May Garden Calendar

May Garden Calendar

Posted by: Sierra Troitsky on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:00:00 am

Spring has sprung in central Indiana and it’s time to think about your garden and the exterior of your home. Aside from cleaning your house siding and gutters, spring also means prepping your garden beds and adding plants to your garden. Here are a few garden related to-dos to add to you list before race day:

Cleanup and Prep: Dig, Fertilize, and Mulch

  • Dig new beds and borders if the soil isn't too wet; you can ruin the texture of the soil by creating muddy clumps and clods. If the soil is moist enough for you to form a ball in your hand, it's probably too wet for digging. If your soil isn't very good (too much clay or sand, for instance), create raised beds that you can fill with commercial topsoil. They're the smartest solution to problem soil.
  • Apply a pre-emergent weed killer, such as Preen, to your flowerbeds and borders. This prevents seeds from germinating and dramatically cuts down on weeding chores later in the season.
  • Fertilize containers regularly. All that watering flushes out many nutrients. For best results, use a special bloom-boosting fertilizer on flowering plants.
  • Mulch with wood chips and other weed-suppressing materials this month in the southern Midwest, now that the soil has warmed.
  • Don't cut off the browning foliage of spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, just yet. They need to "ripen" on the plant and replenish the bulb for next year. Remove the foliage once it pulls away with very little resistance.


  • Plant any perennials in your gardens now. Plant warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, after your region's last average frost date. That's late April to May in the southern Midwest and around the middle of the month in the northern Midwest. You'll have your favorites, of course, but try something new this year, too.
  • Plant summer-blooming corms and tubers such as gladiolus corms, canna rhizomes, tuberous begonias and other summer bulbs.
  • Plant or transplant perennial edibles now, including strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and asparagus.
  • Continue to plant trees, shrubs and roses. But don't plant bare-root types after the middle to end of the month, except in the northern part of Zone 4. They need cool, wet weather to take off.
  • Divide and transplant most summer- and fall-blooming perennials now. They'll have plenty of time to get established by bloom time. Wait to divide spring bloomers until fall.

Lawn Care

  • Fertilize and apply a broadleaf fertilizer, which kills dandelions and other non-grass like weeds.
  • Consider aerating your lawn. For most lawns, it's helpful to do this every two or three years, depending on your foot traffic, soil and grass type.

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