May 2024 Monthly Gardening To-Do List: Gearing up for Summer

As the vibrant blooms of Lilacs signal the arrival of warmer days, gardeners eagerly prepare for the transition to summer. With a strategic plan in place, you can tackle the essential tasks of May gardening with ease, ensuring a season of abundant harvests and blooming beauty. Let's dive into our monthly gardening to-do list and get ready to embrace the joys of the summer garden.

Soil Preparation

Before diving into planting, assess the drainage of your soil by conducting a simple test. Ensure optimal drainage by aiming for a water-filled hole to drain within one to two hours. For poorly draining soil, consider creating raised bed gardens to provide better growing conditions. Clear away weeds and debris, then enrich the soil with compost or organic matter to provide essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.


With the threat of frost behind us (typically after May 15th), it's time to dive into planting warm-season favorites. Settle in tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, basil, and other heat-loving vegetables and herbs. Brighten up your garden beds with warm-season annuals and bedding plants like petunias, marigolds, geraniums, impatiens, salvias, and zinnias. Direct sow seeds of beans, corn, melons, root crops, and sunflowers for a bountiful summer harvest.


Keep newly planted seeds and transplants well-watered, aiming for every other day watering for the first eight weeks. Once established, adjust watering to less frequent, deeper sessions to encourage robust root development. Apply a layer of organic mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds, opting for leaf mulch or compost for optimal results. Prune spring-flowering shrubs after they finish blooming, and provide support for vining plants like tomatoes and cucumbers.

Pest and Disease Management

Stay vigilant for pests like aphids and caterpillars, implementing specific control methods as needed. Monitor for common garden diseases like powdery mildew and treat promptly to prevent widespread damage. May is the prime time to apply preventative fungicides and insecticides for diseases and pests such as Apple Scab, Japanese Beetle, and more. Shop our collection online.


Enjoy the fruits of your labor by harvesting early-season crops like lettuce, radishes, and spinach. Begin harvesting herbs as they reach maturity, and keep an eye on early berries like strawberries for ripe fruit. Shop veggies and herbs



Planning Crop Succession

Plan additional plantings to ensure a continuous harvest throughout the growing season. Monitor for signs of nutrient deficiencies and adjust fertilization as needed to promote healthy plant growth.

In-Season Tool Maintenance

Keep your gardening tools clean and sharp to ensure precise pruning and prevent the spread of diseases. Shop tools.

Special Tasks

Divide and transplant perennials as needed, filling in any empty areas in your garden beds. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming, and be prepared to protect tender plants from late frosts. Set up supports for tall-growing plants or vines to prevent lodging and maintain a tidy garden space.

Most Importantly, Enjoy!

Amidst the hustle and bustle of gardening tasks, don't forget to take a moment to simply enjoy your garden and observe the vibrant wildlife activity it attracts. With these essential tasks completed, you're well on your way to a successful summer garden. Happy gardening! 

Jennifer Brennan

Chalet Horticulturist