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What To Plant In May

Greeting Portland gardening friends,


Happy May Day! Happy Beltane! Happy Spring!


The daffodils and tulips that harkened the end of dreary cold winter are completing their cheery early blooming. The ornamental cherry and pear trees have given way to flowering dogwood in delightful shades of bright pink and creamy white. Lilac, wisteria, bleeding heart, rhododendron, and azalea flowers have arrived in their dazzling annual show. Trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, and perennials have all burst into lush shades of green.


Spring predictably and reliably arrives every year, and yet we are so thrilled and relieved when it is finally here. The Celtic season of Beltane arrives on May 1stand celebrates fertility and growth exploding all around us in the natural world. The word Beltane comes from old Gaelic and means “blazing fire” and Beltane is a fire festival.


For May Day children gave baskets of flowers to family, neighbors, and friends. All danced around the maypole. The maypole tradition is comes from the ancient Welsh. The seasonal holiday Beltane still has relevance to us in modern times. It is an excellent opportunity to take some time strolling in nature, get off the concrete and onto dirt or grass. Observe the spring unfolding all around us.


Bring some fragrant lilacs, tulips, or iris into your home or office. Visit a seasonal festival or botanical garden. In the Portland metro area we are close to The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Hulda Klager Lilac Garden, and Adelman Peony Farm. Clean out your pantry and donate to the local food bank. Light a candle and thank Mother Nature for her brightness and bounty during the return of spring.


Most years in May I am harvesting from my edible garden March planted vegetables. Due to our sudden move the first week in February we were a little later than usual with our planting. In mid-April we planted potatoes, 2 types of lettuce, 2 types of kale, collards, swiss chard, Florence fennel, scallions, sugar snap peas, meslun mix, mache/corn salad, dill, chamomile, chives, marjoram, cilantro, sage, and thyme. The butterhead lettuce and dill are about harvestable. It will be a wait for the rest.


Though we will most likely not see a frost during the month of May that does not mean it is time to plant all of your vegetable crops. Through May we continue to plant cool season vegetable crops.


Once night temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees, usually between May 15 and June 1st, then we can finally plant warm season crops. Remember, you do not get a jump start by planting warm season crops too early!!



PLANT THESE COOL SEASON CROPS THROUGHOUT MAY:

Artichokes-starts

Asian Greens-seeds

Beets-seeds

Broccoli & Broccoli Raab-starts

Brussels Sprouts (for fall harvest)-starts

Cauliflower-starts

Cabbage-starts

Carrots-seeds

Celery-starts

Celeriac/Celery Root (for fall harvest)-seeds

Collards-seeds or starts

Florence Fennel-seeds or starts

Garlic-starts

Kale-seeds or starts

Kohlrabi-seeds or starts

Leeks-starts

Lettuce-seeds or starts

Mustard Greens-seeds or starts

Parsnips (for fall harvest)-seeds

Peas-starts

Potatoes-certified seed potato tubers

Radishes-seeds

Rutabaga (for fall harvest)-seeds

Scallions-seeds or starts

Salad Greens: arugula, cress, endive, mache radicchio-direct seed

Spinach-seeds or starts

Swiss Chard-seeds or starts

Turnip-seeds


PLANT THESE WARM SEASON CROPS AFTER MAY 15TH:

Basil

Beans-seeds

Corn-seeds or starts

Cucumbers-starts

Eggplant-starts

Ground Cherries-starts

Melons-starts

Peppers-starts

Pumpkins-seeds or starts

Summer Squash-seeds or starts

Sweet Potatoes-starts that are called slips

Tomatoes-starts

Tomatillos-starts

Winter Squash-seeds or starts

Zucchini-seeds or starts


Even though it is still too early to plant tomatoes, I mark their space in the garden with tomato cages. That way I don't get too overzealous planting cool season crops and don't save any space for warm season crops with later planting dates. I keep all of my unplanted raised bed soil covered with a frost blanket or cardboard to keep out the critters.


Be sure to tuck in several annual flowers in your edible garden. They help attract beneficial bugs. Some of my favorites: alyssum, calendula, cleome, cosmos, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, snapdragons, sunflower, zinnia. May is the ideal month for finding the best selection of annual bedding flowers.


Happy May and Happy Gardening,

Jolie



End of May Garden bursting with companion flowers, potatoes, tomatoes, and basil

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