Seasonal Advice for May: Recipes, Gardening, Folklore


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Hummingbird at Impatiens

The arrival of May 2016 brings with it many springtime traditions and celebrations to honor the phenomenal growth in the garden and the warming of the sun. See our tips!

The glittering leaves of the rhododendrons
Balance and vibrate in the cool air;
While in the sky above them
White clouds chase each other.
—John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)


May is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants.

May 1 is May Day. Mark the return of spring by bringing in branches of forsythia or lilacs or other flowering shrubs from your region.

Cinco de Mayo (“The Fifth of May”) celebrates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862.

This year (2016), Mother’s Dayfalls on Sunday, May 8.  Learn about the history of Mother’s Day.

Memorial Day (Monday, May 30) is a poignant reminder of the tenacity of life. We post the flag on this day; know your American flag rules.

May’s Zodiac Signs

Taurus: April 21 to May 20

Gemini: May 21 to June 20

May’s Birth Flower

Hawthorn or Lily-of-the-Valley

The hawthorn means hope. The lily-of-the-valley symbolizes sweetness or the return of happiness. Learn more about May’s birth flowers.

Recipes for the Season

Try some of these recipes that feature the first crops of the season:
Asparagus Salad with Peas and Toasted Almonds
Spinach Lasagna
Rhubarb Pie

See more on our “Seasonal Cooking: Spring Recipes” page!

Cook with more vegetables and fruit. Look inside Cooking Fresh With The Old Farmer’s Almanac!


See our free vegetable, herb, and fruit plant guides for tips on planting, growing, and harvesting your most popular crops.

In May, enjoy new life! Attract hummingbirds to your garden. See our list of plants that attract hummingbirds.

Celebrate a new season of flowers by planting window boxes!

This is also the time when moles start coming out. See our page on how to control moles.

Enjoy our weekly Gardening Blog for timely gardening advice!

Everyday Advice

The wedding season is almost upon us. Find out wedding weather, sunset times, folklore, and more on our Wedding Planner page.

Don’t get stressed! We’ve got Stress and Anxiety Remedies to help provide relief.

Spring cleaning? See homemade cleaning remedies and other tips to help you around the home.


May’s full Moon, the Full Flower Moon, occurs on the 21st, at 5:14 P.M. (Eastern Time). See the Full Moon for May Guide for facts and folklore.

See Sky Watch for May and navigate the night sky from your own backyard.

We also offer free, printable sky maps that are great for stargazing!

Folklore for the Season

A dry May and a leaking June
Make the farmer whistle a merry tune.

Calendar Question

According to astronomers, what is a Julian day?

Answer: The term “Julian day” can be confusing because it has several meanings, including being a date on the Julian calendar. In astronomy, however, the Julian day (or Julian day number) is the number of days that have passed since the start of a Julian period. The Julian period is a year-numbering system developed by 16th-century French astronomer Joseph Justus Scaliger. He determined that the current Julian period began on January 1, 4713 B.C. of the Julian calendar; every 7,980 years, the count of years restarts.

For dating and comparing the timing of astronomical events and observations, John Herschel and other astronomers created a day-numbering system based on Scaliger’s Julian period. There are no months in a Julian day system; it simply counts the days, and fractions of days in decimals, since the period began. Julian day 0 occurred on January 1, 4713 B.C. The Julian day starts at noon Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time) so that nighttime astronomical events occur on one Julian day. 

A Julian date includes the fraction of a Julian day. For example, on May 1, 2016 (Gregorian calendar date), at midnight (the start of the day on a common calendar) the Julian day number is 2457509, and the Julian date is 2457509.5. On May 1, 2016, at noon, the Julian day number changes to 2457510 and the Julian date to 2457510.0.

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I forgot to mention above,

I forgot to mention above, that I container garden and I will be planting most of the herbs mentioned above today 5-19-15. I also have a Dwarf Myers Lemon & Cocktail Lime tree from a Nursery that had them planted together, they said they would be fine in the pot and grow fine together, and said they would grow to the size pot they are transplanted in. I have them in an 11" pot as that is what the nursery had them in to grow. I received them both in a 7" or 8" pot. Anyway I have been finding snail trails in the dirt and my little baby Meyers lemons and Limes have been turning yellow and falling off as well. Are the fruits turning yellow and falling off because of Snails or Slugs? And if so can I plant a rosemary herb in with them? I put the Rosemary herb in it's Biodegradable pot setting in the pot with the Myer Lemon & Lime and have seen no snail trails since, I know they do not like Rosemary it is a good snail and slug repellent,what do you think will the Rosemary choke out my Dwarf trees or grow to size with them in the pot?

Is it a good idea to plant

Is it a good idea to plant Fennel with Celosia in the same container, or will I have Hornworms and other pests eating my Celosia, I seen that Fennel repels Spider mites which are a problem or can be for Celosia. I am trying to keep my Celosia pest free as well would like to keep my Mint Plants,and other herbs pest free so far I have Chocolate mint, Peppermint, Orange Mint, Mojito mint, Spearmint. I also and would like to keep pest free,Pineapple sage, Thyme, Dill, Lavender, Rosemary and other herbs. Can you tell me what herbs are good to plant with others to keep them pest free as well as with the Celosia, to keep them all pest free and growing in harmony,Please....Thank you



Help! My mint and basil are

Help! My mint and basil are being eaten alive by something I cannot see or find or seem to be able to get rid of! Basil leaves are dropping to the ground ...whole. Mint leaves have holes chewed in them til they just a skeleton! I'm desperate!

Since you mention both mint

Since you mention both mint and basil, it sounds as if you have a caterpillar. In the early evening, go outside and look for green caterpillars under the leaves or along the stems. Try a caterpillar insecticide with Bt (Dipel). See your local garden store. Spray in the evening and it should take care of them. Hope they make a comeback.

does any one know how to dry

does any one know how to dry sage for keeping or storge?

Hi there, check out our sage

Hi there, check out our sage page for growing, care, and storage tips!

Tie it in bundles and hang

Tie it in bundles and hang upside down for a few days. Should be ready to use in about 3 days. Keep stems on for making smudge sticks, or strip leaves off and pack in mason jars for culinary use. Stays pungent for years in a good sealed jar.

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