Sometimes warm and sunny and sometimes cool and wet here on the Pacific North West coast.
Flowers and trees are coming to life .. cherries blooming, plums blooming, apples just about in bloom. Magnolias, forsythia, azaleas, rhodo's and more... Wonderful time to live here on the island!
Your peas, onions, most of your cruciferous crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.. Also lettuce, spinach, kale and the herbs like cilantro that tend to bolt in the heat.
You have either planted your potatoes already or are just about to plant them and might already be harvesting your first crop of radishes.
You can plant some more peas for succession cropping, so they are not all ready at the same time, and your carrots and radishes, too.
Potatoes in the early stages at the nitty gritty potager.
The month of May is the month is when the warmer weather lovers get planted, though not necessarily your real heat lovers like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants...
Plant this month
Beans - wax, purple, green, French ... get planted towards the end of the month.
Plant up your hanging baskets, pots and planters... place in a warm porch, greenhouse, or other sheltered area for a few weeks to let them settle in and start to fill out.
Plant perennials and summer flowering bulbs, such as lilies, glads, dahlias, crocosmia and more..
Plant fall flowering plants now, too, like echinacea, asters, zinnia's, mums, rudbeckia, etc...
Plant annuals (bedding plants) from seed or from transplant... things like nasturtiums and zinnia's can go in from seed but most all others are likely best from transplant so that they have time to fill out and thrive in your gardens.
Don't forget that some of the best annuals for companion plants are Sweet Alyssum, Marigolds, and Nasturtiums. Others like Calendula, Scented Geraniums, Lavender and other strongly scented herbs are also very beneficial. See HERE and HERE for more info about companion plants.
Blue and purple flowers bring in bees and other pollinators.
Trumpet shaped flowers with bright colours bring in hummingbirds.
Flat flowers like dill, cilantro, Queen Anne's Lace, etc.. bring in lots and lots of the good bugs that eat the bad bugs.
Gotta love the fabulous, juicy and huge beefsteak tomatoes!
Ludmilla's Red Plum grown at the Nitty Gritty Potager.
The Heat Lovers..
They want the night time temps to be +10C before you plant outside. This ensures that the soil will be warm, too, so they simply thrive and take off like gangbusters. This means planting no earlier than during the May long week-end, or even sometime early June, depending on the weather...If you need a hoodie or sleeves to sit outside in the evening, it is too cold for the heat lovers.
If you were to plant earlier, you might well set your plants back by a month or more, as they sit and pout in the cold soil. They will also get stunted roots and thus be unable to take up nutrients from the soil.
Seeds that need heat to germinate, like corn, cukes, squash, will simply rot away if the soil is not warm enough at planting time.
Wall-O-Water ... perfect for starting your tomatoes several weeks early!
If you want to plant sooner for earlier veggies or even planting on May long week-end, knowing that the weather can still be pretty iffy, here are some things you can do...
Plant your warm weather veggies into containers and bring them in for each night till things warm up... or grow them on in your greenhouse, heated or not, or in a hoop house or cold frame ..
The picture above is of the Wall-O-Water's. They work like mini greenhouses around your tender crops. Fill the pockets up with water a few days before planting to allow them time to warm the soil inside the walled teepee. The water in the pockets soaks up the heat all day long and then emits it all night long, keeping the tomato/cuke/pepper warm and toasty.
These Wall-O-Waters have been around for many years, even my parents have used them for several years already with great success ... I am trying them out for the very first time this year...
Don't forget that you can also lay black plastic or landscape fabric down in the tomato bed... to help soak up the heat and warm up the soil in the bed, so that when you plant, all is nice and toasty.
You can also make the tomato cage greenhouses by placing a clear leaf bag or stretch wrap around each tomato cage.
Heirloom tomato baskets in the greenhouse this spring.