New England

May, 2013
Regional Report

Plant Summer-blooming Bulbs

Wait until your last frost date has passed and the soil is warm to plant warmth-lovers like cannas, gladiolus, dahlias, caladiums, and tuberous begonias that grow from bulbs, corms, and tubers. If you started these plants early inside or you purchase started plants from a garden center, be sure to harden them off before setting them out in the garden.

Match Needs of Container Plants

When choosing plants to combine in a container, be sure to keep cultural needs in mind. Plants with similar light and water requirements make the best neighbors.

Protect Corn Seedlings

Young corn seedlings are irresistible to birds. Cover the corn patch with floating row covers from the time you plant the seeds until the seedlings are 6 inches high and well rooted to keep crows and blue jays from having a feast at your expense.

Transplant into Moist Soil

Make sure you are setting your vegetable and flower transplants out in moist (but not soggy soil) for the most stress-free establishment. If the soil is dry, water the planting area the day before you plan to put plants in the garden. Also water the transplants in their pots a few hours prior to them setting out. Choose a cool overcast day for transplanting, if possible, or set plants out in the evening.

Let the Soil Warm Before Mulching

Organic mulches such as straw, chopped leaves, or grass clippings are great for conserving soil moisture and keeping down weeds in the vegetable garden. But they also keep the soil cool. Wait until the soil has warmed up -- about a week after the last frost date in your area -- before spreading mulch.

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