By May, most of us in the south have our gardens off to a good start, with seeds sprouting and seedlings showing some stage of growth. Southern gardening in May is a mix of watching, watering and gauging how much rain we’ve gotten. We may side dress some crops with compost or use another means of fertilization for our young growing plants if we’ve not already done so.
We should also keep an eye out for pests this time of year, both insect pests and wildlife pests. Those newly born wildlife babies are starting to get around and learn what’s good to munch on. They’ll be particularly interested in ground crops of leafy greens that are still growing. Plant garlic and onions on the outside of the bed to deter them and use a hot pepper spray to discourage their taste tests.
What to Plant in May?
While we’ve got a good start on much of our southeast gardens, there’s more that it’s just now time to get in the ground in many areas of the south. Our regional planting calendar indicates starting some crops from seeds. These include:
May Planting in the South
This is an appropriate time to finish out the herb garden with more Rosemary, different types of basil, and those that double as medicinal specimens. Echinacea, borage, and sage with a background of Calendula are outstanding in a xeriscape garden.
More varieties are available if you grow them from seed. Keep in mind the pest control assistance offered by many herbs and plant them on the perimeters of your vegetable gardens.
Its also a good time to put in annual flowers with heat-loving blooms. Fill in those bare spots in beds and borders with wax begonia, salvia, coleus, torenia, and ornamental pepper. Many of these grow well from seeds, but you’ll have flowers sooner if you buy young plants at the nursery.
If you have a butterfly or pollinator garden growing, or wish to add one include Yarrow, chives and fennel. Marigolds and Lantana are delightful as they attract butterflies and other pollinators. Add four-o’clocks and other evening blooming plants to entice pollinators that fly at night.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.