MAY 2018

May Garden Tips
from Al Krismer Plant Farm
May 2018
Dear Garden Enthusiast,


April showers bring May flowers and it is now time to plant your garden. By May 10th on an average it is safe to plant tender annuals and vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. Our greenhouses are bursting with color with geraniums, impatiens, petunias, and vinca, just to name a few.  The monthly garden tips will be archived at our website for future use. See directions at the bottom.

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Check spring recipes at the bottom

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May Garden Tips
Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs:
  • Make sure night temperatures are above 50 degrees and the danger of frost is over before planting annuals or tomato plants. Plant frost-tender plants after danger of frost is past for your area. This includes warm-season vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and vine crops, as well as most annual flowers and tender perennials, such as cannas, gladiolus, dahlias, tuberous begonias and caladiums.
  • Pinch chrysanthemums and annual flower plants to keep them compact and well-branched
  • Make successive plantings of beans and sweet corn to extend the season of harvest.
  • Control cucumber beetles, carriers of bacterial wilt, as soon as cucumber plants germinate or are transplanted to prevent disease
  • When planting annuals, be sure you have watered the plants in the container before removing them. Do not pull the transplants out of the container but instead turn them upside down while holding the top of the soil or roots and tap on the bottom of the container until it comes loose
  • Do not plant your tomatoes in the same place year after year. Due to the possibility of a buildup of soilbourne wilts disease, it is recommended that you rotate your vegetable plants.
  • To grow annuals in containers on the patio, use a light weight soil mixture. Keep the plants well-watered, because the soil dries out fast.Apply a water soluble fertilizer according to package directions every two weeks.
  • Pruning spent blooms from tulips, daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs is good to do, however, do not remove the foliage-let it dry first. This is the way that the bulb is gathering energy for the next season's bloom.

Garden Maintenance:

  • Plant balled-and-burlapped or container nursery stock, and water thoroughly.
  • Follow a spray schedule to keep home-orchard crops pest free. While trees are in bloom, use fungicide sprays without insecticide to avoid injury to bees. Follow label directions. Thin fruits of apple trees, if needed, about three weeks after petal fall. Apples should be about 8 inches apart. Apply fungicides to roses to control diseases such as black spot
  • Grass clippings can be used as a mulch in flower beds and vegetable gardens if allowed to dry well before use. Never use clippings from a lawn that has been treated with a herbicide.
  • To better evaluate your gardening successes, keep weather records along with garden records. The most important items to report are daily minimum and maximum temperatures, precipitation, cloud cover and frost occurrences
  • The compost pile should be getting a lot of use these days, both in utilizing this prime garden resource, and adding fresh garden refuse to it. The compost pile should be kept damp. Frequent turning will turn your garden waste into flower food much faster


Shrubs and Trees:

  • Prune early spring-flowering trees and shrubs after flowers fade.
  • Remove and destroy overwintering bagworms from landscape trees and shrubs.
  • Azaleas will be blooming this month. Remember not to fertilize azaleas until after they have finished blooming. Remember that azaleas are shallow rooted and do not like wet feet.

Lawn Care:

  • Never remove more than one third of the grass blade in a single cutting. If too much of the blade is cut at once the grass plant's ability to perform photosynthesis is greatly reduced, affecting both the looks and health of your lawn.
  • Just as you wouldn't want someone to cut your hair with dull, rusty scissors, your lawn doesn't appreciate those old blades on your lawn mower. Sharp mower blades will not only give your yard a better look, but a clean cut is better for the health of your grass as well
  • Apply herbicide to control broadleaf weeds in the lawn if they are a problem, but be cautious around garden plants to prevent spray drift. Never spray on a windy day.


House Plants:

  • Many indoor plants can be moved to shady locations outdoors but only after danger of frost is past. Plants will dry out more often outdoors, so keep a close eye on soil moisture. Sinking the pots in soil will help slow down moisture loss
  • Now is a good time to take cuttings of houseplants to increase a collection or share with friends. Root cuttings in media, such as vermiculite, perlite or potting soil. Roots grown in water tend to be weak from lack of oxygen and do not adjust well to planting in soil
  • Fertilize houseplants according to label directions. Foliage plants require relatively high nitrogen fertilizer; flowering houseplants respond best to fertilizer high in phosphorus
  • As the growth rate of your house plants increases with the seasons, adjust your feeding schedule to provide additional food. Feed your plants a good all purpose house plant food at half of the manufacturers recommended rates, increasing the proportion slightly to accommodate growth spurts. Overuse of fertilizers can cause root and foliage burn, as well as the death of the plant


Water Gardens

  • Spring is the time to determine if your water lilies need dividing. Each plant within a pot competes with the others for nutrients. Too many lilies in one pot can mean poor growth and few flowers. To learn more click here
  • Minimize the amount of concrete that comes into contact with pond water as it can drastically increase the alkalinity.
  • While beneficial bacteria can establish naturally in your filter, using a Gel photopackaged bacteria will get the colony started quicker and keep the beneficial bacteria population high.
  • Clear pond water doesn't always indicate healthy water. Regular water testing can alert you to unseen problems
  • Water quality is important in a water garden. A biological filter converts ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates. In a koi pond, or other pond without plants, the nitrates just continue to build up in the water. Every 3 to 5 weeks a partial water change (about 10 to 20%) is needed to reduce nitrate levels. before it is too late.


Insect and Disease Control

  • Aphids? Spray infested stems, leaves, and buds with a very dilute soapy water, then clear water. It works even on the heaviest infestation
  • To prevent diseases and pest infestation , avoid piling mulch against tree trunks. Spread mulch out as far as the drip line.
  • Control spittle bugs and aphids in strawberries and ornamentals, if present; wash off or use insecticidal soap as a contact spray. Follow label directions
  • Tiny holes in foliage and shiny, black beetles on tomato, beets, radishes, and potato indicate flea beetle attack. Treat with Neem, rotenone, Bt, or use nematodes for larvae. Follow label directions
  • Fertilize roses and control rose diseases such as mildew with a registered fungicide. When selecting new roses, choose plants labeled for resistance to diseases
  • Repellent plants for aphids include anise, chives, coriander (cilantro), garlic, onions, petunias and radish. Nasturtiums act as a trap crop. Aphids definitely prefer yellow flowers Click here for large list.


Garden Critters

  • Did you know that the flowers bees love usually close at night? The reason is bees only fly during the daytime. Bees are attracted to flowers that are bright in color and have strong fragrance.
  • Woodpeckers are voracious ant eaters. You may see them also pick up ants in their beaks and crush them on their feathers. What are they doing this for? Crushing the ants bodies releases tannic acid which in turn protects the bird from parasites
  • Hummingbirds, those wonderful creatures, favor brilliant red and orange flowers the most. Following are some of their favorite flowers: Perennials: Coral Bells (heuchera), Indian paintbrush, columbine, hollyhock, jewelweed, bee Balm (monarda), phlox, daylilies, cardinal flower, lupines, penstemons, butterfly weed- which is very pretty and attracts butterflies too like it's name. Annuals: 4 O'clocks, cleome, petunias, impatiens, scarlet runner bean, red salvia, verbena, zinnias, lantana Shrubs and Vines: Butterfly bushes, creeping trumpet vine, rose-of-sharon, flowering quince, trumpet honeysuckle


Spring Recipes

Now is the time for fresh homegown asparagus, grandma's lemon meringue pie and of course the start of outdoor grilling. Try the following recipes for barbeque chicken, asparagus parmesan and lemon meringue pie.

Barbeque Chicken

Grandma's Lemon Meringue Pie

Asparagus Parmesan


Monthly Garden Tips are sent out by Al Krismer Plant Farm during the year. Look for the Tips and the expanded e-news before the 10th of the month. Quick Links below

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