Regional Gardening Guide - Zone 5-6

May 1 to May 31-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.

Here’s what’s happening in your gardening region:

It’s May! Time to kick your gardening into high gear and move outdoors for the summer. Don’t worry if you haven’t planted all your seeds yet. There’s still plenty of time to sow seeds directly in the garden .


map for zone 5-6

Your Regional reporter

Carol Michel regional reporter photo

Carol Michel is a lifelong gardener and resident of Indiana with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture Production from Purdue University.
She regularly writes gardening related topics for Indiana Gardening and on her award-winning garden blog, She is the author of the recently released book Potted & Pruned: Living a Gardening Life.

To see what Carol's doing in her garden. Click Here!

1. Plan where to plant everything in the vegetable garden.

Plan where to plant everything in the vegetable and flower gardens. Many plants are better companions for some plants than others, so look at Burpee’s plant companion guide when deciding what to plant where. Add row covers and plant supports before the plants need them.


  • Companion Planting Guide
    In plant communities, certain plants support each other while others, well, just don’t get along. Plants, like people, compete for resources.
    Read more
  • Floating Row Covers
    Read more
  • Staking and Supports
    Wrassling with a toppling six-foot-tall plant can be a struggle that is hard on gardeners as well as on blooms and fruit. So corral and support those plants with cages, stakes, trellises and arbors before they become overpowering.
    Read more

2. Direct sow seeds for flowers and vegetables too.

Many annual flowers such as marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers grow well when directly sown in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Burpee has many varieties of annual flowers, some new and some tried and true.

  • Sunflower, Mammoth Russian, , large
  • Zinnia, Candy Cane Mix, , large
  • Marigold, Chameleon, , large

3. Watch early for insect pests and plant diseases.

By being vigilant in checking the progress of your vegetables every few days, you can quickly spot and stop many common plant diseases and insect pests.

4. Plan to replace spring crops with short-season summer crops.

If you planted spring vegetables like lettuce and spinach, keep up with your harvest and they’ll keep producing. Once they’ve bolted (set seed) pull them out and replace with summer vegetables like green beans and summer squash that produce in a short time.

  • Bean, Contender Bush, , large
  • Squash, Summer, Butterstick Zucchini Hybrid, , large
  • Squash, Summer, Fordhook Zucchini, , large

5. Get ready to water the garden during dry spells.

The general rule of thumb is most vegetable gardens grow best with about an inch of rain a week. When Mother Nature doesn’t provide the rain, be ready with watering equipment.

  • Galcon 9001D Hose End LCD Timer, , large
  • Ergonomic 7 Pattern Hand Sprayer, , large
  • Gatorhyde Coiled Garden Hose, , large