I Can See It
A winter of heavy snow was followed by a cold, damp, early spring. How great does this May sunshine feel?
It’s time to renovate the lawn. Many of us will be spreading the first step of a multistep chemical onslaught to kill weeds and bugs. Don’t do it! Your lawn needs calcium and a Ph adjustment; it has soil compaction problems and needs to be over seeded. There are some new products on the market that will take care of what your lawn needs in a safer manner. A healthier lawn environment starts with accepting the fact that Dandelion, Violets, Clover, Chickweed, Round Ivy, Lambs Quarters, Mallow, Pigweed, Sorrel, Spurge, Carrot, Geranium, Morning Glory, Onion, Dock, Plantain, Thistle, Carpet Weed, Henbit, and Crab Grass may also be growing in our lawns. Many of these plants are a good thing and when in bloom it can be a handsome carpet of flowers in the lawn. Generally speaking, lawns don’t need to be fertilized unless there is a micronutrient problem. Mow the lawn 3” or higher. The higher mowing height will keep the lawn greener when the hot, dry weather arrives. Moss is okay in the lawn especially in the shadier areas and stays green year around. Having to water the lawn every day, because we keep the lawn cut too short, is a wasteful habit.
This year’s vegetable garden will need some additional space. Don’t just plant peppers, radishes and upside down tomatoes. Start an organic heirloom vegetable garden of raised beds filled with charred, arugula, beans, beets, broccoli, kohlrabi, carrot, radish, cabbage, corn, cucumber, eggplant, bok choy , mustard, kale, lettuce, collard greens, onion, pea, melon, spinach, squash, turnip, tomato, basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley, lemon balm, and sunflowers to name a few.
Take an environmentally friendly approach if and when bugs arrive. Beetles, stink bugs, aphids, scale, ticks, grubs, ants, chinch bugs, cut worms, grasshoppers and adelgids can be controlled in a safe manner. Companion planning, proper cultural practices and hand picking the bad guys off plants should be our first choice in pest management. Natural pest applications such as soap, oil and pepper can be used if pest numbers increase. If an infestation occurs, consult your local garden center or cooperative extension for safer control methods.
May is one of the months to plant and move trees, shrubs, and perennials in the landscape. This year’s goal should be to plant a tree or three in open areas in the landscape. Plant deciduous tree on the south side of the house. Shading this side of the house with deciduous trees will keep energy costs down in the summer time. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter and let much needed sunlight in. Evergreens planted on the north side of the house will deflect cold winter winds and help keep the snow off the roof and keep the heating costs down.
The May landscape changes by the day. The month starts with the landscape looking almost like winter and finishes flushed out in her summer green dress. Spring’s rebirth is working at her leisurely pace as we frantically try and keep up. May is one of those months to listen and observe the natural world. Nature is attempting to teach us a valuable lesson this time of year. Do you hear it? Can you smell it? I can see it!
This article is sponsored by a generous grant from M&S of Pawling: