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It is time to get planting
May 10, 2012, 05:00 AM By Joan Tharp

Nice weather is here, and this is a busy time in the garden. In the vegetable garden, now through mid-May is the time to plant tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings. Plant seeds of bush beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, green onions, radishes, squash and pumpkin.

In the flower garden, apply an acid-type fertilizer to azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons after they have finished blooming. Now’s the time to prune them, too. (A good way to remember when to prune your flowering perennials is to note when they have stopped blooming — and prune them then). Plant seeds of summer-flowering plants, such as cosmos and zinnia. If you prefer to plant seedlings, you’ll find plenty of summer-blooming annuals and perennials at your local nursery.

This is prime time for roses. They are blooming madly, and they haven’t yet been attacked by the  dreaded diseases of black spot and rust. Pick off any leaves that have been hit by black spot or rust. If aphids show up, knock them off with a blast of water from the hose (Be careful not to knock off rose buds in the process. Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you).

We’re heading into our dry season, so make sure the garden is prepared for proper watering. If you rely on a drip irrigation system, make sure it is working properly. Are all sprinkler heads working and emitting the right amount of water? Are there cracks or breaks in the tubing? Are all parts of the garden being watered? Are you watering your driveway and sidewalk, too? (This is something I often come  across when I go for a walk in my neighborhood: concrete taking a nice, long shower).  

Happy gardening!

Mark your calendars: It’s nearly time for the 2012 Master Gardener Educational Garden Tour sponsored by Master Gardeners of San Mateo and San Francisco counties. The tour of six water-wise Peninsula gardens is set for June 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $20. Check our website for more the latest information visit

Joan Tharp is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener. She lives in San Mateo. She can be reached at

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