May Garden Tips
from Al Krismer Plant Farm
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
We have added a new item to the homepage of our website. It is a
search engine for our entire website which includes tip sheets and
archived e-news and monthly tips. If you are looking for info on
petunias and want to search our website, scroll down the left column
and just type in 'petunia' in the search box. This will allow you to
find any info we might have on petunias.
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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
Pinch chrysanthemums and annual flower plants to keep them compact
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
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.
Plant balled-and-burlapped or container nursery stock, and water
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Grandma's Lemon Meringue Pie