The years seem to zip by the older you get. Have you ever noticed this?
Which is why we’ve turned around twice, and it’s already May! If you’re an avid gardener, you’re probably doing your happy dance because gardening is entering full swing now.
Therefore, it’s important to stay on top of your gardening chores. If you aren’t exactly sure what you should be doing this month around your garden, our May gardening tips will keep you on track.
I’ll be sharing with you what your garden will need from you based on both the planting zone and region. It allows you to cross-reference the to-do lists to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Let’s get started on your garden’s honey-do list:
May Gardening Tips by Zone
Planting Zone Three
If you’re in planting zone three the weather is beginning to warm, the ground is thawing, and you’re excited about planting a delicious garden.
Here’s what you can do this month to start making your dream garden come to life:
- Root maggots may be more prevalent in your cauliflower and broccoli this month. Apply a cardboard or paper ring around the base of the plant to protect your crops.
- Add compost to your perennial beds and orchard.
- It’s time to plant. Pull out your seed potatoes and warm-weather veggies and begin placing them in the ground.
Planting Zone Four
You’ve had a long hard winter. The snow and wind have been brutal, but you made it! Things are beginning to shift, and the weather is slowly starting to warm. It’s time to start working towards your warm weather goal: gardening.
Here’s how you can work toward your garden goals:
- If you have a cold frame, greenhouse, or high tunnel you can use these areas to start seeds. If not, start squash, melon, and cucumber seeds indoors.
- Divide large perennials to make new beds.
Planting Zone Five
Winter can be a daunting time for gardeners. We sit around with a pout on our face because we want to be outside digging in the dirt.
The time has finally come for gardeners in this planting zone. Here’s what you get to do in your garden:
- When the soil temperature reaches 60° Fahrenheit, it’s game on. Plant tomatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplants.
- Cage your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants as you’re putting them in the ground. By doing this it will create less work later, and they won’t fall over before you get back to them.
- It’s your last chance at planting cool weather crops.
- Add row covers to your cucumber and squash plants to protect from pests which will munch on them in this delicate stage.
Planting Zone Six
My extended family lives in planting zone six, and they’re incredibly excited because this is the month their garden beds get to see a little more activity.
If you’re ready to go full-steam ahead in your garden, here’s what you should be doing during May:
- Transplant tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings when the soil is above 60° Fahrenheit. It may take until the end of the month for the soil to reach this temperature.
- Sow okra, corn, green beans, and squash seeds directly into your garden.
- Last chance to plant cool weather crops. Once the weather warms up, they’ll stall out from the heat.
Planting Zone Seven
Things are beginning to boom as we move further south. You have plenty to do in planting zone seven. Here’s your gardening to-do list:
- Plant warm weather crops such as: sweet potatoes, peppers, okra, tomatoes, and eggplant.
- Add mulch to your broccoli, peas, and other Cole crops to keep the soil cooler
- It’s time to thin out your orchard. Make sure there are approximately six inches of space between each piece of fruit on your trees.
Planting Zone Eight
In planting zone eight, you may have already had a booming spring garden. Now, you’re ready to move onto your summer garden.
Here’s what will be keeping you busy this month:
- Harvest your spring garden to keep it going for as long as possible.
- Plant tomatoes, okra, green beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers, and melons.
Planting Zone Nine
As we move into the much warmer planting zones, time is beginning to run out for cool weather crops. Yet, the warm weather will bring about more planting.
May will be a busy month in planting zone nine. Here’s what your garden will need from you:
- Last chance for lettuce. If you decide to plant lettuce now, be sure to choose a heat-resistant option because it won’t go to seed as quickly.
- Water your crops regularly and adequately.
- Plant okra, melons, squash, and green beans.
Planting Zone Ten
The temperatures are getting higher in planting zone ten, and it’s time to plant your heat-loving crops. It’s also time to help protect them from the increased temperatures.
Here’s what your garden needs from you during the month of May:
- It’s time to plant sweet potatoes and okra.
- Your herb garden should be in full swing. Protect it from disease and pests, and keep your herbs fertilized.
- Mulch your crops. This will help retain moisture as the temperatures become warmer.
Gardening Chores by Region
It’s a good idea to know which planting zone you live in, but you should also know what your garden may need based on your region.
When you put the May gardening tips by Zone and the chores by Region together, it’ll ensure you don’t overlook anything. Here’s what gardens will need based on the region they’re planted in:
- Plant summer flowers.
- Harvest cool-weather crops.
- Replace the cool-weather crops with heat-loving crops such as okra and sweet potatoes.
- Stay on top of pests. May is the month insects will begin coming out of the woodwork.
- Water fruit trees regularly.
- Add netting to protect the fruit on your bushes and trees.
- Start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse for watermelon, squash, cantaloupe, and cucumbers.
- It’s time to plant outdoors. You should direct sow: carrots, lettuce, beets, radishes, beans, corn, melons, and pumpkins.
- Harden off tomato seedlings to get them ready for planting.
- Plant sweet potatoes.
- Fertilize all newly planted vegetables.
- Stay on top of weeds in your garden.
- Mulch your crops to deter weeds and help retain moisture.
- Start cabbage and cauliflower seeds indoors for your fall garden.
- When soil reaches above 70° Fahrenheit it’s safe to plant peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and melons.
- Stay on top of the weeds in your garden to avoid them from taking over.
- Stay on top of pests and insects to deter them from ravaging your garden.
- Mulch plants to deter weeds.
- Stay on top of weeds.
- Mulch your garden to deter weeds.
- Harvest asparagus.
- Start your herb garden for the year.
- Don’t plant tomatoes, peppers, okra, or sweet potatoes until all threat of frost has passed.
- Water and thin root crops.
- Sow more beets, leaf lettuce, carrots, and radishes.
- Plant pumpkins, melons, corn, and beans in an area where frost has passed.
- In areas where frost is still a threat, start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse for cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash, and watermelon.
- Harvest rhubarb.
- Begin hardening off tomato transplants.
- Cover fruit trees to protect fruit crops.
- Plant a second planting of beans, squash, corn, peppers, and tomatoes
- Mulch vegetables to keep the soil moist and cool.
- Plant herbs.
- Water your garden beds regularly and adequately.
- Check plants regularly for pests and diseases.
These are the May gardening tips which can help fill your days during the month of May. If you stay on top of your garden now, you should be able to see your work pay off at the end of the growing season.
We wish you all the best as you care for your garden this year and hope your efforts will be greatly rewarded when it comes time to harvest and preserve your food for the year.