Seasonal Tips for Gardening Zones April-May 2003

Carol Mack shares important seasonal tips for gardening zones in New England/Maritime Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Interior, the Gulf Coast, Central/Midwest, North Central and Rockies, Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.


| April/May 2003



Planting and germination of seeds.

Planting and germination of seeds.


DAVID CAVAGNARO

Learn about current April and May seasonal tips for gardening zones in the U.S.

New England/Maritime Canada Gardening

Once main the snows have receded and the ground is warming. Garlic and bunching onions lead the way with early, shoots — check for any that may be caught under the mulch. Fall-planted spinach, cilantro, kale, wild arugula and mâche love the warmth and the spring rain. Direct-seed additional greens and lettuce, and protect oriental greens and brassicas from flea beetles with row corers. Try a crop of fava beans. These big-seeded legumes thrive in the cold spring soil and will be ready to harvest and shell in July. For a real Mediterranean treat, sauté favas with a bit of olive oil and spring onion and garlic greens. Greenhouse shelves are brimming, but make room for cucurbit starts (squash, melons and gourds). In the orchard, remove mouse guards and check for damage. Finish pruning and top-dress fruit trees, shrubs and brambles with well-rotted manure or compost.

Mid-Atlantic Gardening

Time to transplant — get cut those trowels! We try to have the best portion of our brassicas in the ground (under row cover) by tax day, along with a brave few early tomatoes. Remove old kale. Mustard and turnip plants before harlequin bugs have a chance to reproduce, and plant successions of radishes, peas, lettuce. spinach, beets, carrots and Chinese greens. In late April, start summer squash, cucumbers and long-season gourds in newspaper pots (made by wrapping newspaper around a cup, sliding the cup Out and Finding the newspaper with paper tape). Hill soil around potatoes when they are ankle high. In May, plant summer greens. "Rainbow" Swiss chard and "Dandy" red orach produce colorful, long-lasting crops. Transplant main-season tomatoes. peppers and eggplants four days after the whippoorwill first sings and finish when oak leaves are quarter sire. Peppers and tomatoes thrive in hay/straw mulch — but not eggplants because the mulch encourages flea beetles.

Southern Interior Gardening

Good things are beginning to happen in the garden. Take advantage of these pretty April days to start working on your garden spots to get ready for the summer bounty. Maybe you are having visions of salad — those early tomatoes, lettuces and radishes are ready for transplanting. After the last frost has passed, the heat-loving vegetables you started indoors (cucumbers, tomatoes peppers and squash) can be moved to their new homes. Use this time to get your plants established. A steady diet of water will help new shrubs and trees get those roots going. Sow annual flowers and vegetables — they will take off as the air begins to Warm Up. Don't forget to assess the success of your spring bulb planting. Make notes now, while it's still fresh in your mind, and keep those notes where you can find them at bulb-ordering time.

Gulf Coast Gardening

Some crops, such as Southern peas and okra, demand warm temperatures before they will really take off. Now's the time to begin planting these. Its not too late to plant more bush beans, summer squash, melons, peppers, eggplants. marigolds, zinnias, gomphrena, rudbeckia, coleus and caladiums. If you've waited this long to plant tomatoes, consider choosing heat-tolerant cherry tomatoes or rapid-maturing varieties like "Early Girl." Check crops such as green beans and tomatoes for spider mites. They are especially severe in years when we have a dry spring. If you catch mites early, keep them in check with a high-pressure water spray or a low-toxicity spray like wettable sulfur.

This is a critical time to spray fruit and nut trees. Many Cooperative Extension offices have organic or low-toxicity spray guides available. Pests like plum curculio and brown rot are relentless when it comes to stone fruits like plums and peaches.





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