This week is all about good gardening ideas to have you ( or at least your gardens) sitting pretty when spring tapers off and summer moves in. Let’s take a look at a few helpful May gardening tips.

Use May to Plan for Summer in the Garden

May is a good time to grab some summer annuals. Vinca (Periwinkle), Moss Rose and Purslane, Penta, Angelonia, Gazania, Coreopsis (annuals or perennial varieties) are great choices for providing you with color that blazes brilliantly right along with the summer sun. Caladiums and coleus will provide you with stunning foliage color.

If you haven’t gotten into a routine of observing your garden for pest activity , start now. As the weather ramps up, so does pest activity. Don’t panic if you have a few pests in your yard, but don’t let them get out of control either. May is a good time to introduce beneficial insects into your landscape to help battle pests. Beneficial insects are attracted to the pests, they’re an invitation to hang around your landscape and look for a few more to munch.


If you want to extend to invitation even longer, add a few plants to your garden that beneficial insects are attracted to. Umbels (plants with umbrella like blooms) like fennel, dill, flowering herbs like African basil, oregano, lavender, and plants with small, daisy-like blooms will being in the beneficials as well. The supply of beneficial insects we can bring in to the nursery begins to dwindle towards the end of spring as it gets to hot to ship them, so if you want them come and get them.

Young squash showing signs of blossom end rot.

Keep to a regular watering schedule for your veggie gardens, especially if you have tomatoes starting to fruit and squash and zucchini plants flowering and fruiting. Inconsistent watering is the main cause of end blossom rot. (You know, the disappointing shriveled up end on squash and the black blotch on the bottom of a tomato.) Perfect the practice of consistent watering, factoring in rainfall, and you’ll be harvesting shiny red (or yellow, purple, green, orange) tomatoes and plump-ended squash and zucchini in no time.

If you have potted geraniums that have been enjoying full exposure of the sun, start looking for spots in your landscape, or on patios or decks, that you can move them to, that receive some afternoon shade. In summer full sun is too extreme for geraniums. Moving them to a more protected area will keep them blooming through the summer.


Mulch plants now to prep for the upcoming summer. Mulch is a fairly inexpensive way to help you with multiple garden tasks. Weeding, watering, enriching soil (if you choose an organic mulch) all can be aided by applying a 2-3′ layer of mulch around the base (but not up against trunks, stems or crowns) of plants. See the following link for a lot more info on the wonders of mulch.


Keep these pre-summer tips in mind this month and hopefully they will set you down the garden path of success.



~ The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy