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May Gardening: The Best Time of Year!

May is our favorite time of year here. Late spring and early summer harvests bring us some of the sweetest, most savory, and healthy fruits, herbs, and vegetables. In our box next week, we will be featuring organic cherries, apricots, basil, spring garlic, spinach, potatoes, sugar snap peas, and more!

For all the home gardeners out there, here are some garden May to-do’s and suggestions for making your garden as sustainable as possible.

Planting

Seeds can now be sown outdoors, so it’s time to start your warm season crops! Here’s a list of some of our favorite veggies to grow during this time of year: beans (pole and bush), carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, onions, leeks, peppers, spinach, swiss chard, squash, tomatoes.

Pole bean seedlings sprouting in the garden:

Pole beans seedlings sprouting

Make sure to avoid planting peas and lettuce because they will likely bolt and sunburn as the temperatures increase during this time of year.

It’s also a great time to plant your herbs, such as basil, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. These plants thrive in Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean climate!

Flowers also make great homes for beneficial insects, like pollinators and natural pest predators that can help you limit the needs for man-made pesticides. Most summer flower varieties can be started from seed now, such as zinnia, marigolds, gaillardia, cosmos, nasturtium, alyssum, portulaca, sunflower.

Ladybugs sunbathing, and hunting aphids:

Mulching, Weeding, Watering

As the summer months draw closer and temperatures rise, weeds and water will be main issues in the garden. Conserving water will be of the utmost importance! One great way to prevent weeds and save water is sheet mulching, otherwise known as lasagna composting. Layer compost, newspaper, cardboard, and mulch on top of the soil, watering in between each layer. This will add tons of organic matter to your soil, conserve soil moisture, and manage summer weeds.

In order to be as sustainable as possible in our gardens, biological diversity is key! Plant lots of different crops, flowers, natives and herbs to provide habitat for tiny garden creatures.

Happy gardening!

Resources:

http://cesantabarbara.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardener/Master_Your_Garden_Month-By-Month/