We are nearly in May.

May is the month I recommend for planting tender vegetables like tomato and peppers. Why May? The simple answer is frost and wind.

Frost is your enemy in the garden when you plant tomato and pepper plants too soon. Even planting in May you may need to protect the newly planted transplants from the elements. One of the worst elements vegetable plants are subject to is the wind!

New transplants, even those hardened off in a cold frame, may need protection from strong winds when set out. Kansas wind can whip the plants around so much the stems weaken and fall over, ultimately killing the plant.

Try using a plastic milk jug or a 2-liter soda bottle with both the bottom and top cut off. If you are lucky enough to have old buckets with the bottoms cut out, this will work also. Push the bucket or bottle into the soil far enough so it won’t blow away. In windy conditions, it may need to be stabilized with a wooden dowel or metal rod.

— Scott Eckert is a Kansas State Research and Extension agent for Harvey County. Horticulture is his specialty.