May gardening

I’ve been outdoors. Trees and bushes are sprouting leaves and flowers, and I can almost hear the perennials growing.

There were numerous days when I worked in the rainย drenched to the skin. Rain is really good for transplanting, and if I wait for this weather pattern to change, I think it will be June. ๐Ÿ™‚

For the past few years, I’ve usedย an old indoor workbench as an outdoor potting table.ย But, in New England, everything that comes out in spring must go back in fall or be covered in feet of snow for several months. After a few years of dragging this bench around, it was literally falling apart.

My husband rebuilt it using as much of the wood as possible and recycling other wood from the barn.ย We did purchase ten pickets for the back and four casters for the legs which will allow me to move it around much easier.

Once you have the space to pot and divide, you need a place to store them.

A fellow MG had a small, cost-effective greenhouse that she uses for starting plants. She said she’s used it for several years, leaving the frame outdoors but storing the plastic cover in the extreme heat of the summer and the winter months. It required a lot of moving of plants to find a place to anchor it. We purchased heavy-duty anchors from Home Depot so the frame isn’t going anywhere.

Good compost for starting and dividing plants is a real plus but making it can take some time and effort. We have pallet compost bins for leaves, and I’ve had this square black compost bin from Gardeners Supply for a few years. I decided it was time to either move it where it would get more sun or try a new type that you can turn that I saw at a fellow MG’s house last week when we were potting up more plants for the sale.

Have you ever emptied a compost binย that you can’t flip over? I shoveled off the top quarter and moved it to the open compost bins to further decompose. ย Throw in an ant colony because the pile was too dry, and you have a job that was not a lot of fun. If you’re a gardener, you love good compost, but I really think I’d like to be able to just flip it over to empty it.

In case you’re wondering ifย rain is in the forecast forย today, the answer would be yes. If you’re wondering if I’ll be out there doing a few jobs, that answer would be yes too. ๐Ÿ™‚

The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. ย  ย Joel Salatin

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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55 Responses to May gardening

  1. Oddment says:

    I can feel your happy if soggy contentment clear over here. How wonderful to be back in the world of gardens; goodness knows you had a long wait for it this year. Obviously you are still waiting for those sunny spring days we’re all supposed to have. Your new bench is very handsome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your planting bench is awesome! One of those was first on my list when I moved here. Sadly, I put my unmovable one in a shady area that the mosquitoes like to hide in. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KerryCan says:

    You’re a more committed gardener than I–I have NOT been out doing the chores in the rain and will be faced with way too much to do, if the sun ever shines! I want to hear about it if you solve your compost bin problem–I’m looking for a better solution, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a couple of rain barrels we don’t use any more, and I’d like to convert one to a compost bin. We are working on the hardware that goes through the center allowing it to turn. We’ve seen a couple of different versions and are trying to figure out which would work best. I’ll keep you posted.


  4. Dan Antion says:

    These things seem to be a labor of love, well, maybe not the digging and moving compost, but everything else. I think the spring chores, while no easier than fall, are happier, since we are preparing for renewal and growth and ripe veggies.

    We have tried a few different places for a compost bin, but nothing so fancy. We also buy a mix of compost and cow manure that a local dairy farm bags and sells for a reasonable price.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Local dairy farm compost and manure sounds wonderful. I just heard about a NH company that sells a 50/50 compost and mulch at $48 a yard delivered. That sure peaked my interest but is considerably higher than my $10 load of wood chips. I’m still thinking on that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Joyce says:

    Even though my grandparents lived in the city – on a small, unassuming plot – they turned their backyard into a charming min-farm. They had a rain barrel and a compost heap. Everything they grew was fat, juicy and abundant. No potting bench, though. Just a wooden grandpa-made table beneath the apple tree where everything from pitting plums to scrubbing fleas off kittens took place. It seemed to me that backyard had everything – and it probably did. I had no idea grocery stores were as late a development as 1946 – fascinating!
    Have a good gardening week, Judy!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Brenda says:

    You are committed. Except for planting some shrubs and trees, I haven’t been gardening in this rain. Please let us know how you rig up those rain barrels for compost.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We’ve had quite a bit of rain,a s well, but we’ve also had the stray dry day. I make all of my plans around the weather, because if it’s nice out – I want to be out there. Kudos to you for gardening in the rain!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such dedication, Judy! Love that bench. Hubby has just built one for our pot plants in the screen room. Hopefully, they will survive outside whilst we’re away overseas. I just hope we get some rain. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can feel your joy, Judy, even though all your gardening posts make me feel vaguely inadequate. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not to worry, I won’t stop reading. I enjoyed the entire post, but most of all, I enjoyed your quote from my favorite farmer-philospher, Joel Salatin. Love, love, love him.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Repotting is on my mind. I’ve got some really BIG plants that need new soil and a bigger pot. But the caterpillars are falling like rain, so it’s all going to wait until the siege is over!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh Judy you are hard at work as usual. I was transplanting in the mud the other day too ( from the boys dads place ) and the rain as well but not sure how it is going to ‘take’ given that we are dropping in to the 30’s at night now….

    Gotta love that handy man of yours ๐Ÿ™‚

    Once the kids stopped playing in the turtle sandbox I turned it in to a compost bin but I’ve yet to open it this spring ( behind on everything ‘normal’ to my life this year right now ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. germac4 says:

    We have a compost barrel that we can turn over, (sort of) but the frame of the barrel is breaking!! So I’ve been looking to buy a sturdy turning over compost bin, but they cost a fortune. ..let me know if you ever find a good one. Happy gardening even if it is in the rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. joey says:

    I do compost bin, but in a big ol Rubbermaid with holes in it, which is NOT ideal, but it works, and I can dump it. I usually add manure, but last year I didn’t and I didn’t notice a difference. Maybe this year I would…nutrients do get used up.
    The rain we had (8 days of it) was much of the pouring and storming, so I didn’t get out there, and then I spent my weekend not gardening as well. We had 35 last night, so I think I’ll hold out a bit.
    LOVE your frames and think I’m headed that way. This year had me fighting for seedling space with my pets nosing into them and whatnot. I told The Mister, either I need something covered or I need to skip indoor starters altogether. A south-facing window in my shed would be ideal… *sigh*
    LOVE your potting bench, too. I use an old baker’s rack. So do the spiders ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like you DIY’d a compost bin that works for you, and that is a good thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ That little greenhouse gets hotter than a firecracker when there is full sun, and the smell is wonderful if you enjoy gardening. LOL I can see an old baker’s rack working just fine for a potting bench. We are at 30 just a little north of us. WTH happened to a real spring? Happy gardening, Joey.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Rose says:

    Sounds like a good time to me…though not sure I would like spring rain to work in as good as an end of summer, fall rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It sounds like spring is definitely on the way even if the temperature doesn’t say so. I’m sure you’ll soon see the rewards for all your hard work, Judy. I hope you share some photos with us. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Your potting bench looks great! I like the idea of having it on casters. It should last for years if you’re able to get it out of the extreme elements. Your Greenhouse looks great too!

    I was on a walk many years ago and saw an old rusty, but heavy piece of shelving laying in a gutter. I ran home got my car and drove back to get it. I immediately saw a potting bench in my head when I saw it and had to have it.
    He-Man, not quite sure I was sane followed my instructions and made me a potting bench using that piece of shelving. The legs are cinder blocks, and the back is peg board. It’s been out in the elements for so many years now I’m surprised it’s held up! One day it will have to have the upper wood shelf replaced along with the peg board. Honestly, I haven’t potted much on it, but I love it! It’s going with me when we move one day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Eliza Waters says:

    Lots to do in the spring – I can’t keep up anymore! We got our compost bin from our regional solid waste recycling program for a nominal fee. It has a cover, an outlet, but also splits halfway up, which makes it easy to unload. The bear also likes the design as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hooray for spring. I have two compost piles that are very minimalist – just piles surrounded by chicken wire.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Debra says:

    Your potting table looks beautiful! I am just now getting into the gardening. We bought a new to us old home that has garden beds. Loving it! Looking forward to visiting your site often!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. slfinnell says:

    And just as I’m reading, the rains begin here…..again. lol Gardening this evening in the rain myself, unless it contains lightning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ahhhh. Ya gotta love May. Fingers twitching, garden deadlines looming …, and all this rain. I’m trying to make it work for me this week. I spread lime in our small vineyard today. Counting on tomorrow’s forecast to soak it in. Lovely potting bench and charming spot to sit and keep an eye on the greenhouse. Very inviting!!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. My neighbors gave me a barrel composter. It broke off the supports almost immediately, so now I roll it to mix. It works great, much faster than composting in a pile here where it’s so dry.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Annie says:

    You’re lucky you have that handy husband. Good looking bench! Did you notice that today’s drought map shows we’re back to normal in New Hampshire? No drought and no Abnormally Dry. Of course, we don’t need to water anything with all the rain we’re having….

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Tina Schell says:

    I totally admire your commitment Judy – WAAAY beyond mine!!! I do love your results too – well deserved beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: DIY Composter | NewEnglandGardenAndThread

  26. reocochran says:

    I like the renewal of your potting table and thank goodness for casters! The patio with your outdoors greenhouse looks so cheery and wonderful to sit, relax, have a glass of wine or beer, in the morning have a cup of coffee here.
    My parents had us traipse out to the back end of our property with food scrapings and it was not our favorite thing to do! In the winter, the potato shavings and stalks of broccoli just laid on top of the frozen compost pile. In the spring, rain and time started transforming this into “mush.” I liked the worms as an elementary school kid, became “proud” to think of our early period of composting, as well as recycling in our science club, newspapers and magazines. This really surprised me about the grocery stores, Judy. I do think my Mom said it was more common to have a produce market and butcher shop separately, in her old neighborhood out on the East coast. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy memories for me were helping plant seeds in rows and then stapling the seed packages onto popcycle sticks, Judy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  27. reocochran says:

    This is the second post that duplicated my response. So sorry, Judy and of course, delete one of these silly things. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Lovely bench, you. Gave me an idea for my husband! Beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

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