In May gardening begins
in earnest. April weather is too uncertain for
many vegetables to be planted in the open and
even early May cannot be trusted far. By the end
of the month, however, practically the first planting
of everything we wish to include in our program
is in the ground.
Tomato plants must be guarded
carefully against frost, at least until after
the middle of May. If there is the slightest indication
of an impending frost they should be covered.
Quart berry bones make ideal coverings
if the plants are not too large, and they also
are convenient to put on and take off. A good
rule for the gardener to follow is to set out
just a few tomato plants early, that their care
may not be a burden, reserving the majority of
them to be put out after the middle of the month.
Cold, wet weather is detrimental
to eggplant, as it is strictly a hot-weather vegetable.
It should not be transplanted in the garden until
danger of frost is past.
Beans are also very sensitive
to cold, but it is necessary to get them in the
ground as soon as possible, especially certain
varieties that is slow to mature. The lima bean
is in this latter class, while the bush snap bean
comes to maturity in a few weeks. It is wise to
plant beans sparingly until there is little danger
of their getting frosted.
Peppers, pimentoes, and cucumbers
are also very susceptible to frost, as also are
melons and squashes.
On the other hand, beets, carrots,
parsnips, onions, cabbage, and broccoli are quite
hardy, and should be in the ground by early May.
By this time the second plantings
of peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and onions,
should be in progress, repeating as often as desired,
at least until July, or as long as garden apace
There are many varieties of very
fine squashes, and where space permits it is well
to raise at least three of them. The crooked neck
summer squash, scorned by many, is delicious if
properly prepared. They must be taken from the
vines while the outer shell and the seeds are
very tender; otherwise they are not good. After
cutting them into quarter-inch thick slices, skin,
seeds, and all, and dipping them in batter or
dusting them with flour and frying until tender,
they taste very much like eggplant, and are not
nearly so hard to raise. For winter use the little
acorn squash is ideal, and there are many ways
they may be prepared. One especially good method
of preparing them is to remove the seeds through
a small opening in the side, stuff them with sausage,
replace the cap, and bake. These are for individual
servings, as the squashes naturally are quite
small. The larger winter squashes such as the
Green Mountain, Hubbard, and banana, are also
After middle May the sweet potato
plants are in line for setting out. A well-fertilized
soil is advocated. Applying the manure in a row
and ridging the earth up over it, is a satisfactory
method. Sweet potatoes are better in every way
when planted on a ridge of soil than when set
out on level ground. The plants need plenty of
moisture until they are well started, after which
they thrive best if hot, dry weather prevails.
Weeding is all the cultivating the ridge-planted
Where space permits potatoes
and sweet corn should be included in the planting
program. Potatoes may be planted from the first
of May until July with good results. Sweet corn
planted at intervals during that time also insures
the gardener that popular item on the menu over
a long period.
Broccoli is a vegetable fast
gaining popularity, and it is easily grown. The
young plants greatly resemble cabbage plants and
are easily confused with them. Broccoli may be
set out anytime during May, but the early part
of the month is preferable. It will bear until
cold weather if it is not allowed to go to seed.
Celery is easily grown, contrary
to the belief of many. Early May should find the
first plants in the ground. Celery thrives best
with plenty of moisture, although after the plants
are well started they will grow fairly well otherwise.
Celery intended for winter storage is not set
out until the middle of June. That will give plenty
of time for thrifty stocks to develop. Celery
must be cultivated well, keeping it free of weeds.
Do not hill it in its early stages, but when about
half grown begin to hill gradually, being careful
not to pull the earth between the stocks of the
A few turnip seeds sown now for
Summer and Fall, reserving for a larger planting
in late July for winter storage, is a good rule
Seed stalks are now forming on
the rhubarb. The rapidity with which they grow
is nothing short of magic, and they must be pulled
out as fast as they appear if it is desired to
continue the satisfactory growth of the plants.
Otherwise the plant diverts its strength toward
developing its seeds.
A “melon patch,” although it
may be on a small scale, is an interesting garden
venture. Melons thrive in sandy soil, but may
be grown without it. A shovelful of well-rotted
cow manure mined well into the soil of each hill
accelerates the growth of the plant and increases
the number of melons. In a small space, muskmelons
are preferable, as they do not “run” over so much
territory as watermelons.
Care should be taken to separate
as widely as possible, melons, squashes, pumpkins,
cucumbers, and others of that family, as any one
grown near the other may ruin both as to flavor.
Different varieties of squash, for instance, may
be grown together without great harm, although
seeds from them may not be satisfactory for planting
Perhaps the most important garden
work for the growing months ahead is weeding and
cultivating. A neglected garden is a sorry sight
and a poor producer. Weeds, if not curbed, take
the strength from the ground, growing out of all
proportions compared to the vegetable growth and
choking them out altogether. Hoeing the moist
earth around the plants serves almost the same
purpose as a shower, and for the time at least;
it kills or is a setback to the weed growth.