Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2002
Regional Report

Choosing Carrot Varieties

When choosing carrot varieties, consider the heaviness of your soil. Sow short, stubby carrots in heavy clay soils, and longer tapered ones in looser sandy soil. Note that the slender tips of the tap roots will grow four to six inches further down than the thicker edible portion.

Paint Tree Trunks

To prevent sunburn damage -- which invites borers and other critters -- paint exposed trunks and large limbs of deciduous trees with off-white matte interior latex paint diluted half and half with water. Don't use glossy or outdoor paint because it will seal the pores on trunk and branches, suffocating the tree!

Apply Last Dormant Spray

Apply the last dormant spray before mid-month. The precise timing of this application is critical -- before the buds swell is too early, and after the blossoms open is too late. The ideal time is when the buds are swollen but don\\\'t yet show color. Once the buds open, the damage has already been done. To lessen the chance of brown rot, follow up this spraying with another when three-fourths of the petals have fallen.

Mow Lawns

Keep lawns mowed -- slow growth doesn't mean mowing isn't needed. The grass will go into shock if more than 25 percent of its new growth is mowed at one time. Keep mower blades sharp -- raggedly cut grass blades die back and invite diseases.

Moisturize While You Work

Give your hands a moisturizing treatment as you garden by lavishly spreading them with hand lotion or cream before putting on your gloves. Add extra cream under your fingernails. As you work, your hands will absorb the cream. When you remove the gloves, your hands will have benefited from the cream rather than suffered from the moisture-removing soil. In addition, the soil will be more easily washed from under your fingernails because the cream or lotion formed a barrier.

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