May Gardening: What Do You Have Going On?

Posted on May 16 2011 - 2:36am by Mike Lieberman

Back in March I asked you to share you spring gardening plans and ideas. I got some great responses from people saying what they were starting to or planning to do.

Katy said she was going to attempt to grow tomatoes in self-watering containers again.

Twinkle69 said she (I think it’s a she) was reading up a lot and planning to get started soon.

Barri and RootsandWingsCo had way too much going on for me to recap here.

Dan Polley said that he planned on transplanting a lot instead of starting from seeds.

Caitlin_Joe had learned a lot from working on an organic farm in Michigan and were hoping to apply some of that to their own venture.

Maren just moved into a new apartment in NYC and was figuring out what to grow.

Jes couldn’t wait to get her seedlings transplanted.

That was back in March, it’s now Mid-May and nearly everywhere around the country you can start getting things planted or pretty close to it.

All the ideas and planning don’t mean much without the actions behind them.

My balcony garden is far from perfect and I’ve had plenty of garden failures since I started my balcony garden from scratch. I’ve learned along the way and this is what I got planted this May

  • Lemon balm
  • Three kinds of basil (Italian, purple and lime)
  • Jack Be Little pumpkins
  • Green salad bowl lettuce
  • Collard greens

So after all that talk and planning what you got going on for your May gardening?

64 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Russell Franke May 16, 2011 at 10:11 am -

     Too cold in Michigan yet for any real gardening, perhaps by this weekend.  The leaf lettuce and mesculan (sp) is doing well….I go out everyday to look at them in my bare garden.  I live in the suburbs but I am an urban gardener in spirit, due the limited area my wife has given me.  I am sure it is more than most of your readers, though (just over 100 sq ft).  I am for the first time doing extensive vertical gardening (tomato, cucumber, beans, squash)…..oh, I did plant organic potato plants in some grow bags I bought!  Of course, they haven’t even broke through the ground but I can’t wait to see how they turn out.  

    My plants are overtaking my grow lights so come on warm weather!  

  2. charmcity balconygarden May 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm -

    I’ve got tomatoes, peas, zucchini, jalapenos, eggplants, basil (sweet, purple), oregano, and dill in containers outside. Inside I have tomato and pepper seedlings waiting to be hardened off as well as mesclun and arugula. Wow, that’s a lot when I spell it out. I started with a couple and I kept adding when I went out. It is totally addicting, this gardening thing… 

  3. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm -

    Hhaha. I hear that it gets to be addicting, but in a good way. Keep me updated. 

  4. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm -

    Nice. Good luck with the warm weather and keep me updated. 

  5. Julie May 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm -

    We’ve had our gardens in since February, so we’re already eating and freezing foods. We have artichokes, asparagus, basil, pole beans, beets,  bell peppers, blackberries, broccoli, cardoons, carrots, cauliflower, chard, chives, cilantro, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, jalapenos, kale, kiwi, lettuce, spinach, Malabar spinach, mint, onions, okra,oregano, zucchini, zucchetta, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, grapes, serrano chiles, California chiles, tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and I think that’s it, although I probably forgot a few on the list.  All of this on a city lot that we’re transforming into an edible landscape.

  6. Pat Boardman May 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm -

    I’m in Ky and have doubled my raised beds this year. All the rain and cool weather we have been getting has been awesome for my spring mix lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, bok choi, snow peas, and horseradish. I’ve got strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash, cucumbers, zucchini and potatoes. Also lots of herbs; basil, chives,oregano, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary, cilantro, peppermint, spearmint, catmint (for the cat),and comfrey. I try to plant only edible plants in my yard. Pansies,  johnny jump-ups, chive flowers go into salads. I try to add new plants every year.

  7. Joyce May 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm -

    i started out with the intention of growing just tomatoes and some lettuce and my container garden now includes tomato plants, strawberry plants, cucumber and daisies–all in several dozen containers in my sunny kitchen corner.   I need more space!  🙂

  8. Elizabeth May 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm -

     Well, my garden got tilled Saturday, just before a super rainstorm.  Only been in 40’s still and they have frost warning for tonight.  We don’t plant our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cukes and zukes etc until Memorial day.  Herbs are in pots.  It’s easier for me to buy greens at the farmer’s market.   My garden is down a hill and I have to depend on husband to plant and harvest since I can no longer get to it.  I am really thinking about expanding patio garden to more than just the herbs, though, after reading this site for a month.  I can get out there…is only down 2 steps.

  9. Bren in BGgarden May 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm -

    YOU ROCK….. I love your way of gardening and sharing to inspire! 
    MAY garden here in Ohio has been too hot and now way to wet as I look out my greenhouse window to see the river raising!    NO WORRIES : we built the greenhouse high enough to with stand any major flooding.    I’m watching my lettuce , chard and pansies finish out the spring planting season in the raised beds.  I have six new tomato plants I started from seed that I can’t wait to get in my 40’x60′ traditional veggie garden.  I HOPE to get those in by early next week if the rain lets up.

    TALK IS CHEAP: growing right now in the greenhouse …. well…. I will have a post up TOMORROW mentioning your  video / share and showing what I got GROWING on! 
    PEACE my friend!

  10. Jes May 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm -

    Just trying to keep stuff alive 🙂 
    I replanted my oregano yesterday (never did well from the seedlings). Also trimmed some zucchini away before it got too out of control (that stuff is a beast!). Had to replant cucumbers and lettuce that I started as seedlings, which failed. So far, so good! Got a recent update from about a week ago up on my blog, but it’s all grown so much since then. Need to transplant my jalapeños and maybe some of my tomatoes. I may just plant some tomato seeds outside as I don’t like the result under my grow lights. 

    Keep on keeping on!

  11. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm -

    That sounds awesome. Good for you. 

  12. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm -

    Sounds like you got plenty going on. Good stuff. 

  13. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm -

    Hahaha. I hear ya. I needs more space too. 

  14. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm -

     Get some things growing on the patio…

  15. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm -

    Damned Bren you got more going on in your greenhouse than I have on my entire balcony. Hopefully the rain will let up for you soon. Appreciate the shoutout.  

  16. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm -

    Exactly. Keep goin forward.

  17. Mary C. May 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm -

    Well, this month is mostly maintenance work – pruning, fertilizing, weeding. Everything is growing in well now that it’s warmed up and I’m not done moving things around yet so I’m trying not to get many new plants in. I will be sowing more lettuce and radish though.

  18. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm -

    I like how you say “try not to get too many new plants.” Good luck with that. 

  19. Mary C. May 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm -

    hehehe, yes it is a difficult goal since people keep giving me plants and so
    far I’m failing miserably :9

  20. Carle_mae May 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm -

    Right before may started I planted a couple of Chinese Eggplants and Zucchini plants. Zucchini’s grow so fast!

    Everything else I started in mid March inside =) 

  21. Katherinekelley May 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm -

     Pulled up and shelled all my peas except for one I’m letting go to seed.  Put them in the freezer for later.  Planted some beans a week ago to take their place and they started coming up today. Planted some basil seed and some tomatillo seed.  It’s a bit late for my area, but why not?  I’m a bit behind in my own garden because an Eagle Scout built 6 raised beds for the school I work at, and I have been a bit busy getting things established there.  Pretty cool seeing kids planting their own gardens though.  It will be so awesome when they come back in the late summer and see how everything has come up.  🙂

  22. Mister Swervon May 17, 2011 at 12:41 am -

    I have giant red tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, a roma tomato, and some jalapenos that I started over the winter under lights.  My kale was in my homemade cold frame and survived the winter, and they’re still doing well.  Some gourds and cucumbers.
    Planted garlic last fall and they seem to be doing well.  It will be interesting to see how that turns out.  I’m about ready to move my basil outside.
    Just have to keep the rabbits (or my dog) out of everything.

  23. Akemi S. May 17, 2011 at 1:55 am -

    Indoors: chives are doing well, and teeny tiny alpine strawberry seedlings finally have 3 true leaves. Outdoors: borage, paris market carrots, and golden swiss chard  seedlings are doing well. Sweet basil seedlings are growing slowly, and I’m having a tough time getting catnip to germinate, argh!

  24. Elizabeth Fisher May 17, 2011 at 2:05 am -

     So what is the best size container and what should I optimally use to fill them?  I decided I should do radishes and lettuce for sure because I can keep an eye on them.  The patio is on the NORTH…is this going to be a problem?  There are no trees of any height around it as  a windstorm a number of  years ago took out 2 apple trees and a Russian Olive and a maple.  The replacement trees are still pretty small.  I should do cherry tomatoes  or sweet 100. What else?  ( reminder …tom,peps,zukes, cukes, eggplant go in big garden)

  25. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 3:16 am -

    Might’ve been too cold last month for the basil. Give it another go. Good for you.

    What question did I ask on MNN? 

  26. ko_metro May 17, 2011 at 3:50 am -

     Just started my first indoor garden today: cilantro and parsley in hanging bottle containers and 4 sweet pepper plants. Also trying to sprout some yellow pepper and basil seeds. Fingers crossed.

  27. Jecka May 17, 2011 at 11:06 am -

     You asked if planting a garden outside in an urban environment brings pollutants to your produce. Good question. 🙂

  28. Psxkeeling May 17, 2011 at 11:16 am -

    Potatoes, onions, scallions, all the herbs I can think of…the lettuces and broccoli will be ready to harvest in the next few weeks, and I want to get the tomato seedlings in the ground ASAP! 

  29. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm -

    Nice. Good stuff. 

  30. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm -

    Fingers crossed. Keep me updated. 

  31. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm -

     Not sure I understand all the questions…

  32. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm -

     Nice. You got plenty to celebrate and be happy about. Don’t go crazy over the catnip. Maybe it was the seeds? Plant some more?

  33. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm -

    You should get a guard dog for your plants.  

  34. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm -

    Sweet. Keep me updated on that. 

  35. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm -

    I’ve heard that about zucchini, but never grew it before.  

  36. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm -

    Where is it? I don’t recall asking that question?!!?!? Hahhaah. 

  37. Elizabeth May 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm -

    See my post of approx “22 hr ago”.  I am thinking of planting more on the patio then just the herbs I usually do.  Cannot get to my actual garden due to difficulty walking, so have to depend on husband planting/harvesting.  He does it, but very sporadically.  That is why, after reading this site, I have decided to try more container gardening on the patio…which is on the N side of the house.  It seems to get quite a bit of west sun afternoon and evening.  Not in the am.  I thought I could plant radishes, lettuce etc, the things that need thinning that he will not do, and the things that need prompt harvesting, maybe spinach, green onions.  Now…what are the best size pots, and what should I fill them with?  

  38. Faeriewhale May 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm -

     I’ve made two self watering containers, (and gave myself a nasty blister in the process.) In the first one I’ve planted green onions and watercress. They have already sprouted. The second container is quite large. I converted a storage tote. In that one I planted a tricolour bush bean mix, and some strawberry transplants. I also planted a rosemary transplant, and some raspberries. The raspberries are the only thing not in a container. (I do have a very small amount of dirt here.) I’m thinking of doing the same with the fennel transplants I bought. 

    I also have a strawberry planter that I need to clean out and plant my herbs in, basil, parsley, marjoram, cilantro, winter savory, and tarragon. I also plan to plant a lettuce mix, chard, bok choy, and carrots. I’m going to plant some tomatoes in large tote containers too, but I will get transplants for that, and I can’t plant those until June. It’s too cold here, especially this spring.

    I like your rock label idea. I’m going to use that.

  39. May 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm -

    I have potatoes, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes and carrots.  I’m growing the strawberries and potatoes vertically so I’m hoping for a good yield but I’m pretty much a rookie so ill be happy with anything

  40. Lenora May 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm -

    I love your blog.  ComEd (electric utility)  will allow you to plant community gardens in some urban settings during the spring and summer on vacant lots.  We have planted spinach, collards, mustards, onions, zucchini, squash, peppers and will plant more once this Chicago whether warms up again!

  41. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm -

    Ahh, the best sized pots are whatever you can get your hands on 😉 

    I used 5-gallon containers, which restricts the space, but they work.  You should fill them with a good potting mix.

    Hopefully that helps.

    Keep me updated. 

  42. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm -

    Nice. The rock idea is good, but impossible to get the marker off once they are labeled. So label wisely 😉

  43. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm -

    You got something going. Be happy with that. Starting is the hardest part. 

  44. Mike Lieberman May 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm -

    Nice. Good to know. Thanks! 

  45. M_dunbar85 May 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm -

    i started my INDOOR gaden this april, and so far, we have peas, beans, carrots, basil, cilantro, parsley, dill,  radishes, beets, many kinds of lettuc, and of course, tomotoes. all are growing large and green and doing great !!

  46. Mike Lieberman May 18, 2011 at 3:16 am -

    That’s what’s up. Keep up the great work. 

  47. Akemi S. May 18, 2011 at 3:46 am -

    yeh, i’m pretty happy with growing my own edibles for the 1st time! i’ve read that mint varieties can be hard to start from seed, so i might have to plant some more catnip, maybe indoors this time so i can regulate the temperature.

  48. Melissa Willis May 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm -

     This is a loaded question!  I am a little out of control this spring!  2 weekends ago I put all my seeds in the ground.  Corn (sweet in back, blue in front), potatoes, winter squash, summer squash, zucchini, peas, beans, tomatillos, swiss chard, dill, chamomile, sage, cucumbers, pie pumpkins, butternut squash, watermelon and radishes.  This is in addition to the lettuce, spinach, arugula, strawberries, basil, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, garlic, onion, beets and leftover kale, some of which was over wintered in our “wagons” (raised beds we covered with plastic) and some of which I transplanted too early and have been nursing along!  I think that’s it…and I still have more seed to put down…I definitely have spring fever! Now, if we could just get some of that rain everyone else has been getting, we’ll be set!  There has been ZERO rain in NM 🙁

  49. Mike Lieberman May 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm -

    Haha. I guess it was a loaded question. 

  50. Mrskey1860 May 20, 2011 at 2:51 am -

     Too much fun!  We have since the end of April…reds and yukons planted in garbage cans out back, chives and lemon planted in window planters, spinach and lettuce in old plastic tubs we purchased at a thrift store,  and today planted our seedlings in 5 gallon buckets which consist of:  tomatoes (yellow, roma, cherry), snap peas, beets, carrots, beans (wax and pole), cantaloupe, watermelon, and onions.  This is our first year “urban” planting having just moved into the city of Milwaukee.  Wish us luck!

  51. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm -

    Nice. Good luck. I’m sure you wont’ need it. Sounds like you got your own little farm goin on.

  52. Leah Turner May 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm -

    Well, my patio garden is fairly shady, so I’ve never had much luck with fruits or fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes. Since horizontal space is at a premium I’ve switched to vines. This year the green beans and peas are taking over! 😀

  53. Mike Lieberman May 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm -

    I hope taking over in a good way! 

  54. Juanita May 21, 2011 at 7:11 am -

     We are still eating spinach and lettuces, tho I think I will need to stir fry the rest of the harvest as they are getting a little tough.  Using the onions almost daily.  Peas have started to bloom and I’ve started hardening off the tomatoes, peppers, zukes & yellow squash I started from seeds.  Cucumbers in the earth boxes are coming along, looking pretty healthy and the oregano and lavender I planted are super healthy.  I also have thyme ready to into the ground and I think I will keep one inside on the window sill as well as some chives, parsley and cilantro from seeds.  The rest will go into the ground or containers.  I also grow nasturtiums, not just as ornamentals as I add the flowers to salads all summer long.  The cherries are ripening and I hope we can get a few before the birds get them all.  We are letting a few suckers grow since the high winds and storms this spring have got the old tree leaning precariously.  I fear this may be it’s last year, but we will see.  The grape vine, after being pruned very heavily this winter, is really loaded with grapes.  We were afraid the heavy pruning might kill it, but it really needed to be rejuvenated badly.  Looks like that was just what it needed.  Peach trees are loaded and looks like we’ll have plenty apples also.  Divided the rhubarb plants and doesn’t look like I will get enough for even a pie this year.  But we’ll see, and next year should be a great one for the pie plant.  
       We have been working on a Lasangna bed and will be planting those tomatoes and peppers and such in there in the next couple weeks.  I’m kinda excited about that.  Will let you know how it worked out.
       Wow!  I didn’t mean to actually blog about our gardening, just meant to comment.  LOL, sorry!

  55. Mike Lieberman May 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm -

    Hahah. All good. Thanks for sharing. I can live vicariously through you.  

  56. Ginger Renee Doxie May 22, 2011 at 3:54 am -

    This year I put together a raised bed with left over cement blocks-I have tomatoes, peppers & Radish. I started 5 pear trees in my fridge from a pear I ate-I took out the seeds-took a paper towel-folded in 1/2 -then covered w. other 1/2-sprayed w. h20 till paper towel is just wet-put in fridge-spray each day until they sprout-it’s a great way to start some seeds without wasting soil or pods. Then you put them right into the soil and watch them grow-pear trees are doing great outside now-hope they stay that way.I’m growing more peppers 4 different kinds of tomatoes, more radishes in a different container, strawberries on patio container + in hanging coconut baskets (which are doing great). Plans to get some beans going & pumpkins later on-we’ll see what else we give a try-I did get a bucket to try to do an upside down tomato plant-we’ll see how that goes. 

  57. Mike Lieberman May 22, 2011 at 3:59 am -

    Wow. I’m totally jealous. Good stuff.

    I failed a few times at upside down herb gardening. All good though. 

  58. Bev in Texas May 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm -

    I have three cats who come and go at will, from the apartment to the balcony.  (We’re on the fourth floor.)  One of the cats (TC) will eat ANYTHING green – flowering plants, veggies, the whole nine yards, so I have to be really careful about what he might get into.  I’m planning to try my hand at herb gardening on the balcony and although I’m not concerned about toxicity I just know he’s going to regard the herbs as his personal snack cache.  Anyway…..any suggestions on how to keep TC out of my new project?  The other two aren’t interested, but he’s done this for his entire ten years and I have no reason to think he’ll quit at this juncture.  I’ve threatened to turn him into cat stew, but he just smiles at me and goes on munching.

  59. Mike Lieberman May 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm -

    Smart cat. Off the top of my head I don’t know anything about deterring cats. If I come across anything, I’ll definitely let you know. Hmm…. 

  60. Mike Lieberman May 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm -

    Smart cat. Off the top of my head I don’t know anything about deterring cats. If I come across anything, I’ll definitely let you know. Hmm…. 

  61. Elizabeth May 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm -

    I saw a picture of a woman who had her herbs in hanging pots and the pots were upside down over her kitchen counter.   Even if you don’t hang them upside down (how that worked I don’t know) maybe you could just hang them right side up. 

  62. Chad May 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm -

     I thought I had bad luck with oregano and marjorem myself but it came back a lot stronger the second year for me after it was a bit more established (have it planted with Mexican tarragon and sage in a wine barrel planter).  Never did much at all the first year.

  63. Bev in Texas May 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm -

    Thanks, Elizabeth.  Like you, I don’t know how that works, but it’s something I’ll look into.

  64. Elizabeth May 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm -

    If you go back to 7-22-09 this same blog he shows how to make them out of soda bottles.  The ones I saw in the article were bought and they weren’t cheap.

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