Every year as May returns, Mother Nature turns nice and gives us bright sunny days and cool spring rains. And for many gardeners May is also when our hearts seem to beat a bit faster because winter is gone and spring has returned. Although this year it has taken a bit longer to reach the warmth.
Sometimes when I write articles or prepare comments for our radio shows, I can get stymied about what to discuss. Not in May. May is a perfect time to accomplish so many tasks in our landscapes that the difficulty in May is deciding what not to talk about.
Mothers Day is approaching, and to many when we talk about Mothers Day we also talk about planting our annuals. Many people will wait to plant their annuals until Mothers Day to be safe from the last chances of frost in Nebraska. Even though this spring has been cooler and wetter than normal whether you are planting in a landscape bed, hanging basket, or pot on the patio, go right ahead and plant these beautiful plants for their wonderful color and interest all summer long.
Now, I don’t know about you but the store bought vegetables just don’t have the same flavor and taste as those from our backyard gardens. Warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, corn, etc. can now be planted safely. And if you haven’t already, get your cool season vegetables planted quickly such as Broccoli, Snap Peas, Cauliflower, Lettuce, etc. They will grow better in cooler weather versus the heat of summer so the sooner they are planted the better crop you will receive. Also remember that amending your gardens each year by adding compost, or peat moss and manure then tilling them in well before planting will give you better yields from your garden.
Once your annuals and vegetables are planted consider adding perennials, shrubs and trees to your landscape. By planting now you give your new additions time to settle into place before the stresses of summer arrive. Daylilies to Iris, Lilacs to Viburnum, Lindens to Maples – May is a perfect time to plant your landscape. Make sure to plant interest for all seasons of the year versus just what is blooming now. And if you aren’t quite sure what to plant consider crafting a plan with a landscape designer. Experienced designers – like our team at Campbell’s – can offer recommendations in planting the right plants in the right locations that have color and interest as much as possible through the year. Let the experience of an expert make your planting and growing easier with a plan.
Now before you think May is all fun and sunny weather don’t forget to deal with weeds and insects. Pre-emergents like Preen can cut your weeding immensely and should be applied before new mulch is applied to your landscape beds. If you didn’t know or forgot to apply then apply it right over your mulch as soon as possible then water it in well for best results. Also be ready to spray a bit of Round Up on those weeds the pre-emergent doesn’t control. And be ready to apply controls for infestations of Pine Sawfly, Red Spider or any of the many other pesky insects preparing to attack your plants.
One final note for those of you near Lincoln who plant vegetable gardens. As you plant your garden please consider planting an additional plant or two and donate the extra crop to the “Grow and Share” program between Campbell’s and the Lincoln Food Bank. Anyone can drop off extra produce in paper sacks Mondays and Tuesdays to our garden centers through the summer and it will be donated to the Lincoln Food Bank.
Overall, try to enjoy some of the great Nebraska weather we have in May, add some color and interest to your landscape through new plantings, and keep the Grow and Share program in your mind if you are close to Lincoln. May is such a great month in Nebraska, How can you go wrong?
Andy Campbell is manager of Campbell’s Nurseries Landscape Department. A Lancaster County Farm Bureau Member, Campbell’s, a family owned Nebraska business since 1912, offers assistance for all your landscaping and gardening needs at either of their two Lincoln garden centers or through their landscape design office, www.campbellsnursery.com or on Facebook.