Good morning Portland gardeners!
Happy May Day and the beginning of the Beltane season! Gardens are bursting with spring color and everywhere you look there is new growth springing up. In the edible garden we have been planting cool season veggies, small fruit, and fruit trees since March. Hopefully you headed my earlier warnings about planting heat loving summer veggies too early in your garden. The entire group of summer veggies requires night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees and soil temperature to have warmed to 90 degrees. April was too early for planting tomatoes. Planting too early results in stressed, stunted, and dying plants. I know, I know, you've heard me say it a hundred times this spring!
Here is the good news. I think you are safe to plant the heat-loving summer veggies and herbs now. The forecast looks good for night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees. However, my disclaimer is tonight and tomorrow night look to be a little cooler down to 49 degrees. So either wait to plant until Tuesday or plant today and provide some nighttime protection like a frost blanket for these two cooler nights.
Great news, right? I know you have been dying to get those tomatoes and basil planted!!
I would continue to plant most of the cool season veggies through mid May and then lay off until late summer planting for a winter harvest. Spring planted peas like cooler weather and wither in the warm summer temperatures, so I wouldn't plant them anymore. Likewise cool-season crops like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and lettuce tend to bolt in the hot summer weather so make sure you are planting summer varieties that are more heat resistant. The window for planting asparagus and garlic is over.
Here's what to plant in May:
Beans-runner, bush, pole
Brussels sprouts-for a winter harvest
All types of annual and perennial herbs can be planted in May. You can also continue planting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and fruit trees in May.
It is helpful to plant veggie starts on cloudy and cooler days than on sunny hot days. Keep your veggie starts well watered until they are established. If planting seeds remember to keep the seed bed evenly moist for best germination. This can sometimes mean a daily light watering.
Prepare your planting bed with a good dose of organic granular fertilizer and some fresh compost. Apply organic slug bait "sluggo" to your new veggie garden to prevent slug attack of all your new seedlings.
Happy May and happy gardening!