5 Ways to Live Seasonally In May

by Ivory Soap

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1.  Find your farmer’s markets

Most markets are open now. We have seven in our area. There’s one open every day of the week. Not only are there fresh greens, but the egg season has started (Valentine’s to Halloween), and the mama animals are making lots of milk. It’s time to find out what fresh really tastes like!

2.  Preserve the spring harvest

Now is the time for greens, radishes, broccoli, and other cool season crops to come in. If you buy conventionals in the store, now is the time they’re most likely to be local and fresh. Get em’ blanch ’em, freeze ’em.  Don’t make my mistake and eat them till you’re so sick of looking at them that you don’t freeze any.  You’ll be sad in a few months.

3.  Join a CSA

Community Support Agriculture (CSA) memberships are like belonging to a community garden with hired help. You may or may not have to work in the garden, but the kinds of produce you get will be much like owning a large garden of your own. Don’t expect them to look like grocery store produce and be sure to get your freezer bags ready. Four days in a row of turnips is too much for anyone. It’s like having a personal farmer, not a personal store. Search out local CSA memberships in your area through localharvest.org or ask around at your local farmer’s market.

4.  Plant your hot crops

After your last frost, it’s time to get the tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and other frost tender crops in the ground. Unless you seed started in the winter, forget seeding tomatoes and peppers. But, unless you just want a jump on the harvest, it’s not necessary to buy plants for anything in the squash family (cukes, zukes, winter squash, etc.)

5. Get some chicks

Last chance to get chicks from the feed store. If you’re not picky about breeds and just want a dependable layer come fall, go scoop up a few. Lock them in an outdoor dog kennel until they’re big enough to not fit through the fence. And if you decide you don’t like them, put them up on Craig’s list for what you paid and they’ll be gone my noon. Until you BUY or BUILD a coop, chickens are a zero cost hobby to scuttle. $20 bucks in chickens and feed, an old dog kennel, water in a bowl. DONE.

Things to Ignore (because it’s not the right season)

  • Now is probably too late to get bees. You needed to order your bees a while back or catch a swarm earlier in the Spring, at least in the south where we are.
  • Unless it’s cold where you are, now is not the time to plant trees. I know you want fruit trees, but hold that thought until fall.
  • Forget about planting spring crops unless your spring is just arriving. Right now we’re HARVESTING spring crops. Since it’s already starting to get hot here don’t put in broccoli now. It will be spindly and PITIFUL, if it comes up at all.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary@Back to the Basics! May 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

Excellent info! In south Florida we are almost backward to the rest of the country. I was harvesting tomatoes in December and January and now I’m harvesting Eggplant with plenty for the freezer!

Ivory Soap May 15, 2012 at 8:10 am

THAT is why it’s so hard to write gardening articles! Our country is HUGE and covers so many zones! Congrats on the eggplant. My MIL makes a rocking ratatouille.

Kathleen K May 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

Our lettuce is almost done as are the peas. I’m eagerly looking forward to the warm weather crops ripening in just a few weeks (north TX). One other seasonal item we add to the list: dig out for another raised garden bed. It is so much easier to dig in the spring than in the fall. The grass and weeds have a chance to break down before time for fall planting. A bonus benefit is there is an empty bed ready for fall crops without having to rush to remove something that isn’t quite done.

Lanette May 16, 2012 at 4:55 am

Our local Bee Guild has a great program where members raise Nucs and then sell them to the newbies when they are ready (not having to order from AHB states is just one of the many benefits). They mostly go out in May/early June, so it MAY not be too late for bees if you can find a club that does the same. More and more of them are. We got a swarm in April but we’re at the bottom of the Nuc list for a 2nd hive.

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