina if you let this chore get out of hand. I recommend doing a daily “walk thru” the garden to pull weeds if possible. If you can’t do this important chore daily, do it at least once a week.

-Make a list of any garden supplies such as tools, tomato cages, and natural fertilizer you might need and purchase them, so you’ll have them on hand when needed.

-When it’s warm enough in your area, plant a few flowers to attract pollinators to your garden. (Plus, we all enjoy looking at pretty blooms as we tend to our veggies!)

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