Monthly Garden Calendar for Southwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By John Dromgoole

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MAY

Our zone is so diverse that some of us are begging for rain and the others are wishing it would stop. Whichever way it is for us, the balance of good and bad is enough to make the annual effort worth it.

Planting Time. Plant vegetables early in the month to allow for a July harvest—just in time for the fall garden. Direct seed vegetables like okra, melons, amaranth, beans, black-eyed peas, winter squash, and pumpkins. Plant sweet potato slips now, too.

Seed Starting. Start seeds of peppers and tomatoes in containers for later planting (in July) for the fall garden. We really like the 'Clear Pink' tomatoes we tried last year. They were delicious, vigorous, and productive.

Flower Fun. You still have time to plant heat loving flowers, such as Hamelia (which attracts hummingbirds), sunflowers, globe amaranth or any of the many types of wonderful zinnias. 'Blue Point' zinnia is great for cutting.

Pick Up Fallen Fruit! Rotting fruit harbors pests and diseases. Thin fruit on heavily burdened trees to be sure remaining fruit will reach their full potential and support any branches that are weighted down with fruit since they could easily break in a strong storm.

Treat Pest Problems Early. The longer you wait, the more they spread and the harder they will be to get rid of.

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