Where did those weeds come from? This time of year, these unwanted invaders seem to spring up overnight.
Don’t let them take over your garden. Pull them out before they flower. Think of them as little green thieves, stealing water, space and nutrients from desirable garden neighbors.
The best way to remove most weeds is with a hoe. Whack them so the blade hits just under the weed’s crown, about 1 inch below ground level. This method causes less soil disruption and keeps from bringing more weed seed to the surface where it can sprout. That means fewer weeds this summer.
Once weeded, blanket the soil with mulch to retain soil moisture and keep weeds from quickly resprouting.
▪ This is a busy planting month. In the vegetable garden, you can plant seeds for lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, cucumbers, endive, fennel, jicama, melons, mustard, okra, potatoes, radish, soybeans, spinach, summer and winter squash, turnips and watermelon.
▪ Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings. Plant seed potatoes.
▪ Start to set out tomatoes as ground temperatures warm. Tomatoes need nighttime temperatures above 50 degrees. Wait on peppers and eggplants until early May; they like it hotter.
▪ Plant summer bulbs including dahlias, lilies and gladioluses. They’ll add color to the garden as well as make great bouquets.
▪ Flowers that can be planted from seed directly into the garden include alyssum, aster, celosia, cosmos, four o’clocks, marigold, morning glory, periwinkle, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, verbena and zinnia.
▪ Fertilize shrubs and trees once during spring with a slow-release fertilizer. Always deeply water plants first before applying any fertilizer.
▪ Feed citrus with a low dose of a balanced fertilizer (all three macro-nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium – are the same percentage, such as 12-12-12) during bloom to help set fruit.
▪ Apply chelated iron to azaleas and camellias if leaves are yellowing between the veins.