May in the Austin-Houston-Dallas triangle is similar to April — the backyard activities just keep coming. With all these chances to plant and tend your garden, it is worth it to stay organized and methodical to avoid getting overwhelmed. And keep in mind, the better you take care of your backyard in the spring, the more likely your plants will flourish in the summertime heat. Always be sure to check with your regional nurseries for much more specific recommendations to your area.
Consider including a rain barrel. The average temperature in May is 85 degrees, and our average rain is 4 1/2 inches. The issue, as all of us know too well, is that Texas is anything but average — our temperatures could quickly creep into the 90s, and also we could see May come and go without a drop of rain.
So in areas like ours, where water is a valuable resource, consider including a rainwater collection system, like a rain barrel. Only a few showers in May will help nourish your garden throughout the summer.
Troy Rhone Garden Design
Sow seeds. Many vegetable, herb and yearly seeds can be sown this month.
For vegetables, sow lima bean, snap bean, chard, cucumber, okra, peppers, pumpkin, summer squash, tomatillo, New Zealand spinach, black-eyed legumes and Malabar spinach.
If you’re adding to your own herb garden, sow seeds for rosemary, peppermint, sage, thyme, comfrey, basil, cumin, fennel, germander, sorrel, southernwood, tarragon, tansy and summer and winter savory.
For those wanting some melons in their own gardens, sow seeds for cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon.
Plan for some yearly color with seeds for coleus, Cypress blossom, four o’clocks, impatiens, marigold, moonflower vine, morning glory vine, periwinkle, sunflower, zinnia, gourds and gomphrena.
guides to vegetable gardening
Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting
Plant vegetable, berry and herb transplants. A number of the very same crops that can be sown as seeds this month can also be planted as transplants.
For berries, plant chard, cucumber, eggplant, Malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, okra, peppers, summer squash, sweet potato slips and tomatillo.
Insert herbs like basil, comfrey, catnip, artemesia, bay laurel, bee balm, catmint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, Mexican mint marigold, lavender, lavender, sage, lavender, yarrow and mint.
The melons that you simply
this month as seed (watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew) can also be implanted as 4-inch transplants.
Plant annuals, perennials and grasses. Favorite warm-weather annuals to plant comprise celosia, ageratum, begonia, blue daze, geranium, dusty miller, coleus, impatiens, marigold, Mexican heather, penta, periwinkle, zinnia, torenia and portulaca.
Many perennials can be planted too — good ones to try are black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), copper canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii), coreopsis (Coreopsis spp), cuphea (Cuphea spp), four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa), Shasta daisy, coneflowers (Echinacea spp), lantana (Lantana spp), salvia (Salvia spp), sedum (Sedum spp) and plumbago (Plumbago auriculata).
Great decorative grasses to search for are maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis), inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Mexican feathergrass (Nasella tenuissima), purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Gulf coast muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and large muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri).
Notice: Grasses self-seed, so check before planting if they can be invasive in your area.
Sirius Landscapes, Inc..
Mulch, mulch, mulch. In Texas you can’t overstate the significance of mulch. Mulch suppresses weeds and helps maintain soil moisture that could be easily sucked out by our hot summer sun.
Look for a fantastic hardwood shredded type just like a Texas native hardwood mulch and apply a 3-inch coating over all planted areas. Be cautious to avoid heaping mulch onto the foundation of plants — intention to spread it out in a gradually thinning layer right around the plants’ stems and trunks.
Tend to a yard. With another hot and dry summer forecast, it is a fantastic idea to consider decreasing the size of your yard. We all want an area where our children and pets can play, but yard areas need copious quantities of fertilizers, water and labor to keep them looking good.
For present grass areas, keep on the lookout for pests like grubs and cinchbugs (brownish areas in the grass or grass that expires and pulls out easily without roots). A product like diatomaceous earth is a fantastic treatment choice when you apply it according to the directions on the label. Just like most substances or remedies, applying in the morning or early evening is greatest, and on soil that’s been previously moistened.
Make sure your lawnmower and string trimmer are in good working condition, and keep the weeds out of your bud before they have a opportunity to take over.
Jocelyn H. Chilvers
Water. We Texans must possess this phrase on bumper stickers on our cars or tattooed on our foreheads: “Do not waste water!” A lot of our state remains in an elongated drought, with lake levels at historic lows. Please watch all watering guidelines in your town, water deeply and less often, and intention to irrigate in the early morning instead throughout the heat of the day. Make sure your irrigation system is functioning optimally and also install a rain sensor to automatically turn your system off in case we get rain.
Jocelyn H. Chilvers
Watch out for pests and diseases. Warm and moist weather, more typical for spring, is a breeding ground for garden pests and plant diseases, like powdery mildew, aphids, caterpillars, squash vine borers and grasshoppers. While it’s tempting to pull out the compounds at the very first indication of invasion, I recommend you to have a more methodical approach.
First, identify the bugs and diseases that you’re observing — maybe not all insects are bad, and sometimes the damage isn’t severe enough to do anything about.
Secondly, try a hands-on approach to coping with the problem (select bugs off plants, blast them with a spray of water, then alter your watering regimen for mildew problems).
If those steps aren’t effective, move on to having a secure, organic pesticide or herbicide, choosing a full-strength chemical solution only when all else fails. Enlist the help of your regional nursery to identify diseases and pests by bringing in a sample, and also request recommendations on the best treatment for your situation.
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