Aah, May is nearly here, which means in all likelihood we’ve experienced our last hard frost and it’s finally safe to get out and do some serious spring gardening. While California’s drought continues to loom, it’s important to incorporate some water-wise tactics when approaching the month’s chores.
Many of us will be faced with water restrictions this year, some effective May 1, so make sure you’re watering efficiently and in compliance with local guidelines. If your irrigation system is set on a timer, take a minute to verify you’re watering on the correct days and at an efficient rate. In May, vegetation water needs are not as great as they are in July or August, so irrigation amounts should be set accordingly. For help with determining your watering rate go to http://wx.sloweather.com/wateringindex.php.
It’s time to plant warm weather vegetable seedlings such as tomato, basil, eggplant, peppers, squash, melons and cucumbers. Most food crops require a moist growing medium so keep water conservation in mind and limit quantities to those your household will consume.
May is also the time to fertilize citrus and stone fruits, but encouraging new growth is also encouraging more water usage. Consider amending existing soil with nutrient-rich, water-retaining compost instead. Compost can be derived from green waste, but it also comes in the form of worm castings.
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Join Master Gardeners from 10 a.m. to noon May 3 to learn about worms and how to make your own worm compost. Wiggley Wranch stacking worm bins are available for $120, which includes the bin, worms, workshop and support. You do not need to purchase a worm bin to attend the workshop, but you do need to register in advance at http://ucanr.org/sloworm .
GOT A GARDENING QUESTION?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org