The Vegetable Garden

Zones 7-8 Garden Calendar and Monthly Garden Tips - May - Jul

May

  • Make third plantings of vegetables mentioned for April (snap beans, corn, squash, lima beans).
  • Control grass and weeds; they compete for moisture and fertilizer.
  • Locate mulching materials for such crops as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Irish potatoes, okra and lima beans. Apply before dry spells occur but after plants are well established (usually by blooming time).
  • Pole beans cling to the trellis or sticks more readily if attached by the time they start running.
  • Try a few tomato plants on stakes or trellises this year. Now is the time to start removing suckers and tying the plants up.

  • Watch out for the "10 most wanted culprits": Mexican bean beetle, Colorado potato beetle, bean leaf beetle, Harlequin cabbage bug, blister beetle, cabbage worm, tomato hornworm, tomato fruit worm (and corn earworm), cucumber beetle and squash bug. Early discovery makes possible early control.
  • Begin disease control measures as needed. Check with your county extension office for more information.
  • Water as needed.
  • Mulch as needed.
  • Keep a log book of problems and failures that occur so you can avoid or prevent them in the next planting season. Note successful techniques and varieties for consideration next season.
  • Make plans now for putting up some of your garden produce. Check with your county extension office for more information.

June

  • Harvest vegetables such as beans, peas, squash, cucumbers and okra regularly to prolong production and enjoy peak freshness.
  • Eat "high on the hog" this month and in July and preserve enough to last during the winter months ahead.
  • For best results, harvest onions and Irish potatoes when two-thirds of the tops have died down. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place and onions in a dry, airy place.
  • Clean off rows of early crops as soon as they are through bearing and use rows for replanting or keep them fallow for fall crops.
  • Water as needed.
  • Plant sweet potatoes and a second planting of Southern peas.

July

  • Start planning the fall garden.
  • Keep grass from going to seed. Fallow soil to conserve moisture for germination of fall crops and to help reduce the nematode population in the soil.
  • Clean off harvested rows immediately to prevent insect and disease buildup.
  • Plant the following vegetables not later than July 20 to allow time to mature before frost: tomatoes, okra, corn, pole beans and lima beans. Also plant cucumbers, squash and snap beans.
  • Water deeply and less often - as needed to prevent drought stress.
  • Plant that big pumpkin for Halloween.
  • Be sure to make arrangements for neighbors to harvest and water your garden while you are on vacation.
  • Make sure the garden is well mulched to prevent weeds and conserve moisture.