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May in the Mid-atlantic Garden

Updated on July 31, 2016
Hostas and blue beauty berry bushes compete for attention in my garden.
Hostas and blue beauty berry bushes compete for attention in my garden.

What to Do in May in the Mid-Atlantic Garden

Here on the Delmarva peninsula, where I have been gardening for over 20 years, the weather is mild, and we enjoy a beautiful soil in which it is easy to grow almost anything. As a Master Gardener, and having been a garden writer for nearly 20 years, gardening is my passion, and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thinking about my garden borders, reading about new plant introductions, or gazing out the window admiring my work. Gardening keeps you young in mind and body. Get out there and dig!

Iris Border
Iris Border | Source
My shade garden
My shade garden | Source

Your To-Do List For May

  • Transplant - After around May 15th, the last frost date in this zone, go ahead and transplant those vegetable and perennial seedlings you've been nursing on the windowsill since February.
  • Water, water, water - do not allow anything you have transplanted dry out.
  • Plant zucchini and yellow squashes now - Mount up the garden soil, push 3 seeds in the middle, and water in.
  • If your peas are sprawling, stake them with "pea brush" twigs stuck into the ground to keep the peas up and out of the soil.
  • Sweet potatoes are easy to grow - they enjoy sandy soil and lots of room.
  • Apply slow release fertilizer just once - Otherwise, use Miracle Grow Plant Food per their instructions.
  • Divide German and other iris after blooming - Look for 3 fans and separate with a knife. Plant in full sun and keep watered until roots are established.
  • Keep the hummingbird feeder or feeders full of sugar water - Our hummers arrive in late April and they head straight for our feeders. There is no need to purchase special food. My hummingbird feeder recipe is simply half sugar and half water. Some people recommend a 40% sugar to 60% water in Summer, then boost it back up for them before they return with the 50/50 recipe.
  • Compost, compost, compost - Weeds are Nature's fertilizer! Don't bag up those grass clippings and put them on the curb. Pile them up behind the hedge, water them down, give them a toss occasionally and the result is rich humus.
  • Share - your offspring of seedlings from violets, columbine, foxglove, hosta and other perennials that self-seed with your friends and family.


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    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Thank you! Yes, Nell, they will go to the feeder in lieu of a flower because they can get the sugar (nectar) from the water. I've never heard of a goldcrest bird, I guess because it is a European bird. I love tiny birds, used to keep a finch in a cage.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, great information, I never knew that you had to put sugar in the water for the hummingbirds, it sounds as though you love your garden, I have a balcony and I do try to get as many plants out as I can, there are birds all over my bird table, including goldcrest birds, tiny little things, a lovely hub, cheers nell