Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2010
Regional Report

Stop Harveting Rhubarb and Asparagus

Stop harvesting rhubarb and asparagus. Allow asparagus stalks to feather into their lovely foliage, which will allow the plant to begin to produce sugars for winter storage and a tasty crop next spring. Rhubarb should be left alone also to replenish the crop for next year. Rhubarb can sometimes be harvested minimally again in the fall.

Pick Beans

Pick pole and bush beans daily. Don%t let the pods get larger around than you little finger or the plant will move into a slowdown phase. Once the plant begins to develop seeds, it has finished its life cycle and will stop producing. Besides, the beans are at their most tender before they produce seeds.

Catch Mildew Early

Watch for mildew on phlox, zinnias and beebalm. At the first sign, spray with a mixture of one tablespoon baking soda and one teaspoon dish detergent or insectidical soap in a gallon of water. Spray every four or five days to control mildew. This also works on roses.

Deadhead Perennials

Deadhead perennials as needed to keep them blooming as long as possible. Many will rebloom if deadheaded regularly. Some perennials such as coreopsis and geraniums benefit from a shearing back once the spring flush is finished. Use hedge shears and cut plants back by half. They will make attractive new foliage with sporadic blossoms the rest of the summer.

Let Greens Go to Seed

Let lettuce and greens go to seed. Leaving the flower stalks on will draw beneficial wasps into the garden to help you out. Also, as the flowers produce and scatter seeds, the plants will sow your fall crop of greens without having to lift a finger.

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