Happy Mayday, gardeners! This is the month when the whole spectrum of gardening zones goes outside to play. In Gildshire Guide: May Gardening by Hardiness Zone we’re going to help you maximize the May flowers, brought to you courtesy of April showers. Now, don’t you feel a little bad for all that complaining you did last month? At any rate, the best home improvement magazines online are talking gardening this month. But, the very best is in front of you right now. Let’s get to the good stuff! This month Gildshire Guide: May Gardening celebrates those centers of regional government known as county seats.
Zone three, for example, Malta, Montana: The good people in Phillips County, Montana have their gardening shears handy for May yardwork. Nowhere is this truer than in the county seat. That would be Malta, population 1,950. This is the time to begin hardening off annual flowers by exposing them to cooler temperatures for longer periods each day. Don’t forget to give perennials and fruit trees a generous compost dinner. If the weather has been dry, water them deeply to boost their growth. Plant potatoes around the 20th of the month.
Zone four, for example, Marshall, Minnesota: The county seat of Lyon, County, Minnesota, Marshall boasts a population of 13,664. At least they would if Minnesotans were prone to boasting, which they are not. They’re too busy gardening. What should they do in May? It’s sowing time! Marigolds, bachelor buttons, and zinnias, to be more specific. Closer to Memorial Day, Zone Four gardeners will want to plant tomatoes, beans, and summer squash.
Zone five, for example, Meadville, Pennsylvania: The gardeners in Crawford County, Pennsylvania take a backseat to no one when it comes to gardening prowess. The 12,964 folks in the county seat of Meadville are ready to get their garden on as April becomes May. After the soil has warmed to 60°F, (think the 10th of the month) transplant out tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes. Just as a gardener knows Mayday, so too do pests. Protect cucumbers, melons, and squash from them by use of row covers. If you have any summer or fall blooming perennials this is the time to divide and replant them.
Zone six, for example, Bristol, Rhode Island: Known as a seafaring part of the country, Bristol County (along with its eponymous county seat with a population of 22,954) grows some pretty nice crops to go along with the lobster pulled out of Mt. Hope Bay. Bristolites in the garden this month will direct-seed squash, beans, corn, and okra, and plant a few more runs of leafy greens. The roses could use about an inch of compost mulch to make them sparkle when in full bloom.
Zone seven, for example, Hereford, Texas: Just down the road a piece from Amarillo, find Hereford, the county seat of Deaf Smith County. Things are already getting a mite warm in Hereford, so the 15,730 folks there will want to plant moonflower, caladium, coleus, zinnia, and other heat-tolerant flowers. Also, plant okra, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes, southern peas, and other heat-loving veggies. This is a particularly verdant zone this time of year, so the busy Hereford gardener will want to thin out the fruit orchard before June comes along.
Zone eight, for example, Weaverville, California: Trinity County is the 4th least-populated county in California, but the 3,600 folks in the county seat of Weaverville wouldn’t have it any other way. Fewer neighbors mean more room to breathe the fresh Sierra Nevada air and elbow room to garden. The Trinity Garden Club (They meet the third Thursday of the month. Maybe we will show up some month.) will be elbow deep in the soil during the month of May. The spring crops must be harvested daily to keep them producing as long as possible. Plant eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, squash, okra, beans, sweet potatoes, melons, and southern peas this month. If your garden has some shade try planting caladium. If it is all sun all the time, narrow-leafed zinnia is the way to go. You’ll want to check your drip irrigation system because you’ll be depending on it soon.
Zone nine, for example, Green Cove Springs, Florida: The people who live in Clay County, Florida fairly burst with pride over the gardens they grow. The 7,666 people who call the county seat of Green Cove Springs home take a particular pride in their bounty. Mayday finds them busy starting new plantings of melons, squash, dried beans, okra, and southern peas that thrive in heat. The beginning of one thing in the garden generally mean the end of something else. So, pull out and compost primula, viola, calendula, and pansy plants that are no longer flowering well. The flower beds need a constant drip from the drip irrigation system to keep them cool.
Zone ten, for example, El Centro, California: Let’s say you want to drive from San Diego to Phoenix. You’ll pass through Imperial County, California and the county seat of El Centro. If you do it this month, you may see some of the 44,201 people who live there working the garden. What are they doing? First of all, they are laying a heavy load of mulch to protect tender young things from the summer heat. Also, they are keeping heat-tolerant herbs, such as lemongrass, going strong by feeding them with fish emulsion and seaweed spray. Pests can be a problem here (where aren’t they, come to think of it), so El Centro gardeners are stopping whiteflies and mealybugs with insecticidal soap.
That’s it for Mayday and the Gildshire Guide celebration of gardening in the county seat. But, from Naknek, Alaska (county seat of Bristol Bay County) to Key West (county seat of Monroe County, Florida) let’s appreciate the gardeners among us. There is nothing like a plate of food harvested outside your back door. The gardeners make that happen, in or out of the county seat. Nothing in home improvement magazines online will appreciate that more than Gildshire. See you in June!