May in the Herb Garden

planting seeds


As day temperatures become more moderate and night time temperatures remain above 40 degrees; it’s time to plant warm season herbs. Prepare the seed bed by tilling or spading. Rake the soil as smoothly as possible and broadcast the seeds on top. Do not cover the seeds, lightly tamp the soil down with a hoe or rake and water the area lightly. Warm season herb seeds: Basil, chervil, summer savory, catnip, chives, cilantro and parsley. These herbs can also be grown in containers.

Check container grown lavender, rosemary, mints, and pot them up in larger containers, if necessary. Use a high quality potting soil, and trim away any tangled roots before placing the plants in the bigger planters. Now would be an ideal time to take cuttings of these herb plants for late summer plantings elsewhere in the garden.

When selecting mint plants at the nursery or garden center, keep this in mind: Certain variety of mint cannot be grown close together. If allowed to flower, they will eventually cross-pollinate and you’ll end with plants that will be nothing like the originals. Plant spearmint and peppermint as far apart as possible.

If patio, deck, or porch space is limited, consider one large planter with 4 to 5 small herb plants. One or two hanging baskets can be filled with herb plants. Be sure the herbs receive 4 to 6 hours of sun for best growth. Rotate the planter or baskets once a month so the herb plants grow evenly and taller plants don’t crowd out lower ones.

At the end of May, pinch out the tops of basil plants before they begin to flower. By pinching out the flowering tops, the plants will produce much longer. Prune out a few side shoots/stems from the mother plant and root these shoots in water. Once they’re rooted, you can plant them in pots or in the garden. They’ll produce full size plants later on in July and August. Water them weekly and mulch with bark, pine needles, or straw.

June roses require May feedings. Scratch in a handful of Epsom salts around the base of each plant. Roses respond to the magnesium in the Epsom salts and will produce larger and more colorful blooms. You can also apply Fish Emulsion or Miracle Gro for roses. Follow directions on the package. Always water the plants before applying fertilizers.

Something pretty for the month of May: Prune out some blooming chives flowers. Wash the blooms, and add them to a quart mason jar. Pour just enough white vinegar over them to cover. Cap the jar and allow the chive flowers to infuse with the vinegar. The chives will tint the vinegar a pale pink in color. Use the vinegar for marinades or add to a splash of olive oil for a salad dressing.

May 14th is the Full Flower Moon. Time to plant roses, gardenia, and other sweet smelling plants. Scorpio Full Moon as well: Time to plant basil, comfrey, sage and thyme.

Blessings to all who visit Mystical Magical Herbs.

~ Meadow Walker

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