Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2001
Regional Report

Thin Fruit Trees


Check fruit trees for crowded or badly placed shoots and rub off buds and small shoots that are growing in the wrong direction. For fruit trees that produce clusters of fruit, such as Asian pears, peaches, and apples, pinch out all but one per cluster to put energy into ripening the remaining fruit.


Mulch Time


The soil is warming and air temperatures climbing, so it's time to begin mulching vegetables. A thick straw mulch will keep down weeds and hold in moisture. It also helps keep soil temperatures cool, stops erosion, and gently feeds plants as it decomposes.

Harvest Cool-Season Vegetables


Harvest peas, lettuce, and spinach regularly to keep the plants producing as long as possible. However, as soon as these crops begin to bolt or decline, pull them out and plant warm-season crops such as bush beans and cucumbers.

Support Your Tomatoes


Stake or cage tomato plants before they get too big. Determinate tomatoes that grow to about 2 feet tall and stop provide the highest yields if caged. Indeterminate tomatoes that keep growing need much taller supports, such as a trellis or bamboo tepee laced with jute twine.

Keep the Lawn Healthy


Continue to mow lawns to a height of 3 inches and leave the clippings. The first flush of dandelion flowers should be finished, so now we can focus on other broadleaf weeds such as plaintain. You can spot-treat remaining weeds with vinegar or boiling water poured directly into the crown.

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