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May Garden Reminders

Updated: May 6

May might just be my favorite time in the garden. The smell of sweet peas fills the air and our eyes feast on the explosion of colors and textures amongst the peonies, roses and bearded irises. It's the grand reward for all the Spring garden grind!

(Give yourself a blue ribbon! Don't kick your boots up on the table quite yet. We have more playing in the dirt and more to celebrate in months to come.)

Things to care for in May...

1.Cut, Cut, Cut!

When it comes to microflower farming, it's important to harvest blooms every few days. Doing so reminds your plants to keep producing.

It's a fine balancing act of how much to leave on the plant to enjoy and making sure you've removed enough so not to signal your plants into dormancy. Eg. Sweet peas. Harvest every 2-3 days, making sure that any spent flowers are also deadheaded.

Eg. Roses. These beauties will make blooms on average every 6 weeks. Trim for cut flower from established shrubs and let younger rose bushes bloom and dead head readily.

2. Water deeply and mulch

In zone 9b, we start to get heat in early May and it's not unusual for us to have stretches of heat in the 80s. We do our best to mulch around our plants and also to water deeply 2x a week. This is our attempt to train our plants to send roots down, rather than superficially.

3. Plant out remaining summer annual focals and fillers

Zinnias, Cosmos and Celosia seedlings should be ready to be transplanted. Don't forget about beauties like strawflower, amaranth, and gomphrena!

Farmette's Secret: We pre-dig our holes for spacing, water in with a hose, and then transplant.

We also place a shade cloth over our rows for about a week to help reduce transplant shock.

4. Protect your plants

This is a great time to treat your soil with beneficial nematodes if you are seeing critters crawling on your blooms. We treat nasty pests with Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew.

Be sure to spray in the early AM or at dusk so not to hurt beneficial garden friends such as honeybees.

5. Trim back and propagate Chrysanthemums

General rule of thumb is to trim your chrysanthemums back to about 12"(to promote side branching) in height by July 1st. However, because we are growing in zone 9b, we usually have a bit of a jump start on our growing season due to our warmer climate. Our mums are 2-3' tall already!

For us, it's time to trim/pinch back mums. Use young, non-woody stems for propagation. Stay tuned for our Youtube video on how to propogate Chrysanthemums from cuttings!

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