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Lake Life


May gardening tips offered
By Stephen Gent
Owner McDadeís Nursery

TOOLĖ This has been a great spring for gardening. In the Cedar Creek Lake area we are fortunate to have received a plentiful supply of rain along with moderate temperatures, ideal conditions for growing healthy plants.
May is the month to start replacing the cooler weather plants with varieties that like warmer temperatures.
For example, verbena, petunias, purslane, pentas, vinca and zinnia can all be planted in sunny spots during the month.
In shady areas, try ferns, begonias, impatiens, nicotiana, hostas and caladiums to provide an interesting mix of color and greenery.
If you want to attract birds and butterflies, plant milkweed, butterfly bush, rue, red yucca, zinnia, hibiscus, lantana, salvia, pentas and vines like trumpet, passion and honeysuckle.
Many homeowners lost part or all of their lawns last year due to the severe drought. St. Augustine, Bermuda and other warm-season turfgrasses can now be planted.
Keep new grass moist until well established. If laying sod, use a root stimulator to help the grass develop a healthy root system and donít fertilize until after the second or third mowing.
In early May, you can still plant in your vegetable garden summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, okra, corn, cucumber, eggplant, cantaloupe and watermelon. But donít wait too long as young plants need to be well established before the summer heat hits.
Caladium bulbs are considered tropicals and are typically planted around Motherís Day when the soil temperature is warm enough for germination. Fancy leaf caladiums enjoy the shade while strap leaf varieties will tolerate more sun.
Temperatures will start to rise in May so keep a closer check on the watering needs of your garden and patio plants. High winds especially can rob your soil of moisture.
When it comes to watering we recommend the simple finger test. Place your finger in the soil, if itís damp then leave well alone. If itís dry, then water.
Overwatering can be more of a problem than underwatering. Most plants donít like wet feet. In fact, having a drier soil allows oxygen to circulate around the root system which is beneficial to plants.
Mulching your flower and vegetable beds is the best method for keeping moisture in the ground. It also cuts down on your water bill.
A layer of mulch two to three inches thick prevents evaporation, keeps the ground cooler, stops weeds from germinating and also has a pleasing look. Cedar and cypress mulches have properties that help repel annoying insects.





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