Minnesota Gardening Guide: May

The gardening season has officially started and, while you still need to be prepared to cover tender annuals and tropicals, there’s a lot you can do in the garden now.


The weather in May in Minnesota can fluctuate between warm spring weather and light frosts. Annuals that have been growing inside a warm greenhouse may take a while to acclimate to the outdoors. In early spring be ready to cover annuals or pull pots and baskets into a garage if a cold night is forecasted. 

When planting annuals, start with a good base. Add organic matter or fertilizer to your soil. A slow release fertilizer, like Osmocote, mixed into the soil will save time during the growing season. Remove plants from the containers by gently squeezing the pots and sliding the plants out; don’t pull them out by the plant. Gently loosen the roots if the plant has become root bound. Remove the flowers at the time of planting to encourage root development and thoroughly water newly planted beds and containers.


Early spring is a great time to plant many vegetables. In fact, some vegetables need the cool weather to get off to a good start (for more information, see our Growing Guide: Cole Crops). In early May, Parsley, Lettuce, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Collards, Kale, and Onion plants can be put outdoors. In late May to early June, Muskmelon, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, and Celery can be planted. Wait until the weather is consistently warm in early June to put Tomatoes and Peppers outdoors.

Summer Bulbs

Gladiolus, Canna, and Dahlia bulbs can be planted now. To extend the blooming season of Gladiolus, plant bulbs every 2 weeks from mid-May through June. Stop by the garden center and see all of the blooming perennials to get ideas for your spring garden. Consider planting perennials among you spring flowering bulbs to hide the foliage until it dies back naturally. Put your peony cages in place now so the plants can grow into them before they bloom.

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Planting Trees & Shrubs in the Fall


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