Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Garden Chores ..

May 1 was Beltane, the Celtic celebration of the mid-point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice and the beginning of the summer season. Using my "Five Season Garden Planner" it is the start of my early summer planting of the vegetables that need warm soil and longer days to germinate and thrive.

Seed Starting
It's time to start summer and winter squash, pumpkins and cucumbers that will be transplanted to the garden the first week of June.  In a normal year it would be time to be direct sowing pole and bush beans, but because this has been such a cold spring, I have started my beans in the potting shed under lights.  I have also started a dozen corn plants; I'm going to try "Three Sisters" plantings in two of my half wine barrels out in The Garden.  It is also time to start leeks that will be planted in July for Autumn harvest.  The first week of May is also a good time time look at your seed inventory and order any that you will need for mid-Summer and Autumn planting.

Direct Sowing
Carrots and beets can be direct sown (I really recommend using seed mats as demonstrated  here by Annie's Granny) the first week of May.  That is a second crop of  carrots in The Farm as I "pushed" the season with "The Great Carrot Caper" experiment.  Remember those tiny little carrot starts I planted on March 15?

Well, here they are today :)  I'll have to wait until I harvest the carrots before I call the experiment a success, but it's sure looking good (wish I had done the same thing with my early beet crop!)

Under normal conditions bush and pole beans could be direct sown now, but with this cold weather we are having I am starting mine under lights with a germination heating mat.

With our continued cool spring a second crop of brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.) could be direct sown now.  The ones I started back in February and planted in March under cover are looking pretty good ...

Tomato and basil starts can be transplanted to raised beds under cover now.

Lawns are starting to need mowing now (if you haven't ripped them all out for edibles!  We keep a small patch of lawn for our dogs to enjoy).  Hopefully you are composting all those lawn clippings, as well as any portions or your harvests that don't go into a meal.

Carly, Taffy and I take time every day to do a "walkabout".  We tour and enjoy the garden (the dogs are mainly on the lookout for squirrels that could be chased :)  I look for spots that need a little work and think about next year; should I try a different variety?  Plant in a different place?  Please make sure that you take the time to ...



  1. That made me want to go throw rope lights all over my garden! My tiny carrots (from seed mats) germinated beautifully, but are just now beginning to get their very first set of true leaves. Everything in your garden is looking just great!

    We haven't had to use a bit of fertilizer or compost on our lawn since we began mulching the grass clippings and leaving them on the lawn (going into our third year). It does take more frequent mowing though, or else I have to go out and run a rake through the clumps of grass.

  2. Carol, I think it was the combination of the rope lights and germinating them in soil blocks ... putting the germination warming mat over the second batch of carrots worked, too ... they came up pretty fast ...

  3. Amazing garden so far. Much better broccoli than my slug riddled starts. Hopefully I get more out soon if they survive my forgetting to water them.