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Garden Calendar - May


Ahh, May… Finally! This is when the garden fun really kicks off for many gardening enthusiasts in Norway. Gardens start to really come to life, with colorful flowers, the humming of bees and and overall sense of renewal. There is plenty to do in the garden, just remember to breathe in and smell the flowers. Garden therapy is great!


Garden equipment
Bring it! Photo: Wix.

Here are a few tips of what to do in the garden in May.


 
TIDY UP

Better now than later! Weeding is perhaps not the most fun thing to do in the garden, but May is a great time to catch the plants on your “wanted-list”. The plants are small, and the roots are weak and easy to pull up. Think twice before you arm yourself with chemicals and glyphosate-based herbicides, though. There are many other ways to get rid of weed that are kinder to nature. We go for good, old manual weeding while listening to chill music.


 
VEGGIES

When are the nights frost free? It depends on where you live, of course. But for many, it happens some time during May. That’s when the veggie fun begins!


Perhaps you’ve sowed veggies inside, waiting for the soil to warm up outside. With the exception of very heat-demanding plants, such as tomatoes, most can be planted outside now. Make sure they've undergone a few days of hardening, meaning they're placed outside for a few hours each day to acclimate to the weather. Also, the soil will be happy to receive some tender care in the form of compost and nutrients beforehand.


And then there are some classics.


Carrots: We love that carrots are so easy to grow. They prefer loose and nutrient-rich soil, and they grow with soil temperature above 7-8 degrees. Thus, in large parts of Norway, you can grow carrots almost year-round! Sow them in raised beds, pots or simply in the ground. Remember that carrots need between 50 to 70 days to grow, before they are ready for harvesting.

Illustration of a potato plant
The greatness of potatoes! Illustration: Wikimedia Commons

Potatoes: When the nights are frost-free, some time during May (and preferably before Midsummer’s Day), you can go ahead and get the seed potatoes in the soil. Potatoes don’t mind sunlight and warmth, but they aren’t too picky when it comes to location. They prefer porous and well-drained soil, but again – not too picky. You can grow directly in the soil, in a raised bed, in buckets, pots or planters. Dig small holes in the soil about 10 cm deep. Keep a distance of about 25 cm between each potato. Throw the seed potatoes in and add some fertilizer. And quite a bit of water.


If you're planting in a pot or bucket, it should be at least 10 liters, and remember to create holes in the bottom for drainage. One potato per pot/bucket is enough. If you're planting in a standard raised bed, you can put 8-10 potatoes per bed. If you're planting directly in the soil, place the potatoes in rows, as many as you want. It's said that one seed potato yields about 20 new potatoes, so lean back and let the potato work its magic.


 
HERBS

Chives: Harvest time, already! Indulge in plenty of fresh and fine chives. It can also be frozen, you can make chives salt (a great gift, by the way). Also, enjoy the lovely purple flowers peeking out from the chives. The bees love them, and we love the bees.

Chives with flower
Pretty and tasty - and, yes, the flower is edible. Photo: Marion Solheim
 

BERRIES:

Many weeds thrive alongside the berry bushes, and May is a good time to get the unwanted plants away. By removing them early, it's easier to keep things under control. Arrange support for bushes that tend to sprawl.


 

FLOWERS:

May is the perfect time for planting summer flowers in the garden! Check local garden centers for a diverse selection of plants that will bloom throughout the summer and have fun creating a beautiful flower garden.


This is also the time to get new perennials in the soil; enjoyment for years to come.


Do you have an outside area you don’t really know what to do with? Why not plant a wildflower meadow this month? There are increasingly more wildflower seed mixes available, encouraging everything from ladybugs to bumblebees and other essential pollinating insects to visit your garden.


Pansies in the garden.
Pansies are cuties and a sure spring sign in Norway. Photo: Wix.
 

PREPPING FOR SUMMER:

Watering: When the soil temperature is above five degrees Celsius, plants can absorb water and nutrients. Many young trees and rhododendrons are vulnerable and perish due to lack of water in the spring. Give them what they need – unless Mother Nature makes it rain down, of course.


Pruning: Spring-flowering shrubs and climbing plants can be pruned after flowering, for example lilac, forsythia, and clematis.

Lilac in bloom.
Dive your nose right in there and enjoy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Fertilizing: Kick-start the season with nutrients for the soil. Some prefer to buy, some prefer to make their own. Either way, May is a good month for enriching the soil.


Let it multiply: Take cuttings or divide perennials when the shoots are about 8–10 cm high. You can also take cuttings from herbs like basil and mint. Some herbs, like oregano and chives benefit from being divided every few years.



 

ENJOY:

Perhaps you want to create one or several cozy outdoor areas during May. This is the time for garden furniture, decorative lights and maybe and outdoor grill. Make a space for relaxing, dining, and socializing as the days get milder.


Garden lights in trees
"Hygge" is the word! Good vibes. Photo: Wix


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