Regional Garden Calendar – May Gardening Tasks For Ohio

Lawn Mower Cutting Green Grass

This month marks the heart of the Ohio gardening season. The temperatures are rising, the ground is drying and May gardening tasks are abundant. With so much work at hand, making a gardening to-do list keeps us on track and focused. Peruse this list for this month's gardening tasks for Ohio residents.

May Gardening To-Do List


Mowing is one of the weekly gardening tasks for Ohio homeowners this month. Control your carbon footprint by composting or recycling those grass clippings

  • Apply a fertilizer/herbicide combo to the lawn. 
  • Fill in and reseed low spots in the yard.
  • Use grass clippings for inexpensive veggie plant mulch.


As the Ohio gardening season gets underway, May is the perfect time to add color and texture to the landscaping. Choose a variety of annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs and shade trees.

  • Weed and mulch flowerbeds.
  • Plant annual flowers.
  • Pick a bouquet of spring flowers for a loved one.
  • Deadhead spring-flower bulbs.
  • Plant Gladiolus corms and dahlias.
  • Pinch fall blooming flowers, like mums and asters, for bushier plants.
  • Trim and fertilize rose bushes.
  • Plant ground cover plants like creeping thyme or wishbone flowers.
  • Fertilize perennial flowers


Veggie gardening in May continues with more succession planting of cool-season crops. By month's end, frost-free weather makes it safe to transplant tender vegetable seedlings and sow basil seeds.

  • Add compost and till the garden.
  • Cover raised beds with black plastic to kill weeds and warm the soil.
  • Purchase and plant bare-rooted strawberries.
  • Start cucumber, melon, pumpkin, squash and zucchini seeds indoors.
  • Harvest rhubarb, asparagus and early crops of lettuce, radishes, peas and green onions.
  • Continue succession planting lettuce, radishes, onions, spinach, carrots, peas and beets.
  • Thin previously sown lettuce, radish, spinach, carrot and beet seedlings.
  • Set garden trellises for pole beans, cucumbers and sweet potatoes
  • Plant beans, corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes in the garden.
  • Plant a container garden. Move it inside when frost threatens.
  • Mid-month: Harden off tomato, pepper, okra and eggplant seedlings
  • End of month: Transplant tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant in the garden


May gardening tasks include prepping indoor and outdoor living spaces for the upcoming summer season. Open the windows, hose off the patio and enjoy the pleasant weather before the heat and humidity arrive. Here's a few more special tasks to add to your gardening to-do list:

  • Continually monitor the weather forecast for frost warnings and protect plants as needed.
  • Create a spiral topiary or try your hand at making an espalier.
  • Turn the compost pile.
  • Weed and mulch around trees and shrubs. Remove suckers.
  • Clear the gutters of maple seeds and debris.
  • Pull the patio furniture from storage and replace worn cushions.
  • Put up a gazebo or screen house.
  • Check the gas grill. Replace broken parts and purchase a spare propane tank.
Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.