APRIL 28-MAY 4: In the garden, it's time to...

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Set vegetable seedlings out during the day, safe from wind and bright sun, and be prepared to bring them in at night because evening temperatures are still too cool.

Put safety first. Last week's choice of a photo generated more mail than any other column I've written since taking on this job. In response: No, you should never use power equipment in shorts and sandals. And I might also encourage wearing safety glasses with side shields. Even the smallest of spin trimmers can kick up sticks and stones, but lawn mowers and larger weed whackers are moving at about 200 mph at the tip of the blade or string. Take care to protect your ankles - they work too hard already holding you upright - and besides, how will you ever get your feet clean?

Toughen up your warm-season transplants. The best time to put tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants into the ground is when the soil is warm. This usually happens when the evening temperatures stay reliably above 55. And despite the summer air temps this week, the evenings are still variable. So it's best to do a little "seasoning" or "hardening-off." Set your little plants out during the day in an area that's protected from wind and bright sun, and be prepared to bring them in at night if the temperature drops. Do this for a few days before planting them in the ground, and they should be good to go.

Divide the daylilies. Although they look more ragged than usual this year (lots of premature sprouting before a snow), they are pretty healthy otherwise. Dig up large clumps, and split into two, three, four or even 20 separate plants, gently untangling the tubers before replanting in holes enriched with compost. All parts of the daylily plant are edible, so don't waste the ones that break off in the process. We're not talking about Easter lilies; those are not edible.

smccabe@pennhort.org

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).