The warm days of May are perfect for starting your spring garden
With its warm days and soft rain, Spring brings with it promises of brightly colored gardens and bountiful harvests. With a combination of hard work and planning, your garden can be the talk of the neighborhood. Our 2018 Spring Planting Guide provides valuable information that will help you avoid some common planting missteps and enjoy many evenings in your beautiful garden.
Plan your layout
An important first step that many forget, every gardener should examine their planting space and develop a layout of the space prior to preparing the soil and selecting plants. No gardener has more heartache than when they realize the plants they’ve chosen aren’t suited for their site.
Begin by testing the pH of your soil in each area where you’ll plant. Different plants have different demands on their soil and being sure that yours are well suited for one another will ensure success in your garden.
A simple scale sketch of your garden can be drawn out on graph paper. Use the blocks to ensure that you are allowing enough space for each plant and that you have enough space for the plants you want in your garden.
Prepare the soil
Good soil makes for a good garden. Taking steps to prepare your site will help ensure the success of your gardening efforts.
Begin by turning over or cultivating the soil. Use a broadfork to break up the soil which will allow it to dry out and warm up faster. Cultivation also allows roots to penetrate into the ground more easily, making for healthier, heartier plants.
Work any fertilizers or additives into the soil to suit the plants that you’ve selected. Allow at least a few days for these to settle before you begin planting.
Vegetable and fruit gardening
Many edible plants prefer to be added to your garden in May for summer and fall harvests. A little work now can mean garden fresh vegetables and fruits for your family to enjoy throughout the summer. Consecutive plantings throughout the summer can keep your garden producing well into late fall.
Vegetable garden staples like tomatoes, peppers, squash, and corn should be added to your garden this month. Incorporate many varieties of tomatoes with different growth habits to ensure an array of tasty options throughout the summer.
Climbing and trailing plants like peas, cucumbers, and melons thrive in the warm soil of May. Be sure to provide trellises for climbers. Cucumbers and melons should be kept far apart in the garden, as they can cross-breed during the growing season. The results are not appetizing.
Pole beans are another garden staple that can also serve to add interest in your garden. Consider constructing a bamboo teepee to provide stakes for your beans and a shaded play spot for the children.
Now is also a good time to start your herb garden for use in the kitchen. Basil, cilantro, rosemary, and dill will add abundant flavors to your cooking – fresh from your own garden. Be sure to plant your herbs in a sunny spot where they can receive 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.
May is the perfect time to replace cool-weather flowers with their warm-weather loving cousins, such as marigolds and petunias. Warm-weather annuals provide an instant burst of color for your garden.
Sunflowers bring height and color to your garden. Direct sow seeds into your garden. Consider using towering varieties to screen less appealing areas or structures like sheds, utility meters, and HVAC units.
Make your garden a haven for butterflies and hummingbirds. Phlox, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, and butterfly weed all provide an enticing buffet for butterflies. Hummingbirds will flock to your garden for flowers like bee balm, hollyhock, columbine, and coralbells. Be sure to add a bench so that you can enjoy the new friends you’ve invited into your garden.
Don’t forget to mulch, mulch, mulch! Mulch provides a buffer from the extremes of heat and cold, while retaining valuable moisture. Additionally, mulch discourages the growth of weeds in your garden, minimizing competition for your plants.
Have any spring gardening tips or tricks? Leave us a comment below and tell us all about it.
Annette Masterson is a licensed broker with EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates in Murfreesboro, TN. She has developed one of the most successful real estate teams in Rutherford County, known as Masterson Network, that specializes in new home construction and residential listings and sales throughout Middle Tennessee. You can email Annette at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 615-896-5656 (Office) or 615-533-1660 (Cell) for more information.