Gardening by the Sea – May

Happy Earth Day and Happy Passover. To celebrate Earth Day, you can plant something green – anything will help absorb CO2. I heard on NPR this morning that Suffolk County has the highest air pollution in New York State – not good! To celebrate Passover, you can plant some parsley in a pot on your kitchen window sill.

I have already planted peas, arugula, mesclun, and lettuce in large pots on my patio. I also have tomato seedlings in my dining room window. This year, I am growing an orange variety that is lower in acid. Large pots are easier to tend because they eliminate having to bend down so far.

Resist the temptation to cut back leaves on your spring bulb plants. They are busy producing bulb food for next year. However, the dead flowers can be cut.

I fertilize very little. I prefer to use compost on my gardens. Leave grass clippings on the lawn and mow high. Grass clippings help improve the lawn’s health. Never fertilize a dry plant, and this includes lawns. The fertilizer will wash off the dry earth into our storm drains and then to our waterways. Fertilizer stimulates excessive algae and plant growth which can cause fish kills.

I think all of you know not to use pesticides – use only as a last resort. They are very toxic to pollinating bees and to pets.

I want to divert to warn you of a growing concern about pesticides in and on the fruit and vegetables we eat. There is a list called “The Dirty Dozen” and they are: apples, celery, bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes, green beans, kale. Fruits and vegetables grown locally and bought at farmer’s markets or farm stands tend to have a lower chance of pesticides on them. Pesticides are very expensive for farmers and their profit is already little enough. Ask at the farm stand you shop at and they will usually be honest with you. Store bought is a risk unless marked “organic.”

Enjoy this beautiful weather. The beauty of the Earth enriches our souls.

Until next month,



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