Monthly Garden Calendar for Northeastern United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Amy Goldman

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MAY
A fellow garden tourist struck up a conversation recently, as we admired tropical plants in a glasshouse in Chicago. He boasted that he had some of the same X, Y, and Z in his own backyard near Seattle. What could I say, as a Zone Fiver with a garden near the Borscht Belt of New York where such things are not possible. One hundred and twenty frost-free gardening days can still allow me to grow the makings for my winter staple,?borscht; as well as melon soup for summer.

Seeding Time. All the makings of borscht can be planted in the garden now: direct seed beets, plant potatoes, and cabbage seedlings. Warm-season vegetables, like the melon for melon soup, cucumbers and squash, need a jump-start inside three weeks before planting out around Memorial Day.

Tender Annuals Tip. Memorial Day is also the safe planting out date for tender annuals, dahlias, and tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.

Spring Cleaning. Finish the spring cleanup, topdress garden beds with compost, and take bird feeders down.

Projects For Your Garden. Begin garden construction projects like pergolas and retaining walls or erect fencing and trellises.

Reminders of Winter. Assess the deer and frost damage, and replace affected trees and shrubs with hardier stock.

Flower Power. Enjoy spring flowers like peonies and early roses. Lilacs always signal Mother's Day in my garden, and make a fragrant bouquet for Mom.

Asparagus Action. Pick those long-awaited first asparagus spears.

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