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Your Regional Garden News - Zone 8

May 1 to May 31

 

Discover what you should be doing right now.  Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.  

Here's what's happening in your gardening region:

 

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    Learn about gardening with wildlife

    Gardening isn’t just about enjoying the beautiful flowers or eating the fruits of your labor, it’s also about creating habitat for other living creatures. Learn about how to lure butterflies to your garden by planting butterfly milkweed. This plant is a host plant for caterpillars and a nectar plant for adults; it can host an entire butterfly life cycle. Some wildlife you’d rather not encounter in the garden—including deer. There are ways to garden so that you don’t have to worry about deer eating everything in sight. Check out the article to learn more. Lastly, learn about how to garden to protect bee populations—an important part of our food chain.

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    Plant summer cutting flowers

    favorites for easy care elegance and a long life in a vase include zinnias, sunflowers, and strawflowers. If you haven’t made space in the garden for cutting flowers before, this year is the year to get growing. All of these flowers do require full sun, and will grow best with some support.

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    Plant some pole beans

    Beans need truly warm weather to grow and produce a prolific harvest. However, once the soil has warmed up, they’re ready to hit the ground running. Pole beans require support. Create a trellising system (or grab one from us) to give these plants a space to climb high. Pole beans give you great bang for your buck, in terms of square footage, because they can grow up instead of out. Kentucky Blue is a tried and true favorite. Scarlet Runner Beans are as pretty as they are tasty. They’re great kid’s garden plants. For a unique look on the plate, grow Purple King Beans.

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    Learn about small space gardening

    Planting is only the first step in gardening. Once everything’s in, you have to keep it alive! Mastering the technique of watering properly is probably the single most important thing to learn about gardening. There’s a fine line between watering too little, just right, and not enough. If you have a large garden, fast-draining soil, or problems with drought, drip irrigation is your friend. Learn how to install your own system. This will especially help with vegetable gardening. Another garden task coming up is shrub pruning, particularly for spring-blooming shrubs. You prune these right after they’re finished flowering which, for things like Azaleas and Forsythia, will be soon.

     
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    What you need to water the garden

    With days getting warmer, it’s time to think seriously about watering. Most warm-weather crops need to stay evenly moist in order to produce well. Use a watering wand to hand-water plants in the middle of raised beds or at the back of the garden. Consider installing drip irrigation in vegetable beds to maintain moisture. An irrigation timer will do the work for you of delivering water a few times a day during the hottest, driest times. As with stakes and cages for support, placing irrigation piping is easier before plants grow to be full sized. The time to build irrigation systems is now.

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