• Transfer warm season vegetable seedlings (tomatoes, peppers & eggplant) to the cold frame to harden them up for planting. Be sure to raise the top during the day to keep temperatures down and check moisture needs often.
  • Make a succession planting of lettuce and chard early in the month.
  • Keep planting cold tolerant vegetables, such as beets, radishes and onions.
  • Continue planting hardened cool season transplants (rutabagas, collards, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, turnip, broccoli). Be prepared to protect from killing frosts.
  • If you’re interested in growing sweet potatoes, use black plastic mulch to speed growth and try vineless varieties such as Puerto Rico and Vardaman.
  • Wrap leftover garden seeds in a tissue and secure with a rubber band. Place in an air tight container with two Tbsp powdered milk and store in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator.
  • Plant at least four rows of corn with four corn seeds at the end of each row for best pollination.
  • To increase vegetable pollination, plant carnations or Sweet William in garden to attract bees.


  • Widen narrow crotch angles on fruit trees by tying bags containing a handful or two of sand to vertical branches.
  • To prevent mower injury to fruit trees clear grass in a 3-foot diameter circle around each trunk. This also eliminates lawn competition and is especially helpful the first 3-5 years after planting.
  • Remove suckers and water sprouts as soon as they appear.
  • Plant new strawberry beds if you didn’t get to it last month. Remove blossoms on newly planted strawberries, mulch with straw.
  • If you had scab on apples last year, begin spraying with fungicides (such as benomyl, captan, or maneb) at bloom stage. Spray every 7-14 days during cool wet weather.
  • When ¾ of the blossoms drop, (or all blossoms drop if bees are still around) start spraying for codling moth and other insect pests. Continue spraying at least a minimum of six sprays at 7-10 day intervals, or up to two weeks before harvest for the most pest free apples. Renew spray applications washed off by rain or irrigation.


  • Spray hackberry trees in early May, with Orthene to prevent Nipple Galls.
  • One of the most evasive of insects is the scale insect. Oyster shell scale, abundant on shrubby dogwoods, aspen, lilacs and euonymus, is best controlled during the “crawler stage”, from early May to mid June. Malathion or Diazinon can be used in sprays about 10 days apart.


  • If crabgrass wasn’t controlled with pre-emergence, use post emergence crabgrass controls such as Ortho’s Crabgrass Killer, Crabgrass & Nutgrass Killer or other products labeled for crabgrass control.
  • For perennial grass weed control, spot treatments with products such as Roundup are needed. Spray only grass weed as these kill anything they touch.
  • General lawn fertilizer recommendations: 6-7 lbs. of 24-4-4 per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Extension Horticulture Specialist Bob Gough, recommends fertilizing around these holidays: Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day.
  • Irrigate 1” – 1 ½” at a time to deep water. Check for soil dryness 4 inches deep to determine next irrigation.
  • Mow grass to a height of 2” to shade out weeds and grow a dense lawn. Mow before grass gets too tall, (about 3 inches), to remove no more than 1/3 of the lawns total length.
  • To control dandelions, wait till you see bright yellow blooms. Apply herbicides such as Ortho’s Weed-B-Gone after lawn has been irrigated, don’t water for 48 hours afterwards.


  • Harden up flower transplants the first of May for planting the 15th.
  • Pinch tips of leggy annuals to induce bushiness before planting.
  • Divide and plant cannas the first of the month, if not done previously.
  • Divide mums and other perennials in early May before growth is too far advanced.
  • Stake delphiniums and tall perennials before heavy flower heads weigh the stems down.
  • To get the biggest peony flowers, pinch all but the central bud from peony stalks.
  • Pansies will bloom longer if you cut the faded flowers often and head back straggling stems.


  • Move Norfolk Island pine to a north facing window. It prefers bright but indirect light. Dry air and temperatures more than 75 will cause the lower leaves to turn brown.
  • Repot poinsettias from last Christmas, into a slightly smaller pot. Loosen the root ball and place in a rich, coarse, rapid draining soil. Cut the stems back to within 4-6 inches of the soil to promote vigorous shoots for best coloring in the “flower” bracts.