May Gardening Tasks – Things To Do In California Gardens

Californian Gardener Digging In The Garden
(Image credit: SbytovaMN)

In California, the month of May is particularly lovely, but the garden to do list can be long. Exactly what to expect in terms of weather depends on where you live, since the temperatures between northern and southern California are notable. If you are interested in figuring out May gardening tasks for California gardens, read on.

May in California

In California, the merry month of May is usually sunny and dry. In the northern half of the state, the average temperatures range from 51 to 64 degrees F (10-18 C.), while average southern high temperatures get to 10 degrees warmer.

May tasks for California gardens include a lot of planting opportunities. No matter where you live in the state, May in California is a great time to plant warm-season vegetables like beans, melons and squash. In fact, you can plant most summer vegetables now, including crops in the nightshade family like tomatoes and peppers. 

Garden To Do List

But planting seeds and veggie starts aren’t the only May gardening tasks in California. There are more mundane jobs too. You’ll find that weeds and pests are already in the garden and you should start acting now to manage them. 

Staying on top of weeds means weeding a little every day or every other day. Be sure you pull them out by the root to prevent further growth. In terms of pests, roses are the first place to look. Check for fungal problems as well as insect pests and treat these issues as necessary.

Other Tasks for California Gardens

Although May is dry, the remainder of the summer may be even drier. That means that it is a great idea to put “check irrigation system” on your garden to do list this month. If you have an automatic irrigation system, check it and make sure it is working. If you don’t, consider installing one. Drip systems require less water and deliver the water where it is needed most.

May is also the time to plant or maintain flowers. It’s the moment to fertilize your rose bushes and also plant other warm-weather flowers. Any summer annuals can get seeded now. 

You’ll also want to mark the places of your spring bulbs to make sure you don’t lose them once the foliage fades. Mark their location with large labels to make sure you don’t damage them accidently. That also makes it easier to find them in case you want to divide them in the fall.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.