Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


May, 2001
Regional Report

Support Tomatoes

Large-vined indeterminate tomatoes such as 'Big Boy' need strong, sturdy support to keep them off the ground. A 6-foot-tall post or a cage made of concrete-reinforcing mesh or similarly rigid material works well. The support should be installed while the plant is still small.

Mulch Vegetables

Mulch the vegetable garden to cut down on weeding chores and to help keep the soil cool and moist. Many materials, such as straw, double-shredded hardwood bark, aged chopped leaves, and newspaper topped with (herbicide-free) grass clippings, can be used successfully. Organic mulches can be dug in at the end of the season to help feed the soil.

Spring Bulb Care

Daffodils and tulips should be deadheaded, meaning remove faded flowers. But leave the foliage intact. Ugly as it may be, the foliage must be allowed to grow and then dry out, this rebuilds the bulb\'s strength so it can bloom again next year. Remove foliage only when it has browned, at least 6 weeks after bloom time.

Plant Foundation Shrubs

Consider planting some shorter, summer-blooming shrubs to jazz up your foundation area or add structure to a flower bed. Some cheerful little candidates include the assorted pink-flowered spireas, roses such as 'Bonica' or 'The Fairy', smaller hydrangeas such as 'Pia', or the delightful blue-flowered caryopteris. Remember not to plant them under the eaves of the house or they won't receive any rainfall.

Plant Tropicals

Add tropical flair to your garden by planting big, bold plants. Grow gigantic castor bean plants and romantic night-blooming moonflower vines from seed, pop in a few big-leafed and big-flowered cannas for contrast, and enjoy a container or two of pink-flowered mandevilla or tropical hibiscus for drama.


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