May Gardening

May Gardening

May is here in Westchester County, NY. That means I am in full swing with planning and planting. There are some that advocate waiting until May 15 to plant but I began in April. It depends on how much you have to do and what you are willing to risk. Although there was still some danger of frost, I planted my tomatoes around April 17th this year. They are in the ground and doing nicely. I have started mulching them with grass clippings and they are now starting to really grow. I have had some blossoms as well. They have their initial staking in place but I will add to that as they grow. Peas are also in the ground and growing well. They have some blossoms. I like to plant peas sequentially getting fresh ones in the ground every week or two. Plants from seeds grow well here. They do best with some sort of support to grow on. You can plant them alongside a fence, a trellis or you can use the netting that is sold in home improvement stores. Here is a link to some interesting ideas on Pinterest for trellising. I have had some bad luck this year. I have heavy damage to my fig trees from snailmageddon. I have a bumper crop of snails and they have eaten heavily on the tender bark of my figs. I have two varieties of figs and they show no preference, eating both. I am ordering copper flashing to stop their advance and have been hand picking them off and feeding them to the chickens, (who go crazy for them, little gourmands). I am hoping that at least one has survived the onslaught but I may need to replace them both. All my other fruit trees are doing well. I have fruit set on the apples and the pear. The cherry and peach not yet nor the persimmon. I have pruned off any winter damage and have also pruned unwanted branches from my apple that is espaliered on a fence. I also planted a second Italian prune plum that should encourage one or the other to fruit. I have a healthy Italian prune plum that is in ground for three years and has not fruited although it is reputed to be self-pollinating. Time will tell if adding a second has done the trick. I ordered the second from Burpees. and it arrived in excellent shape. I have had excellent luck with blueberries and strongly recommend growing them. They are attractive in landscaping and easily produce and excellent crop. This year I added 4 more plants, two northern varieties and two southern that I was able to purchase cheaply by using a groupon. All my peonies are up and staked and heavy with flower buds. I have my herb garden in and a pepper garden with many varieties in. I have planted several rows of red onions, have white to plant and have augmented my asparagus bed with additional Jersey giant and Mary Washington crowns. I have not harvested asparagus yet because my older bed is only in its second year and I decided to wait one more year for harvesting although it looked very healthy this spring. All my hanging baskets are up and I have flower boxes full of impatiens around the chicken coop. I have also planted various forms of mint in pots because I have found that they take over the garden without containment. I particularly enjoy the flavored mints in drinks in the summer. If you haven’t tried them, do, they are easy and tasty. I have chocolate, orange and lemon mint this year. I have also planted some bulbs, particularly calla lilies and citronella in pots on the deck to help with insect minimization. There is also lavender and soon to be more flowers on the deck. I am stringing outdoor lighting too. Soon to go in are more bulbs, more potatoes, more onions, and some seeded plants and flowers. I also have several varieties of thyme waiting to be planted. I have some that is going between stepping stones and another type that will be in the culinary herb bed along with the rosemary and cilantro. I am working on new bee hives and putting in a walkway that will support a wheel barrow to the hive location. I will be adding lily of the valley there and some more thyme.  I have some decorative pots planned too. Plant them now and try them out in placements. You can move them to put color where you want. Try to remember sight lines and color combinations as you plant. I try to put some white flowers (have two new hydrangeas in already) in darker areas. I try to be sure that the colors I plant mix well. This year I have a new bed over a new stone wall. I planted red and green caladium, followed by deep blue green hosta and finally red astilbe with the white hydrangeas above and beyond. When they are all up, it should be a very attractive back corner of the garden. In the other corner I have a large yellow honeysuckle in back of the bee hives and in front of the hives are native day lilies in orange with primrose, yellow and purple in front. Alongside is a viburnum that will be red orange later in the year and a white hibiscus for brightness. It is good to plant for sequential flowering so you always have some color. By the end of May you should have everything in with possible the exception of sweet potatoes. These really like the warmth and I have had great luck with productivity from them. They also have a lovely ground color vine so feel free to plant them as if they were only ornamentals in front of shrubs. They have a very nice yield. I also like to plant some okra in the flowers, it has a very attractive bloom as well and is productive with just a few plants. The main thing is water and light are necessary in the right amounts for successful gardening. Things that do well in one place, won’t in another. Don’t be afraid to experiment and move things around. Happy hoeing!! NB – New best friend, the scuffle hoe. Makes short work of weeding and can be quite selective, try it out!

Mary Kingsley Headshot
Phone: 917-292-5378
Dated: May 18th 2014
Views: 3,424
About Mary: I have a long background in public service. I am a Registered Nurse with a BA and an MPS in Health C...

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