Something is stealing water in your garden: weeds! These unwanted plants also rob their neighbors of nutrients and try to block out the sun from competitors. Stop this theft now. Get to work and get weeds out before they grow any bigger or – worse yet – go to seed.
▪ Know what you’re fighting. According to master gardeners, the most common weeds in Sacramento County in late March include filaree, wild geranium, bedstraw and such annual grasses as foxtail, barley, wild oats and bluegrass.
▪ Get a hoe and keep it sharp. Instead of pulling weeds, use a sharp hoe to control these garden invaders. Cut the weeds off just under the root crown; aim for about a half-inch below soil level. That method disturbs soil less than pulling weeds and keeps new weed seeds from migrating to the surface where they can sprout.
▪ Get your garden beds in planting shape. Dig manure and compost into vegetable beds and let it mellow for two weeks before planting.
▪ Watch out for the bite. With warmer weather comes mosquito season. Empty standing water out of saucers under pots. Also, eliminate any other standing water that may have accumulated.
▪ In the vegetable garden, plant seeds for beets, carrots, celery, Swiss chard, endive, fennel, jicama, leaf lettuce, mustard, radishes and turnips.
▪ In the flower garden, plant aster, celosia, cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.
▪ Protect early, warm-weather transplants such as tomatoes and peppers with plastic 2-liter soda bottles or 1-gallon jugs. Cut off the bottom and leave the top open so the young plant can breathe.