May Garden Calendar
Cleanup and prep: Dig, fertilize and mulch
• Dig new beds and borders as long as the soil isn't too wet; you can ruin the texture of the soil by creating muddy clumps and clods. If the soil is moist enough for you to form a ball in your hand, it's probably too wet for digging. If your soil isn't very good (too much clay or sand, for instance), create raised beds that you can fill with commercial topsoil. They're the smartest solution to problem soil.
• Apply a preemergent weed killer, such as Preen, to your flowerbeds and borders when the bright yellow forsythia bush is blooming. This prevents seeds from germinating and dramatically cuts down on weeding chores later in the season.
• Fertilize containers regularly. All that watering flushes out many nutrients. For best results, use a special bloom-boosting fertilizer on flowering plants.
• Mulch with wood chips and other weed-suppressing materials this month in the southern Midwest, now that the soil has warmed. Wait until June in the northern Midwest.
• Don't cut off the browning foliage of spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, just yet. They need to "ripen" on the plant and replenish the bulb for next year. Remove the foliage once it pulls away with very little resistance.