May is a time of transition in Southern gardens. It is a time to bid farewell to the well-picked kale that sustained through the winter, to dig up the last carrots and beets, and prepare your beds for warmer weather. This transition is a great opportunity to reshape and redesign your garden beds and plans for the summer. This is also a great time to enlist kids to have fun in the dirt, enhance your soil with compost, peat moss, and garden-friendly worms, and try planting some easy-to-grow plants like peas and flowers.
The next four weeks is a great time to purchase some transplants from a local or regional garden supply store. Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash are all great options to get into the ground in the weeks to come. Use the cooler mornings and nights to build some creative trellises or frames for more established summer plants and vines to climb. Break out of your plant comfort zone this season and consider a different variety of peppers or tomatoes to see how they compare to your tried-and-true favorites.
Make sure to get enough plants to fill your space, but don’t crowd them: Allowing 18 to 24 inches of space between them will promote better growth and fruit development. We all need enough room to stretch out.
Pro tip: The cutworm loves tender transplants and attacks by the dark of night. This spring, keep some diatomaceous earth on hand to sprinkle around the transplant stems. This organic solution will save young plants from these transplant lumberjacks.
Check out Mirisciotta’s tips for getting your garden started.