Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2011
Regional Report

Grow Veggies in Containers

If you decide to grow vegetables in containers, make sure the container you use is well drained and sturdy enough not to blow over. For larger vegetables like tomatoes and squash, give the roots plenty of room in a large pot or the plant will be stunted. Check for water needs daily.

Harvest Asparagus and Rhubarb

Asparagus and rhubarb should be coming in now. Harvest asparagus when the spears are eight to ten inches long. Continue harvesting until the spears that come up are smaller around than your little finger. Harvest rhubarb the same way. When the new stalks become spindly, stop harvesting until fall.

Buy a Rain Gauge

One of your most invaluable tools is a rain gauge. Invest in a good one and put it out now to check after every rain. Most plants need about an inch of water a week, and if rain doesn't provide this, you need to irrigate. Instead of relying on your memory or the weather announcer, use a gauge for accuracy.

Plant Succession Crops

Don't forget to succession crop. You can sow seeds of most vegetables every two weeks to give you a continual harvest all summer. Cool-season crops will begin to wane, but carrots, beets, bush beans and onions for scallions will all continue to give you tasty vegetables for the table all summer.

Plant Warm-Season Annuals

Time to put out the warm-season annual flowers and vegetables. Make sure to harden them appropriately before planting out. Don't assume garden stores and nurseries have done the hardening for you -- ask them. If not hardened, expose the plants gradually to sun and wind over several days.


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