New England

April, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Lettuce in Containers

You can get an earlier crop of lettuce by starting seeds outdoors in a wide, shallow container. The soil will be warmer than the ground so the plants will grow more quickly.

Prune Roses

Cut back dead canes to healthy tissue and remove any spindly branches. Make a slanted cut that angles up toward an outward-facing bud, starting 1/4 inch above the bud. This directs the new canes to grow outward which improves air circulation in the middle of the plant to reduce risk of diseases like black spot.

Plant Cool-Season Vegetables

Carefully work a small garden patch and sow carrots, spinach, peas, lettuce, and beets, all of which grow best in the cool temperatures of spring. These plants can withstand light frosts; however, if an extreme freeze threatens, you\'ll want to cover them.

Control Tent Caterpillars

Check apple, cherry, and other fruit trees for nests of tent caterpillars. They will emerge at the same time the leaves sprout. Blast nests with a strong spray of water to destroy them or spray Bt on them. Bt will harm only the caterpillars and not other beneficial insects, birds, or humans. You'll need a pump sprayer for this job.

Plant Snapdragons

Transplants of snapdragons can be planted outdoors now. They can tolerate below-freezing temperatures and flower best in cool weather. Plant them in groupings for the best show. You just can't have too many snapdragons!

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