It’s here, the summer slump… technically it’s here anyway. There may be a slump in what you can plant for the next few months, but there is absolutely no slump in what needs to be done in the garden.
Lots of other things are happening in the garden(s) too. Lots of harvesting going on, egg laying by garden friendly creatures: lizards, birds, toads – usually the toads start singing after the first rain in May… this year they started singing mid April.
The heat and humidity starting in May is going to put a real damper on the garden. It will be interfering with pollen viability which will lower production, and it creates an environment that bugs and disease totally love.
It is best if you do not work in your garden when it is wet because the chances of spreading disease goes waaaaaay up.
Be on the lookout for fungus… particularly powdery mildew!
Here’s the skimpy planting prospects for May (and June and July!)
COOL WEATHER PLANTS
WARM WEATHER PLANTS
- Southern peas (includes black-eyed, yard long, crowder…)
- Sweet potatoes
- Malabar and New Zealand spinach (not really spinach but a good substitute)
- Maybe squash
- Maybe watermelon
- Maybe mustard and turnip (for the greens) – After you pick them they will need to spend some time in the refrigerator or freezer to give them some sweetness and good flavor
- Don’t work in the heat of the day – do it early or do it late. You can even do it at night if you can rig up some lighting in your garden.
- The high humidity is dangerous for you too because your body can’t use sweat evaporation to keep you cool.
- If parts of your garden are in shade part of the day, work in the shaded areas and then move with the shade (for example, my whole garden is in shade in the early morning. Sun first appears at the west side then moves across the garden to the east side. So, I start my gardening on the west side and then as the sun creeps in, I retreat bit by bit to the east and stay in the shade.
- Stay hydrated – big glass of ice water or sweet ice tea works well, or even lemonade.
- Wear a hat (some sun is very very good – vitamin D3 production – but too much should be avoided).
- Use some bug repellant (something natural like citronella – get a little bottle of citronella essential oil from a health food store, put a couple of drops on the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then rub your hands all over the exposed parts of your body – ankles, arms, neck, face, hair… works for me).
- Take breaks.
- Get a hammock.