Califonia Bountiful

Gardening to-do list for April/May

Apr./May 2012 California Bountiful magazine

There's a whole lot of planting going on here in California! Gardening expert Pat Rubin offers a few guidelines for the season, which will, of course, vary by location.


  • The first flush of bloom for roses is this month. Now is a good time to shop for them. Feed roses and make sure they are watered. Watch for mildew.
  • Once all chance of frost is past, start seedlings in the garden. Easy ones to start outside in the garden include cucumbers, summer squash, winter squash and beans.
  • Look around for containers filled with water, as these can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Dump the water.
  • Prune early blooming shrubs—lilacs, forsythia, azalea, quince, weigela—after they bloom.
  • Plant citrus now.
  • Transplant tomatoes, eggplant and peppers into the garden as weather warms. Keep row cover handy in case of cold weather.
  • Direct seed beets, chard and radishes in the garden.
  • Plant dahlia tubers.
  • Check sprinklers to make sure they are covering the ground evenly.
  • Start feeding houseplants on a monthly basis now through October.


  • Flower seeds to plant include cornflower, four o'clocks, marigolds, sunflowers and zinnias.
  • Deadhead perennials. Groom and stake them as needed.
  • Break off old flowers on rhododendrons just above the growth buds.
  • Direct seed melons, cucumber, summer squash, corn and beans.
  • Mulch around plants to conserve moisture. Be sure to leave a small circle of bare soil around each plant.
  • Fertilize vegetables monthly.
  • Pinch back petunias and fuchsias to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.
  • Keep your lawnmower set at the highest blade setting. This helps the lawn conserve water.

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