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May is prime time for summer vegetable planting

Tomato transplants set out now will grow faster, thanks to warm soil.
Tomato transplants set out now will grow faster, thanks to warm soil. MCT

Want tomatoes? How about squash, peppers and beans?

After a soggy spring, it’s finally time to get serious about planting a summer vegetable garden – if not this weekend, very soon. Among the veggies you can plant now from seed: lima and snap beans, carrots, chard, corn, cucumbers, melons, okra, pumpkins, soybeans, squash and watermelon.

▪  If you haven’t already, start setting out tomato transplants as well as seedling eggplants and peppers. The warmer the nights, the faster they’ll grow.

▪  In the flower garden, plant 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.

▪  Time to harvest, too. Bring in lettuce, cabbage, fava beans, peas, green onions and radishes.

▪  Mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve 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.