Gardening Tips for May 2020

Dear Gardening Friends,

I’m so glad April will be over and am hoping May will be more hospitable for garden work. It seems to me I got more done in the garden in March than April. Maybe March was really April and April was March. At least it seemed that way.

News about my plant sale and a Master Gardener opportunity are on my Events page.

Hard to believe but we still must be patient as the soil is cold and wet. The following are some tips for May:

One big issue that requires patience is waiting until your perennials come up before walking in the beds or starting to dig. Unless you know exactly where every perennial is, it is safer to wait until they show up. It is so tempting to step into a bed to get at that weed but resist! I have crushed crowns of plants with my feet and/or dug into them by not waiting to see where they are.

If your soil is workable (not so wet that it forms a clump in your hand) you can transplant perennials that are already in your garden. They are acclimated to the weather and should be fine.

It’s way too soon to put out any nursery grown perennials or annuals. Our nights continue to be well below 50. Plants from greenhouses haven’t been acclimated to outside temperatures. If the cooler weather continues it may be the end of May before it’s safe to put out tender annuals.

 Weeding should be a priority. There are a few weeds to watch out for that are starting to bloom now.

–     One is hairy bitter cress which is blooming now. It pulls out easily and it’s important to get it out before it drops seed as it makes hundreds of them. It’s a small pretty little fern like plant with very small white flowers. For more information and pictures go to: http://erie.cce.cornell.edu/resources/article-10-invasives-hairy-bittercress

–          Lesser celandine is another weed that is in full bloom now. This is an extremely invasive plant that unfortunately is very pretty. It’s a short (2-3 inch) ground cover with heart shaped waxy green leaves and bright yellow flowers. It dies in back in early summer like a tulip or daffodil so you must weed them out now before you can no longer see them. These do not pull up easily, so you must be sure to dig out all the roots and the very small bulbs at the end of the roots. Luckily, they are in bloom so will be easy to find. For more information and pictures go to:http://www.nyis.info/index.php?action=invasive_detail&id=71