It is time to plant! Frost is still a real threat so you will need to protect some tender plantings and new vegetables but most perennials purchased now will be hardened off and ready to go in the ground just as soon as you are willing to get out into the garden. Spring plantings will have a bit of time to root out and get established before the heat and stress of summer. If your soil is water-logged you can cover it with plastic or wait for a dry spell before digging but otherwise start getting those hardy plants in the ground.
Dig in mulch, cover crops and compost from the previous year (not bark). If you didn’t have a chance to get a layer delivered last Fall now is the time to add a nice rich compost or a little organic fertilizer to encourage all those beautiful plants popping up out of the ground.
The pests are coming out. Look for Slugs and cutworms they are voracious this time of year especially if you have tender new plantings like lettuce and other greens. (see our previous post of tips to deal with slugs). Aphids can be such a problem in the Summer – get them before they get your garden. Treat plants that were infested last year with dormant spray.
A tidy garden can be so satisfying! Cut back grasses but leave at least a few inches so as not to damage the plant. Trim off last years faded growth and clean up accumulated yard debris to reveal all that lovely new growth.
This is a great time to get in and make design changes in the garden before plants get to developed to disturb. Some, like iris and lily clumps get so crowded that they need a bit more legroom to bloom. Divide or thin perennials that are getting to large or transplant those that need a new spot.
Plant out hardy greens like arugula, chard, lettuce and salad greens as well as parsley broccoli and cauliflower. Root crops such as onions, potatoes, garlic, and shallots can go out now as well.
It’s not to late for peas but get them planted sooner rather than later or you will miss your window. Radishes, carrots, greens and cilantro can all be seeded outside now.
Start warm weather seeds indoors but check dates on seed packets and make a plan accordingly. We generally start our tomatoes, eggplants and peppers now as well as a second round of cole crops.
While you are waiting – get the veggie beds spruced up – repair damaged raised beds and add organic matter to build the soil. Some veggies are heavy feeders so rich healthy soil will make for a productive garden.
Take cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias or any interesting tender plants you want to use to fill baskets and containers for the summer patio.