May Gardening Activities - Region 2
Gardening Tips for May
Southwest, Desert, Interior Valleys and Southern California Gardens
States in the region:
Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (Western), Oklahoma (Western)
and California (Desert, Interior Valleys, Southern)
Key Issues for May
- Grow your own edibles and teach your children, grandchildren and other young sprouts where their food comes from through Growums®. The delightful Growums characters will help you every step of the way toward delicious success and FUN!
- Practice water-wise gardening. Make sure your irrigation systems are well-maintained and operating properly, and do what you can to help protect your new plants from suffering in hot, drying winds.
- Make a little time every day to maintain your garden. Keeping up with all the needed garden chores will be easier if you inspect your outdoor living space daily – and you’ll enjoy your garden more!
- Pace yourself when working in the garden – temperatures are starting to rise! Avoid heat-related illness by taking care of yourself. If you start to feel lightheaded in the heat, sit down and rest in the shade or indoors where it’s cool, and drink plenty of hydrating fluids. *If you’re doing any late spring landscaping before the searing heat of summer, consider fireproofing your property by employing some simple principles: firescape for safety. *Planting any cactus in your desert garden? Here are some pointers for planting your spiky friends.
- Send your tired-looking cool-season annuals that are well-past their prime to a homemade compost pile.
- Replace those cool-season plants with some of these heat-loving beauties:
- Dahlias are wonderful ever-blooming, warm-season bedding plants perfect for cutting. Flowers come in a wide range of colors, forms and sizes.
- Marigolds are easy-to-grow, highly aromatic and attract butterflies. The single, double or semi-double flowers are often bicolored and come in orange, red or yellow.
- Mexican heather is a tropical subshrub that can grow 8-24 inches tall. It has shiny, dark green, fine-textured leaves and light purple, pink or white flowers.
- Check pots and hanging baskets regularly for watering needs. As temperatures climb, plants – especially contained ones – require more frequent drinks.
- Blend color, texture and form when picking your potted annuals to create a stunning container garden – no matter how small your outdoor living space.
- Keep your container garden healthy and thriving without wasting water: Install a drip-irrigation system for planters.
- Start a vegetable garden in a container. You’ll save a fortune at the grocery store – and eat healthier – by growing your own produce!
- Make way for more vegetables or flowers in your garden with raised beds. They help conserve water, avoid possible drainage problems and give you an area to grow plants in fresh, nourishing soil. Another plus: You don’t need to be a master carpenter to build your own!
- Harvest spinach, lettuce, peas, radishes and other cool-season crops as they mature. When those crops are finished, reuse the planting area for warm-season veggies to guarantee a continual harvest.
- Put away the saltshaker and spice up your cooking with summer-loving herbs. Cilantro is an essential ingredient in international cuisine. [Rosemary] (/plants/rosmarinus-officinalis/) is great for recipe seasoning, infusing oils and spicing up potpourri. And what would many of our favorite foods be without basil?
- Grow summer squash: Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and water well. Cover the area with a floating fabric that allows sun through to protect sprouting plants from various insects. When the plants start blooming (in about a month), uncover them to allow pollinators to fertilize the flowers.
- Continue to mow regularly, and fertilize your lawn with a well-balanced fertilizer before the really hot weather arrives.
- Add mulch to your planted landscape beds and borders to cool the soil, reduce weeds and help conserve needed soil moisture. A few inches are all that’s needed.