May makes impatient gardeners happy, because now they can finally be sown, planted and planted to their hearts’ content. Depending on the location and region, it may be necessary to wait for the ice saints in the middle of the month, who occasionally bring frosty nights for the last time.
There is a lot of work to do in May to create the basis for abundant growth, rich flowers and sweet fruits. You can find out what to do in the garden now in the May garden calendar.
The vegetable garden: sow, plant and harvest in May
Most vegetables and herbs can now be sown directly outdoors. After the last frosts from mid-May, early plants are also planted in the garden from the warm windowsill. However, some plants, such as cucumber or kale, also germinate best on the windowsill in May so that they have a better start.
Some varieties such as cucumbers and eggplants generally feel more comfortable if they can grow protected from the weather and strong temperature fluctuations. If you own a greenhouse, you can reserve a place under glass for varieties like this.
You can find many tips for sowing outdoors and under glass in the May sowing calendar.
Prepare beds, select planting locations
Now, at the latest, it is time to consider which plants are planted where, because almost all of them have preferred conditions and neighboring plants, in whose company they grow particularly well. On the other hand, a neighborhood of plants that do not like each other can lead to poor growth. A planting plan simplifies the overview. If you arrange the plants according to the principles of permaculture, you will also save a lot of work.
Beds intended for heavy feeders can be improved with compost before the seeds and seedlings are planted. Weak teachers, on the other hand, prefer lean soil that needs little or no fertilization.
The lighting conditions are also decisive when choosing the locations. Plants such as tomatoes or Mediterranean herbs prefer full sun, while beans, peas, many types of cabbage, salads and arugula also cope with partial shade or shade.
Tip: When planting beds and especially raised beds, it is best to include a few ollas for irrigation. They ensure even moisture in the soil and extend the pouring intervals.
Sowing outdoors and on the windowsill
Many vegetable seedlings that had been brought up on the windowsill in the previous months are now coming outside. If possible, slowly get used to the new conditions by placing them in a partially shaded spot outdoors during the day for a few days. Then they are hardened and can finally be put into the bed.
If frost does occur again unexpectedly, the plantlets can be covered with screwed or mason jars overnight to prevent frostbite.
The seedlings make room on the windowsill for later varieties, which also get a better start in May. These are, for example, types of cabbage such as kale, which are ready for harvest in autumn. Robust cucumbers also start best on the windowsill before moving to the bed.
Fertilizer, liquid manure and mulch
So that the plants in the garden bloom abundantly, bear fruit and are more resistant to pests, it is advisable to provide them with all the necessary nutrients.
It is worth looking for “weeds” in the garden or on the side of the path. For example, a nettle slurry can be made from the versatile nettle, which supplies the plants with nitrogen and other minerals. With nettle mulch or a cold nettle extract, plants are strengthened against pests and diseases.
Other wild plants that are undesirable in the garden are also useful by being used as mulch or for manure. This is particularly recommended in spring when they have not yet developed any seeds that would cause them to multiply unintentionally.
Tip: Where the nettles were harvested, no further fertilizer is necessary for normal-eating plants, because the nettle is a pointer plant for particularly nutritious soil.
Re-planting, pruning and care
Berry bushes are now supplied with compost and mulched to give them a good start. Branches that sprout only weakly are best cut off above the ground, strong shoots tied up if necessary.
Harvest in May
As in April, asparagus and rhubarb are ready for harvest in May. Even early sown, fast growing varieties such as spring onions and radishes are now fully grown and ready for harvest. The first real fruits can be picked with the bright red strawberries. Even some cherry trees offer their first fruits to snack on in May! You can find out which other types of fruit and vegetables are now ripening in the region in our seasonal calendar for May.
Flowers in the garden: sowing and care in May
The early flowering season for this year ends in May. Many bushes and trees are now in bloom, which are then seamlessly replaced by the first summer flowers that are now sown or planted.
Sow and plant flowering plants
Large bulbs, for example from tulips, can be dug out and stored in a dry, cool and dark place. Smaller bulbs of snowdrops or crocuses remain in the ground for the sake of simplicity. It is best not to cut off the aerial parts of the plant until they have dried out.
The path is now clear for summer flowers! Marigolds, tagetes, sunflowers and many other bee-friendly flowers can now be sown directly into the bed. Climbing flowering plants such as vetch, morning glory, black-eyed susanne and nasturtium are suitable for vertical gardening and greening the fence, shed and house wall.
Tip: The tagetes, also called student flower or Turkish carnation, is also in good hands in the vegetable patch because it distributes threadworms that could endanger the vegetable harvest.
Caring for and cutting plants
Container plants are particularly sensitive to late frosts, as the soil in the pot could also freeze through. It’s best to put them outside after the ice saints. As with seedlings, it is advisable to slowly get used to fluctuating temperatures and sunshine.
When putting out precious roses in a pot, the opportunity is favorable to remove game shoots that grow below the grafting point.
Tip: Now is the right time to redesign an overgrown garden, because if the existing plants sprout in May and are clearly recognizable by leaves and flowers, you can best judge which ones should stay and which should be removed.
The external water tap can be unlocked at the latest in May, as there are usually no longer any severe frosts. On the other hand, it is often so warm at least during the day that small and sensitive plants have to be watered regularly. If you install a rain barrel instead or in addition, you save costs for tap water and supply the plants with well-tolerated, soft water.
May is the right time to make a hand wash paste yourself. If the hands are dirty after planting and digging in the soil, they can be cleaned quickly with the sodium paste.
You can find more tips and recipes for environmentally friendly and sustainable garden care, sowing and harvesting in our book:
What other work in the garden does May bring you? We look forward to your tips in a comment!
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