According to the OSU Corn Report (yes, this is a real thing for farmers), the beginning of May 2017 will be wetter and warmer than our historical pattern. Lots of rain is great for the plants and water tables but for gardeners eager to get outside? Not so much! However, it’s important to STAY OFF WET VEG and FLOWER BEDS to avoid soil compaction, one of the worst things you can do to your garden. However, this may be the perfect time to install permanent paths and/or stepping stones so you can eliminate this issue in the future.
There’s still time to direct-seed the last of the cool-season edible plants like lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard, plus root crops like beets, carrots, turnips, and green onions. You want to get these seeds into the ground and germinating by mid-May so they have time to mature – and be harvested – before the heat of summer hits.
Wait a few more weeks before installing your warm-season edible plants like tomatoes, peppers, and squash. They can be stunted by our recent cool weather, so try to be patient! However, as long as the soil is dry enough to dig, it’s OK to install new cold-hardy trees and shrubs.
Lawn issues: If you have bare patches in your yard that you want to over-seed or re-sod, NOW is the time to get it done. You want the new turf roots well-established to withstand the hot days of July and August. NOTE: The best time to renovate a lawn in Central Ohio is during fall (September-October). And if you haven’t aerated your lawn in a few years, spring and fall are both good times to do this. Give Jon Arnholt at Quality Aeration a call for fast and professional service: (614) 374-3829.
Get the last of your perennial plants divided and replanted before the end of May: Echinacea, black-eyed Susans, bee balm, daylilies, sedums, and ornamental grasses (among many others) can all benefit from occasional division. Pro tip – dig your destination hole before you uproot the existing plant! Fill the hole with water and allow to drain before moving the new division – now the water will be right at root level to help minimize transplant shock.
Prune back your early spring-blooming shrubs like forsythia, quince, redtwig/yellowtwig dogwoods, and lilacs. Since these shrubs form next year’s flower buds this summer, doing your pruning now will ensure an abundance of bloom next spring. Complete your pruning of early spring-bloomers within 2-4 weeks of when they finish flowering.