May’s Cottage Garden ~1848

Saturday makes a welcome appearance once again, and those who aspire to cultivate their gardens are in for a busy month. Today’s excerpt is your to-do list for May.


ANYTHING omitted last month, do early this month. Set bean poles, and plant the beans around them; plant bush beans, cucumbers, musk melons, water melons, squashes, nasturtiums, early and late potatoes, strawberries, evergreens, shrubs, roses; sow half hardy annuals in the flower beds; plant perennials, biennials, and plants that have been kept in the house all winter, such as verbenas, petunias, heliotropes, geraniums, vincas, fuchsias, plumbagos, salvias, etc.; also procure some new varieties for a change; hoe between the rows of strawberries: cut off all runners, spread short grass or straw between them, pick and eat the fruit of Buist’s “Prize Seedling,” and “Early May;” both are choice early kinds; hoe between the rows of peas, and stick in the brush for them to climb on; thin out and hoe between the rows of beets, carrots, parsnips, salsify, radishes, etc., and keep everything in first rate order; give pot plants a liberal supply of water and air; keep them clear of insects and dead leaves, syringing overhead frequently; tie up any that need it, neatly, with tasteful sticks; re-pot any that need it. They may be set out in the open air by the end of the month, but keep in geraniums and others that are in flower, and their bloom will be prolonged; plant dahlia roots, and tender bulbs.

Source: The Cottage Garden of America, Walter Elder, 1848.

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