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May

May Highlights

* Peonies, chives, lilac
* Hardening, transplanting, direct seeding outdoors
* Drought and pest management
* Fertilize rhododendron and roses
* Insects attacking mammals:  ticks, blackflies, mosquitos
* Insects attacking plants:  cutworm
* Trillium and Lady's Slipper in the woodland
* Hummingbirds

Hummer

(click to enlarge) 

In the Seeding Room




Seeding Under Lights


Seed succession lettuce every two weeks.  Amaranth and Swiss chard can also be started indoors for an early summer crop, since they are more heat tolerant than other greens.




In the Garden

Tilling

On the rare occasions when spring breaks early, we can till in late April. See April Archive.

May 2005 is the coolest, wettest May since 1917. Needless to say, our tilling dates slip.

Composting

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We finally find a dairy farm with reasonably priced aged manure. For $15, we filled our Dad's trailer. Grass clippings and leaf compost surround the black gold.

Hardening,Transplanting, Direct Seeding

coldframe_full_2 (8K)

Harden off plant sets  in a cold frame or screened porch with adequate protection from wind and intense sunlight. 

Transplant tomatoes at least 30" apart to avoid blight and other fungus disease.  Pick a cloudy, drizzly day to transplant, especially when summertime temperatures are climbing. 

Cucurbits (cucumbers and squash) and sunflowers resent transplanting and grow quickly, so they are saved till the end of the month and seeded directly in the garden.

Dahlias stored over the winter and potted up last month can be transplanted.

Drought and Pest Management

Both are fed by weather and life cycles.  Neither can be controlled without controlling the other.  As weather conditions become more extreme global warming), staying ahead of the game becomes more critical.

Knowing the insect life cycle is critical for those who want to avoid using chemicals.

Cutworms are the nemesis of our spring-planted brassicas and greens. Normally, they appear around mid-May and continue through late June.

Drought has become the norm in NH since we retired here in 1997.  New Hampshire is known as the Granite State for a reason.  The soil is extremely sandy and drains away moisture as quickly as it falls. 

In mid-May, we lay black plastic  for peppers, some tomatoes, and okra.  The plastic helps heat the soil up quickly, retains moisture longer, and keeps the weeds out. 

Peppers Under Plastic

Fedco is the best source for this and other "season extenders."  A roll 4x50 feet costs $5.00.  See Garden Links for their web site.

We lay drip irrigation hoses before applying plastic.  If carefully removed at the end of the season, the plastic can be stored for use next year. 

If  temperatures are in the 80's or above for several days in a row, plants (including shrubs) may need watering.

Fruit won't set when temperatures are below a mean of 60 degrees or above 90 degrees.   Too much or too little water or fertilizers can cause blight, blossom-end rot, or other disease. 

Floating row covers can protect against a late spring frost.  They may need securing against heavy winds.  In the summer, they can protect against cabbage worm moths and other flying insects. 

In the Woodland

Forest and woodland plants are neat.  They force you to use your eyes!  Trillium and Common Lady's Slipper hide behind larger leafy plants and shrubs.     

                     Trillium  Trillium     Lady Slipper   Lady's Slipper

Weather Log tracks our weather by the month.