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TOMATO TRANSPLANTING ... The Santa Clara County Master Gardeners say May is the time to transplant tomatoes into the garden when the weather stays warm long enough for the soil to warm up. The plants grow well when the roots have a reasonably warm environment, 60 degrees or higher. Soil in pots and raised beds warms up before the ground. Troubleshooting problems: Tomatoes can develop a condition called blossom end rot, where the bottom of the tomato looks brown. This is due to a low level of calcium in the fruit and is usually related to inconsistent watering for carrying the calcium through the plant. So make sure to water your plants regularly right from the start; don't allow the root zone to dry out or remain saturated.

WHO KNEW? ... Planning a party as the weather warms up? No need to stock up on paper goods or head to a party supply store or rental, at least if you live in Palo Alto! Whatever type of gathering you are planning, a barbecue, a birthday celebration, pool party, use a free "Zero Waste Party Pack." Party packs come with complete table settings for 24 people, including plates, bowls, tumblers, utensils and cloth napkins. Learn more at You can borrow a party pack from a Zero Waste Block Leader near you. Most block leaders have party packs available for you to borrow. If not, they'll get you in touch with a block leader who does. Connect with your block leader at

REPAIR YOUR STUFF ... The Museum of American Heritage will hold a "repair cafe" on May 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your broken stuff and team up with repair volunteers to get it working again. Learn valuable "fix-it" skills: how to diagnose problems, tricks on taking things apart so you can put them back together again, where to find repair solutions. Bring clothes, bikes, computers, small appliances, lamps, mechanical items, small furniture, jewelry or whatever you can carry. For more information go to Future repair cafes will be held Aug. 28 and Oct. 30.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details