Get It Growing: Set your May fruit, vegetable gardening calendar

Spring sale around the corner

Clallam County Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, 2711 Woodcock Road. This year’s sale features natives, ornamentals, vegetable starts and herbs as well as a white elephant sale of gardening items and books. Come between 9 a.m.-noon for the best selection. Any plants remaining at noon will be sold at half-price from 12:30-2 p.m. For more information, call 360-565-2679.

May brings Mother’s Day, a celebration in honor of the person who, among other things, ignited the passion for gardening in many of us. Help your mom weed her garden and plant this month!

May is a busy time in the garden. Here are a few chores you should think about doing in your fruit and vegetable garden.


This month often brings drier weather. Check hoses, soaker hoses and drip systems for wear and leaks. When you water, water deeply but infrequently. Deep watering encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil in search of moisture and will make plants more drought tolerant later in summer.

Patrol for insects and other pests and consult your local Master Gardener for ways to control them. Diagnostic Plant Clinics are held on Mondays at the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Plant Clinics at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Sequim start in mid-May and are held on Saturdays.

Vegetable garden

Direct sow cool-season vegetables into the garden including beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, kale, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes and spinach. Harden off all cool-season vegetables started indoors and transplant into the garden by the end of month. When the soil temperature at planting depth is at least 60 degrees, direct sow pole beans, bush beans and corn into the garden and transplant tomato and pepper starts.

Fertilize garlic with a balanced fertilizer (one with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). Do not fertilize after May 15.

Use row covers to protect spinach, chard and beets from leaf miners. Check cabbage family crops for caterpillars.

Fruit trees

Fertilize fruit trees if last year’s growth was less than 8-12 inches using a balanced fertilizer. Amount depends on tree age.

If your fruit trees have had past problems with brown rot, scab or powdery mildew, spray with lime-sulfur or another fungicide registered for these problems. Do not apply fungicides while trees are in bloom.

Thin apples, pears and plums when about the size of a large marble (about 40 to 60 days after full bloom). Thin apples and pears to 6-8 inches apart and plums to 2-4 inches apart.


Fertilize blueberries with ammonium sulfate once in late May (amount depends on plant age) or with 1 tablespoon of fish emulsion diluted in 1 cup of water per plant twice this month. Fertilize raspberries and blackberries with 5-10-10 or a balanced fertilizer in late May.

Trellis new (first-year) raspberry canes as they reach knee height. Make sure berries get 1-2 inches of water weekly.

This calendar is for guidance only. Growing conditions can vary from garden to garden and from spot to spot in the same garden. Please adjust your gardening activities to fit with local conditions.

Happy Gardening!

Jeanette Stehr-Green is a WSU-certified Clallam County Master Gardener.

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