May gardens are exciting for those in Zones 9-10. Outdoor planting is in full swing, some plants are reaching harvest time, and new life is springing up everywhere. As things heat up in southern climates, so does the rate of growth in gardens.
If you wonder what you should be doing in the garden this month, check out our May Garden Checklist Zones 9-10 for tips that will result in a bountiful and rewarding garden season.
May Garden Planning
- Walk around the garden with your garden journal and note the pests you see in your May garden.
- Consider what companion plants will attract predatory insects to your garden to combat pests this season.
- Jot down the rainfall you have been seeing this month and consider whether investing in and installing a watering system would be helpful.
- It’s not too early to start thinking about fall garden vegetables that you are considering growing from seed. Start perusing seed catalogs for varieties that you are thinking of growing.
- If berry bushes are forming fruits, make sure you have netting ready to set on bushes to protect them from eager birds.
Spring Garden Prep & Maintenance
Gardens are in a flurry of growth this month for gardeners in Zones 9-10. Here are some housekeeping tasks to keep your gardens in tip-top shape as we zoom into the heat of summer.
Spring Garden Weeding
Weeds are popping up everywhere throughout the month of May, and they can really invade your May gardens, stealing essential nutrients, water, and space from your prized plantings.
- Walk your landscape and pluck weeds out completely. They are easier to pull when they are young.
- Weed regularly so that weeds do not have a chance to reseed themselves, leading to more significant problems.
- Use organic weed control methods to kill weeds, like pouring boiling water on weeds or spraying weeds with a mixture of white vinegar and dish soap.
- After weeding, if you haven’t done so already, add a couple of inches of organic mulch to your garden beds to keep weeds from propagating further.
How to Water in Zones 9 & 10
The heat is on in Zones 9 and 10, so be sure that you are keeping up with the watering chores. As always, if you live in an area where there are water usage restrictions, always abide by these guidelines.
If your soil test results are in, add compost and any other necessary soil amendments to help build healthier soil. Support microbial life by using organic fertilizers and mulches like fish fertilizer and organic matter.
- Container plants and hanging baskets may need water daily now that they have established themselves and the temperatures have risen.
- Water perennial plants, vegetable gardens, and shrubs thoroughly and allow plants to dry adequately between watering.
- Ensure that your drip irrigation system is set up correctly and is in good working order before the heat of summer rolls in.
Spring Garden Pruning
- It’s not too late to prune back spring-flowering shrubs. They will set their buds for next year’s blooms by midsummer, so get it done in early May if you haven’t done so already.
- Prune your tomato plants to push more energy into the plant’s central stalk and fruiting.
- It’s a good time to thin fruit trees, so that set fruits are a minimum of six inches apart.
- Prune back any overgrown shrubs.
- It’s also an excellent time to prune back any annual plants to keep them in check. This will keep them from becoming leggy and force them to branch out into fuller plants.
- Cut back the withered foliage of spring-flowering bulbs. If they need to be divided, you can do so now.
Dump Standing Water
Mosquitoes can reproduce like wildfire in even the tiniest bit of standing water. Patrol your yard and garden and dump out standing water from catch basins under containers, low spots in the garden where water pools, stagnant birdbaths, and any other water catcher.
Take Care of the Wildlife in Your Yard
Don’t forget about the wildlife throughout May. One of the most enjoyable parts of spring for many gardeners is watching the birds darting around and hearing their sweet songs. Inviting native birds to your backyard helps create a wildlife habitat and significantly helps control the insect population, protecting your plants.
- Fill up some bird feeders or hang some suet and watch the array of birds that flock to the feast.
- Add a hummingbird feeder!
- Plant perennials like salvia, bee balm, rudbeckia, Shasta daisies, and other flowering favorites of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
- Do a thorough cleaning of bird feeders and birdbaths.
- Fill birdbaths with clean water.
- Add a birdhouse or two to help provide a safe new home for nesting.
- Plant some sunflower seeds so that the birds can enjoy the seeds in late summer.
Outdoor Planting in Zones 9-10
Continue sowing seeds outdoors for succession planting. All seeds and transplants can be placed outdoors at this time. Let the growing commence!
Harvesting in the May Garden
The time has come for you to reap the rewards of your hard work. It’s harvest time for many of your beloved vegetables. Remember to pick produce often so that the plants will keep producing for an extended period of time.
Here are some of the mouth watering veggies that you can bring from harvest to table this month: