Southwestern Deserts

February, 2005
Regional Report

Books

Citrus
In Citrus; Complete Guide to Selecting & Growing More than 100 Varieties for California, Arizona, Texas, the Gulf Coast and Florida (Ironwood Press, 1996; $17.95), author Lance Walheim provides a wealth of info. The book covers the history of citrus (Columbus brought it to the New World on his second voyage); planting, watering, and fertilizing; and details on varieties of oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pummelos, tangelos, kumquats, citrons, and various hybrids.

Tool or Gardening Product

Compost Thermometer
This is a handy tool for the serious composter, or just a fun gadget for those who enjoy composting. Its long stem allows you to poke it into the center of the compost pile to monitor temperatures. The hotter the pile, the faster the organic matter will decompose. Sustained temperatures of 160 to 180 degrees F. for several days are required to kill weed seeds and pathogens. When the temperature starts to drop, that's the signal that it's time to turn the pile again to introduce more oxygen for those zillions of microorganisms decomposing your organic matter into rich compost!

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