May Garden Prep: By the time May rolls around Colorado gardeners in Zone 5b and 6a are eager for the last frost to pass and are ready to get going. While the Mile High growing season presents its challenges with unpredictable weather and a shorter growing window, with the right knowledge and strategies, you can cultivate a vibrant and flourishing garden. In this guide, we’ll explore some essential tips to help you make the most of your Zone 5b and 6a garden in May.

Frost can still be a concern, timing is crucial. Before planting tender annuals or vegetables, ensure all danger of frost has passed. Use local frost dates as a guide and be prepared to protect sensitive plants if unexpected cold snaps occur.

Harden Off Plants Started Indoors

Before transplanting seedlings outdoors, it may be necessary to harden them off gradually. This process involves exposing the young plants to outdoor conditions gradually, such as wind and sunlight, to acclimate them to their new environment. Start by placing seedlings outdoors for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time over a week or two. If you’ve already planted seedlings into your garden and have them covered, this is a good time to uncover them when the weather allows for it.

Plant Your Seedlings

If you didn’t start your seedlings indoors, you can always buy starter plants at your local nursery.  Buying plants like tomatoes, or peppers that are well established can be worth the money as they give you a jump start on our short growing season and a better chance of success if the weather fluctuates.  Avoid buying plants that are easily sowed directly into the soil like lettuce.  In my opinion, planting a lettuce plant that you bought at the store is a waste of money because it’s already too mature and will become straggly and likely start to bolt rather quickly.

Sow Your Seeds

Here’s a list of plants that you can sow directly into the garden: beets, carrots, swiss chard, kohlrabi, late cabbage, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collards, turnips, radish, spinach, bunching onion peas.  Sow some seeds one week and then sow again a week or two later so that all your plants don’t mature all at once.

Plant Your Potted Flowers

Many Denver gardeners see Mother’s Day weekend as the official day when it’s safe enough to plant their flower pots and have made planting flowers with Mom an annual tradition.  Plan to shop for plants early in the week or the following week so you can avoid the crowds at the garden stores. May Garden Prep.

Support to Your Plants

Make sure to put tomato cages over your tomato plants before the plant grows big enough to need them.  If you install them too late you can risk breaking branches. The same goes for plants that vine like peas.  If you wait until they need the support you might end up with a tangled mess.   Add trellises to vegetables like cucumbers to give you more space in your garden.

Water Wisely

In May, as temperatures rise and rainfall becomes more sporadic, it’s essential to keep your garden adequately watered. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance in your plants. Early morning is the best time to water, allowing foliage to dry before evening and reducing the risk of fungal diseases.

Harvest and Enjoy

May Garden Prep: Harvest ripe vegetables regularly to encourage continuous production and prevent overcrowding. You’ll be able to start harvesting your cool-season veggies like lettuce and beans.  I like to take a colander with me to the garden.  I’ll pick the outer leaves of lettuce, spinach, chard, and beans and can rinse them off easily right in the colander.   

 Happy Gardening!

Contact me for a Free Home Valuation

View All Local Resources Posts