I love the month of May! (Except for the parts where you have to take cover when the tornado sirens are wailing.) May can be such an uplifting month, brightening our winter-worn spirits with greens and gracious colors, especially when generous rains have blessed our yards and gardens. As each day in May ushers in exuberant growth and blooms, my enthusiasm for planting a new season’s patchwork of vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals matches the burgeoning abundance around me.
How do you like to garden? Are you a traditionalist, tilling the soil with rototiller, or by spading, and then sowing seeds in nice, straight rows? Or do you like to experiment with various ways of growing plants? Different styles of gardening have been practiced for millennia right up until today. From broadcasting seeds on likely parcels of land to double-digging, by hand, two feet down in the French intensive method, and many other kinds of gardening in between, people propagate plants in the ways that work the best for them in their climates, soils and seasons. Some folks chose specific plants for their gardens to benefit birds, butterflies, and wildlife. Those gardeners restoring native plant communities create sustainable habitat that nurtures birds and other animals perpetually. Gardeners seeking ways to grow more food in small spaces often try forms of intensive gardening: square foot, keyhole, lasagna, container, vertical, interplanting, and succession, to name a few. Have you heard of organic, biodynamic, or deep mulch gardening? These forms of gardening have been tested and proved over the years in many different countries and climates. Perhaps your passion is nurturing lovely flowers. For our area again this year, it has been a fine spring to bring forth luscious, early greens and delightful flowers. Roses, Dame’s Rocket, and Irises are profusely blooming for me in my gardens now, nestled between aromatic garlic chives and various mints. Whether you grow food or flowers, or both, the common reward for all gardeners and farmers is the pleasure and the bounty they derive from their efforts. For me, those efforts begin with building the health of the soil that nourishes my plants and the life within it. May you have a fulfilling garden season this year as you tend your own patch of earth!