May in the Garden

Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive advice, plants, and organic gardening supplies appropriate to our area and the current season.

Below are some examples of flowers which can be planted this month. See our Flower Planting Guide.

Spray the landscape with seaweed

Continue spraying entire landscape with seaweed solution to strengthen plants and help them deal with the heat of the summer. Regularity is important; spray at least once a month, but no more than once a week.

Last chance to topdress

To replenish nutrients in the soil, spread compost no more than a half inch over the lawn, and a half inch to one inch in flower beds and around shrubs and trees. Besides providing nutrients, this also helps soil to retain moisture. Water afterwards to settle in the compost and prevent potential burning in the heat, especially on the lawn.

Apply a soil activator

If you find that water runs off the soil and doesn’t soak in easily, apply a soil activator to help improve soil permeability. During this now can cut down on watering costs during the hotter months.

Learn to water properly

The same variety of plant can potentially have very different water needs depending on the culture.  The age and type of the plant, quality of the soil medium, wind speed, temperature, and whether the plant is in the ground or in a container are all factors that affect how much water a plant will need.  See our comprehensive guide on How to Water.

Continue spraying all plants with seaweed

Seaweed, with all its trace elements and hormones, helps plants combat stress. Spray once a week on and under the leaves, early morning or late evening (never in the middle of the day).

Cover bare soil with mulch or cover crops

Use three inches of mulch on bare soil to get the benefits of weed suppression, moisture retention, and cooler soil.  Plant summer cover crops in unused veggie beds.

Watch for chinch bugs

If your St. Augustine lawn has developed dead patches in full sun areas, check the lawn for chinch bugs by examining the green areas next to the patches.  Chinch bugs are only about 1/6” long, mostly black, (young ones can be reddish-tan) with a white marking across their back. They do not fly or jump up when you walk across.  Be sure to get a positive ID before treatment, and see our guide on Pest & Disease to learn to control them.