Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

New England

May, 2009
Regional Report

Set Out a Few Tomato Plants

There's still a good chance we'll get a cold snap, but if you're a gambler, try planting a few of your tomato seedlings in the garden. Use purchased cloches or Wall O' Waters, or wrap a tomato cage with plastic to shelter the plants from the wind. Be prepared to cover the plants if temperatures drop into the 40s.

Plant Cool-Tolerant Annuals

Petunias, snapdragons, and annual dianthus can all withstand a light frost. Harden off purchased plants over the course of a week, then go ahead and plant them in garden beds and containers. If an unusual, late hard freeze is expected, cover the plants.

Till, But Not Too Much

Before tilling, pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it. If it remains in a ball or if you can squeeze moisture out, it is too wet to till. Till as little as possible because overtilling breaks down soil structure and, ironically, can lead to compaction.

Try Some New Annual Vines

If you've covered that trellis with morning glories every year, why not try something different? Or try a combination? Options include scarlet runner beans, firecracker vine (Mina lobata), black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia), and purple bell vine (Rhodochiton). Match the vigor of the vine to its support; runner beans need a sturdy support; black-eyed Susan vines are less rampant.

Press Some Pansies

Violas, johnny jump-ups, and pansies are coming into their full glory now. Harvest the most perfect flowers for pressing to use on notecards or in framed arrangements. Use a special plant press, or simply place the flowers between the pages of a phone book, then place some heavy books on top.


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