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Get your green thumbs into high gear

Use a hoe to tackle weeds. This handy tool keeps from bringing weed seeds to the surface where they can sprout.
Use a hoe to tackle weeds. This handy tool keeps from bringing weed seeds to the surface where they can sprout. HGTV

Did a weed explosion hit your garden? Recent warm and wet weather spurred rapid growth. Don’t let these unwelcome invaders 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. Once weeded, blanket the soil with mulch. That helps conserve moisture, too.

Elsewhere in the April garden:

▪  Want veggies? 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 gladioli. They’ll add color to the garden and 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.

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