Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2011
Regional Report

Sharpen Tools

Dedicate a corner of your garage or garden shed as a tool care station. You will need a sharpening stone, a small metal file, lubricating oil and sandpaper to remove rust from blades.
Sharp shears make clean cuts, so keep your tools in good condition with regular maintenance. High quality garden tools will last many years when they are properly maintained.

Recycle and Reuse!

Save money by recycling and reusing terra-cotta pots and plastic containers. Brush off any lose soil, then rinse with a hose. To remove built-up salt residue and make old clay pots look like new, simply run them through the dishwasher.

Turn Saucers Upside Down

To prevent root rot in container plants and to keep them from sitting in water, turn the saucers upside down until the end of the rainy season.
Self-watering pots should be kept under eaves to prevent accidental drowning.

Maintain Automatic Irrigation Clocks

Automatic sprinkler systems should be shut down until the end of the rainy season. Check clocks and lubricate mechanisms with WD-40 to keep them in good working order until next season.

Plant Cover Crops

Planting cover crops will add nitrogen to fallow vegetable beds. Fava beans and peas will take nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots. When the soil warms and spring planting season rolls around again, all you need to do is to cut down the cover crop and rototill it into the existing soil. Cover crops are also known as "green manures".

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