Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2010
Regional Report

Harvest Early Crops

Harvest green onions, lettuce, radishes, greens and spinach. Mesclun mixes or cut-and-come-again lettuces can be harvested to a few inches three or four times before the plants exhaust themselves and become spindly. As soon as they finish, pull them and toss onto the compost pile to make room for warm season plants

Stake Perennials Early

Stake tall perennials before they reach six inches. Use ready-made stakes, twig trellising or simply put twiggy branches in the ground for the perennials to grow through. If tying is necessary, do a figure eight loop around the stake and the plant to avoid tying too tightly or breakage in strong winds.

Plan a Butterfly Garden

Plan a butterfly garden this year. Plan for all stages of the butterfly life cycle including egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa and adult. You will need plants for nectar for the adults and plants that the adult females will lay eggs on. You also need food for the larvae or caterpillars.

Pinch Bee balm

Trim back your bee balm in early May to promote more compact growth. Bloom will be delayed about two weeks. Cut back just the front half of the clump of bee balm to develop staggered height and extend bloom time. The uncut portion will bloom at its usual time and 2 weeks later the pruned front half will bloom.

Plan Spectacular Containers

As you plan for containers, keep in mind the three essential elements: The thriller is the tallest plant in the bunch. It grabs your attention in how it stands above the other plants. The filler is a medium-sized plant that dominates the center area of the pot. The spiller cascades down the side of the pot, drawing attention downward.

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