If you don’t know what zone your garden is in, find your USDA hardiness zone here. Enter the code on the security pop-up (it is case-sensitive), then enter your ZIP Code to see your zone. If you click where you live, a window will pop up showing your exact zone info.
What to Do In Your Garden This Month
Zones 1 – 4
- On warmer days, clean up garden if not done last fall. Rake up any leaves, remove winter mulch, remove any dead plants, and mix in at least 2 inches of compost in your garden soil.
- When weather allows and the soil has warmed and dried, plant onion bulbs, lettuce, spinach, peas, sweet peas, carrots, collards and parsnips in the garden.
- Towards the end of the month, transplant tomato starts into larger pots. Give room so plants don’t touch and trigger a growth spurt, also give plenty of light – a fluorescent plant and aquarium bulb 6 inches above the starts for 16 – 18 hours a day is ideal.
- Transplant hearty broccoli and early cabbage seedlings at end of month.
- Start seeds of squash and melons indoors.
- To grow great broccoli, start seeds indoors for an early crop. Transplant in mid-May.
Zones 5 – 6
- If you haven’t already, don’t delay your garden clean-up any longer. You don’t want to have a last-minute rush to clean before you can plant. Remove last year’s dead plants, rake back winter mulches, and top-dress beds with at least 2 inches of compost.
- Direct sow spinach and lettuce seed in the garden for tender leaves before the weather warms. This could be a first or second planting, depending on the weather.
- Most cold tolerant vegetables can be direct sown – beets, peas, lettuce, collards, turnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, kale, kohlrabi, onion seeds and onion bulbs, parsley, parsnips, radishes, and spinach. Install a trellis for peas to climb on as soon as they sprout.
- Sow pollinator attracting seed mixes in various areas of the garden and on your property. They will acclimatize to the temperature swings and germinate when conditions are right.
- If you planted peas late last month, install a trellis of sturdy wire fencing, chicken wire or ready-made that is at least three feet tall. Otherwise, plant peas as soon as the soil can be worked this month.
- Do a slow and careful garden fence check to see if your fence is in good shape to exclude animal pests. Make sure to look right at and just above ground level for evidence of holes or broken wire.
Zones 7 – 8
- Pass up broccoli and cabbage on sale at garden centers—the upcoming hot weather will cause plants to go to seed instead of forming edible heads.
- Thin crowded carrots, chard, and lettuce.
- Remove floating row covers from peas early in the month. Drive tall, twiggy branches into the ground next to the plants for support.
- Mulch around the base of cool-season crops to keep their roots cool and moist.
- Direct sow annual flower seeds, keeping the soil moist until the seeds germinate.
- Prune winter damage on your herb plants. Look for new growth developing on the lower part of the herbs, and cut the plant back by 1/3 to 1/2 to the healthy new shoots.
- Remember to water your plants more frequently as the weather warms up and the days lengthen.
- Plant okra toward the end of the month, as it does better with warmer soil.
- Start succession plantings now to have a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.
- Beware of insects and other pests in your garden. Keep an eye on your garden for aphids, spider mites, etc., and take action when necessary to eliminate the pests. Early action now will save later catastrophic losses.
Zones 9 – 10
- Plant pumpkins, summer squash, melons, sweet corn, cucumbers and other vegetables that thrive in heat. Corn does best planted in a block so the pollen can drift across the highest number of plants.
- Sow seeds of nasturtiums, marigolds, purslane, amaranth, sage, sunflowers, and zinnias. Now is also a good time for Roselle and Malabar spinach – give them some shade and extra water till they become established.
- Plant an herb garden. Basil, parsley, oregano, chives, sage, rosemary, and thyme are good choices. You’ll have a better summer harvest if you give it some shade.
- Beans should go in now – shelly, snap and dry beans.
- Now is the last time for succession planting carrots before the fall.
- Mulch your garden well to preserve moisture and keep down weeds.