Have you caught spring gardening fever? Despite the drought, we still have the urge to go play outside and get our hands dirty. And this should be an excellent weekend to get things done outdoors.
▪ May is prime time for planting summer vegetables. Among the veggies you can plant now from seed: lima and snap beans, carrots, chard, corn, cucumbers, melons, okra, pumpkins, soybeans, squash and watermelon. Of those crops, corn needs the most water, but the others can be grown successfully with reduced irrigation.
▪ Set out tomato transplants as well as seedling eggplants and peppers. The warmer the nights, the faster they’ll grow.
▪ In the flower garden, you can plant now a wide assortment of summer bloomers including alyssum, aster, celosia, cleome, cosmos, four o’clocks, marigold, morning glory, periwinkle, rudbeckia, salvia, sunflower, verbena and zinnia.
▪ Don’t forget to water your seedlings and transplants. Irrigation is critical during these early stages. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. You can cut back on irrigation after the plants sprout and grow a little.
▪ Time to harvest, too. Bring in lettuce, cabbage, fava beans, peas, green onions and radishes.
▪ Mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve precious moisture. Be sure to leave a small circle around the base of each plant to prevent rotting stems or trunks.
▪ Watch out for snails and slugs. They’ll gobble everything in sight. Go snail hunting with a flashlight an hour after dark. Hand-pick the critters and destroy.
▪ For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.
▪ Check for powdery mildew on grapes. If needed, spray with sulfur or potassium bicarbonate, available at nurseries.