Peter Henderson's Gardening Calendar
from Gardening for Profit, 1866
MAY—Although the bulk of the hardy vegetables is now planted, yet the tender varieties are still to come; they require more care as they are more susceptible of injury, by too early or injudicious planting, than the others. In the early part of the month, the succession crops, named in April, may be yet planted so as to produce good crops, and the tender varieties, such as Bush Beans, Corn, Melon, Okra, Pepper, Squash, Tomato, may be sown or planted after the middle of the month; but Egg Plants, Sweet Potatoes, Lima Beans, and Peppers, had better be delayed to the last week in May. The first produce of the spring plantings will now be ready for use. Lettuce or Radishes planted in cold frames in March, are matured from 5th to 20th May, and if covered up by straw mats at night, ten days earlier. In warm situations, on rich, light soils, the Radishes, Lettuce, Turnips, or Peas, planted in March, are fit for market. Rhubarb and Asparagus are also fit to be gathered, on early soils, the latter part of the month.
Additional labor is now beginning to be required, the marketing of crops occupying a large portion of time, while the thinning out of sown crops, and the keeping down of weeds which are now showing themselves everywhere, entails an amount of labor not before necessary. To withhold labor at this critical time, is shortsighted economy, whether by the owner of a private or market garden; for let the crops planted and sown once get enveloped by weeds, it will often cost more in labor to clean the crop, than it will sell for; it is not at all an uncommon occurence to see acres of Carrots or Parsnips plowed down, after being carefully manured and sown, from neglect or inability of the owner to procure labor at the proper time. The rapid development of weeds is, to the inexperienced, very deceptive; a crop of Carrots, Parsnips,, Beets, or Onions, may appear to be easily manageable at a given day in May; but a few days of continued rain occurs, and the crop, that could have been profitably cultivated on the 15th, is hopelessly over-grown on the 25th.