Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2004
Regional Report

Spread Mulch

The heat's coming! Get your mulch ready. After weeding and watering, mulch all garden beds with 2 to 4 inches of organic material. Use coarse mulch, such as bark chips, around trees and shrubs; finer mulch like shredded bark or shredded leaves around perennials and annuals; and straw in the vegetable garden.

Train Annual and Perennial Vines

Check annual and perennial vines every two or three days to make sure they stick to their trellises. Knowing the type of climbing mechanism of each vine helps determine what trellis is appropriate. Some cling with sticky pads, some have twining stems and leaf petioles, and some have no mechanism and must be tied.

Move Amaryllis into Summer Sun

Move your amaryllis outdoors into the garden. Place it in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade where you will remember to water and fertilize it regularly. Fertilize it along with your annual flowers -- about every two weeks using a dilute solution when you water.

Cover Squash Plants

Squash plants should be coming along well by now. Cover them with row covers to prevent squash vine borer moths from laying their eggs at the base of vines. As soon as the plants begin to blossom, remove the covers so the plants can be pollinated.

Let Swallowtails Enjoy Your Carrots

Don't be horrified when swallowtail butterfly caterpillars appear on dill, fennel, and carrots. The caterpillars are beautiful themselves and only eat some of the foliage. When they emerge after pupating, you will be treated to magnificent swallowtail butterflies flitting about your garden. Next year, plant extras!

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