Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2008
Regional Report

Protect Against Cucumber Beetles

Protect against spotted and striped cucumber beetles and the bacterial wilt they transmit by covering cucumbers at planting time with polyester row covers. Weigh down the sides with soil or stones and be sure to remove the covers when blossoms appear to allow pollinating insects access to the flowers.

Plant an Evening Garden

As you plant for the season, add white flowers and night-scented blossoms for an evening garden to rejuvenate you after a long day at work. Nicotiana, petunias, oriental lilies, and four o'clocks are scented more heavily at night. White phlox, Shasta daisies, and moonflowers shine in the moonlight.

Pick Your Own Strawberries

"Pick your own" strawberry farms are warming up for early June picking. Locate local farms by checking with your Cooperative Extension office. Before picking, get tools ready for jam-making and freezing, and for making shortcakes. Don't forget insect repellant and a hat for picking day.

Plant Warm-Season Crops

Time to plant warm-season crops such as cucumbers, pole beans, corn, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, melons, and squash. Make sure the soil is above 65 degrees and put out transplants on a cloudy, still morning or evening. Water in well, and monitor for a few days to make sure they settle in.

Put Up a Rain Barrel

Collect water in a rain barrel. Your collected water won't be subject to watering restrictions, the water doesn't contain chemicals found in city water, it will save on water bills, and it will reduce storm runoff that can cause erosion. Build your own or purchase one.

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