May is really getting hot now, with temps already in the 100s. Shade your tomatoes so the fruit doesn’t burn. Remember that this is one of the driest months, so watering is going to be vital. Your vegetable garden should be watered to a depth of 1 foot each time you water. To check how deeply you water, run your irrigation for 15 minutes and leave it for 30 minutes. Come back and dig down with a trowel to see if the soil has been wet to 1 foot. If it hasn’t, run it for a bit longer until you reach that depth. Add up all the time it took to reach 1 foot and you will know how long to water each time. When the top 3 inches are dry, it’s time to water again. Everyone’s soil is different, so monitor your plants to see when they seem to need water. Many will wilt in the afternoon even if their water is sufficient. Wait to see if they perk up in the evening. If they don’t, then they need water.
Sow Flower Seeds
Balsam, Celosia, Cockscomb, Cosmos, Dahlia, Four O’clocks, Gaillardia, Gloriosa Daisy, Gourds, Hollyhocks, Kochia, Marigold, Portulaca, Salvia, Shasta Daisy, Sunflower, Thunbergia,Vinca, Zinnia
Sow Herb and Vegetable Seeds
Armenian Cucumber, Basil, Black eyed peas, Canteloupe, Eggplant, Hibiscus Sabdariffa, Jicama, Luffa, Melons, Okra, Peppers, Pumpkin, Summer Squash, Tomatillos, Winter Squash, Watermelons, Yardlong beans
Cantaloupe, Eggplant, Jerusalem Artichokes, Peppers, Pumpkins, , Sweet Potato Slips, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Watermelon
Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate):
This is a great boost for your garden! Broadcast 1 cup per 100 square feet for application to soil, or mix 1 Tablespoon to a gallon of water and spray directly on your plants. Tomatoes respond well to this. Epsom Salt is inexpensive. I get it at the 99 Cents Store.
Check your watering system to make sure that it is running correctly. Check all of your emitters to ensure that they aren’t missing or clogged.
I’m noticing spider mites and leafhoppers hanging around my garden. The first line of attack is to spray these buggers with the hose. Do it in the morning and in the evening. Sometimes that’s all you need. If that doesn’t work, you can make a spray with 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap to 1 quart of water. Don’t spray during the heat of the day, though. Try in the early morning or evening.
The most important thing you can do for your garden in the summer is to cover any bare ground with mulch. Think of it as sunblock for your garden. You can use wood chips, compost, straw, leaves, grass clippings, or any other organic material you have available to you. Make sure it is at least 4 inches deep. I even use it in my pots. Here are a few of the benefits:
- Reduces evaporation to help maintain moisture in the soil
- Shades the soil surface to cool it and make it a better environment for roots, worms, and other microorganisms
- Breaks down to add nutrients to the soil