Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2004
Regional Report

Tool or Gardening Product

Long-Handled Fork
For heavy-duty digging -- transplanting large plants, turning in amendments, or removing large clumps of perennials or stumps -- I depend on my long-handled fork. Unlike a shovel, the fork allows you to dig a large mass of soil without creating a shear face on the side of the hole, and to easily break apart the dirt clump without compression. In addition, using a fork to do a lot of work is generally easier on your back than using a shovel. Be sure to get a fork with 4 square tines; the ones with 5 round, thin tines are designed for working with hay.

Clever Gardening Technique

Sunflower Stalks
Save the stalks of tall sunflowers -- stripped of their branches and leaves -- to use next year as trellises for peas and beans. Tall, straight branches of apricot trees also can be used.

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