It’s here...the summer slump. Well, technically it's still spring but the heat is on. Lizards, birds, toads, butterflies are laying their eggs and the toads start singing after the first rains. Flowering trees and vines are really showing off now, and the summer crop of mangos have set.
The heat and humidity that comes this month is going to put a real damper on the garden, interfering with pollen viability which will lower production, and it creates an environment that bugs and disease totally love. It is best if you do not work in your garden when it is wet because the chances of spreading disease goes way up. Be on the lookout for fungus… particularly powdery mildew!
May is also the month to consider heavy pruning of many plants including trees which may be a threat during the upcoming hurricane season. When fertilized and watered, if required, they will come back and produce dense, bushy growth during this month despite the pruning.
May is the month to begin planting trees, shrubs and vines. But wait until after the first rainy spell to plant so that the ground is thoroughly wet. Even then continue to water as needed in case the rains do not soak your area as expected. If you are still hoping to plant a traditional vegetable, herb or annual garden this month these are your best bets:
Vegetables: Calabaza, Chayote, Cherry Tomatos, Collards, Cowpeas, Dasheen, Lima Beans, Malabar Spinach, Malanga, Mustard, Papayas, Okra, Peanuts, Pumpkins, New Zealand Spinach, Snap Beans, Southern Peas, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Yams, and Yard-long Beans.
Herbs: Basil, Chives, Dill, Sage, Savory, Sweet Marjoram, Mint and Thyme.
Flowers: Balsam, Begonias, Blue Daze, Celosia, Coleus, Cosmos, Cockscomb, Four-o'clocks, Gaillardia, Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena, Hollyhocks, Impatiens, Marigolds, Melapodium, Moon Vine, Morning Glories, Periwinkles, Petunias, Portulaca, Purslane, Salvia, Sunflowers, Torenia and Zinnias.
Bulbs: Achimenes, Agapanthus, Blood Lilies, Caladiums, Canna, Crinums, Daylilies, Gladioli, Gloriosa Lilies and Spider Lilies, and Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies).