May Gardening Tasks

I have a new feature in our Monthly Email (You are on the monthly email list, aren’t you?). Monthly Gardening Tasks! Karen N. asked for it, and now you all get it. It’s for the Bay Area in particular; Northern California in general, and as far south as Southern California if you’re too lazy to look up your local gardening tips and tasks for spring. On the other hand, if you live in Minnesota or Albany, NY then you can take the task list with a grain of salt. Interestingly, we have a very similar climate to Rome, so if you live in Rome you can follow the list quite closely.


  • If you’ve already fed your bamboo early for spring, you can feed them again now and get a real boost of growth for summer. If you haven’t yet, then what are you waiting for?
  • I suspect you’ve already started your veggie gardens, since April is the top month for veggie gardening, but May brings a lot more varieties out so don’t forget to add more, spaced out through the next few months. Coming mid May – Melons! They don’t always work in the Bay Area because they need some heat, but we’re very hopeful this year. It’s warm enough to be planting Basil and the warmer climate Tomatoes. Corn! Beans, too.
  • If you have any of the Ice Plant type succulents in your garden and they’ve had their first blooms already then you should go ahead and dead-head them – which means trimming off the spent blooms – so they can rebloom later in the summer. Alternatively they have edible fruit so you can let them ripen too, however you won’t get more blooms if you do. You’ll have to watch for the ripe fruit because if you don’t pick them in time you’ll lose them to the birds. And finally, if you get them in time then you can make jam. That’s all they’re good for.
  • Olives! Now you really must fertilize your Olive trees, if you have fruiting Olive trees.
  • It’s time to start in on bloom food for plants that will bloom in July and August, so I would definitely get right onto your terrestrial orchids like the Epidendrons and the Cymbidiums. Cactus are mostly summer bloomers if they haven’t already budded out for spring, so bloom food for them now too. Lewisias, Dudleyas, Penstemons, Mimuluses….
  • As the cold nights turn warm, watch for caterpillars and aphids. Take care of them early.

On the other hand, the SF Chronicle also has a list of gardening tasks for May, and they tell you to:

– Weed.

– Continue to pursue slugs and snails.

That’s not as much fun.

  Cactus and Succulents
  Carnivorous Plants

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