Northern & Central Midwest

June, 2003
Regional Report

Choose Your Harvest Time Wisely

Time of day can affect the flavor of your vegetables. Pick peas and corn late in the day to maximize their sweetness. Pick lettuce and cucumbers early in the morning to avoid the loss of moisture and subsequent loss of crispness as the day wears on.

Prune Spring-Flowering Shrubs and Trees

Those shrubs that bloomed early in the season, such as lilac, forsythia, wiegela, crabapple, and viburnums, should be pruned immediately after blooming. They begin forming next year's flower buds as they begin new growth, and you want to do any pruning before that happens.

Get Set, Ready, Mulch

Mulch under melons keeps them from rotting. Straw or pine mulch under strawberries can keep them clean and keep the slugs off. Mulch under tomatoes keeps them clean and prevents soil-borne disease from splashing onto the fruits. Mulch in the flower garden keeps weeds at bay. Mulch around trees keeps moisture in.

The Best Thing to Put in the Garden is Your Shadow

Check out the gardens daily to keep ahead of problems. Pull off any diseased leaves and dispose of them. Hand-pick pest egg clusters as well as insects that may be appearing. Learn the difference between pests and beneficial insects – use them to help you control pest problems!

Irrigate Before You Mulch

Set drip irrigation lines just before you put on summer mulch. Some mulches shed water, so putting hoses under the mulch assures that water gets to the plant roots. Use true drip systems with an emitter for each plant, or even those with tiny holes punched in them (turned upside down is best).

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