May Gardening Tips – Vegetables and Herbs

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,983
    Mitch Baker, Horticulturist with American Plant Garden Center, demonstrates May gardening tips for vegetables and herbs.

    Mitch Baker: Hi! Im Mitch Baker with American Plant and were talking about great gardening tips for May. Right now, were going to talk about planting vegetables and herbs.

    Now, for the last eight or ten weeks, weve been harvesting the tender leaves of these different varieties of lettuce, by now that the weather is getting warm, their production is being reduced by the heat, the leaves are starting to get smaller and bitter at this point. So thats a sure sign that its time to pull out the cool season vegetables and today were going to replace them with warm-season vegetables. Ive got a patio tomato. Ive got some basil and a green bell pepper. So lets get started.

    These have only been in for eight to ten weeks, but look at the root development that occurs during that time. Were going to get that same kind of root development out of our warm-season vegetables after we plant those. Now, Im just knocking some of the soil off of the roots. We dont want to waste all of that. Were going to throw these lettuce plants in the compost pile, were not going to throw them away.

    Then well mix this soil up, breaking up any large parts, any big clumps. This also incorporates some oxygen back into the soil as we do this. Then the last step before we plant our vegetables, were going to incorporate some rich organic blended composted soil amendment back into this soil, just to add some additional biology, some addition humic matter, all those things necessary for a good crop of vegetables.

    Alright! Weve got our soil prepared, so lets get our plants in. Im going to start with the patio tomato. Now, patio tomato is a good choice for a container like this, because its a plant that produces a medium-size fruit on a compact plant. So, it doesnt overwhelm a small container like this, still going to need some support as it develops, staking or cage some sort of support, but to start this small cage that it comes with is sufficient.

    Now, Im gently coxing the roots out as we did with the annual plants. Im going to tuck that end down at one end of the box, so it has maximum light and air circulation. Now in the center of the container, Ive got three basil plants, you cant have too much basil. So Im going to put the three basils in the center. Basil and tomatoes, both are very temperature-sensitive, so we really want to delay putting these in as long as long possible.

    I know everybody wants to get a jump on the season by planting them as early as possible. But not only is it not an advantage, its actually a setback to these two plants, actually, all three of these, the pepper, basil and tomato, all very temperature-sensitive. So putting them in too early, it just slows their development. You dont really get a jump on the season, its actually somewhat of a setback.

    Now, were going to put our bell pepper in down at this end, again, just gently coxing the roots. Now, this is adequate space for one pepper plant, one patio tomato, and three basil plants. The other requirement is sun, of course. You got to have at least half-a-day. Thats five or six hours of good strong sun in order for these herbs and vegetables to give you maximum production. Thats what were looking for. Now its time to fertilize them. When it comes to fertilizing a tomato, make sure youre using a formula that is designated a tomato fertilizer.

    Tomatoes have very different nutrient needs than many other vegetables, need for calcium, a high need for calcium. So you want to make sure youre using a fertilizer that has extra calcium specific for tomatoes. So, well go ahead and apply the proper amount for a new plant. Thats about two capfuls of this particular blend. As an organic fertilizer, this will release slowly for the next four to six weeks, giving the tomato all that it needs including the calcium.

    Now, for the basil and the pepper, were going to use a general-purpose fertilizer, again, something that has all of the nutrients necessary for these vegetables. Well just use a bit of this on the basil and a bit on the pepper. This organic fertilizer also has added calcium thats important for the pepper. So, this formula would work well for most vegetables and certainly for the pepper, because of the higher calcium content. This will release slowly again for about four to six weeks. Our next step is to water these vegetables in well. Thats a very important part of their development.

    So with a little preparation now, youll be harvesting your first vegetables in no time.