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Springing Into May Gardening

By Ron Eichner


Hi folks, May is like a 31-day rollercoaster of weather. We can see temperatures that are summer-like day and night. Then, when we are high on the track, the temperatures can dive down to almost winter-like with frosty mornings and chilly rain, robbing all of the soil temperature gains.


May's number one commemorative event is Mother's Day, which falls on the second Sunday of May. We must acknowledge our mothers' sacrifices and celebrate the motherly figures in our lives.


The second significant day in May is Memorial Day. On this date, we remember and honor the lives of those who perished serving our country. Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday of May. The purpose of this day is to unite the various military bodies of our troops and support the troops defending the USA and our God-given freedoms.


NASCAR Day is the third Friday of May. It is a time when NASCAR enthusiasts salute the US military and our flag. They ask God to have a hand for safety and a blessing for all.


The monthly full moon affects the weather. This month's full moon is May 23, and is called the "Flower Moon."


My Grandpap Eichner was a lifelong farmer, growing on his dad's dairy farm in Germany. He was sponsored to America, only to continue his love of farming with the other half of the team, my grandmother. My grandfather taught us about the Ice Men’s Days of May. They're also called the Three Chilly Saints, St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Servatius. Grandpap was old school in many ways and always observed the original days of May 19-21. Since the 1600s, it has been changed to a week earlier, May 11-13.


During May, I promote myself as a "gardening angel.” For decades, gardening and farming in our area had a timeline for planting in May. The big box stores changed the rules and promoted plant sales four to six weeks too early. Some local greenhouses fear losing sales, so they encourage early sales, which makes no sense. May's summer-like temperatures plunge or crash because of either cold showers or the threat of frosts. Cold, damp soils are like putting your feet in a cold tub of water. So early planting can be risky and stunt the plants for a period. So, planting is like a gardening rocket in late May and can only go up.


If you want to choose some early color that can withstand colder weather, pansies are the number one choice. Their colorful faces can also garnish a salad. Traditionally, Mother's Day kicks off the hanging basket sales. A gardening tip to maintain and nurture the colorful growth of the hanging baskets, pots, and containers is to fertilize them at least once a week with your plant food.


So, in the first half of May, the focus should be on cleaning up and prepping the gardens. Fuel up your rocket with a good seven—to ten-day forecast, and gather your flowers, vegetables, and herb plants.


If you are looking for a destination, you can stop by our farm store, step into the greenhouses, take a lap, and visit the farm market. Buy our high-energy eggs, which support our laying hens, homemade pork sausage, sliced slab, and Canadian bacon, with a meat case full of meat and poultry, seasonal fruits and vegetables, homemade cookies, candies, and fudge.


Visit us at 285 Richard Road, Wexford, and bring your kids and grandkids to see our nine little lambs born this year and three Dexter calves coming out in the pastures. Make Eichner's Whole Farm and Greenhouses a destination and experience a working farm. We are open seven days a week. Discover "the rest of the story."


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