NOW IS THE TIME
Eunice Messner 714 281-3903
eunicemessner@yahoo.com


MAYBE IT'S TOO LATE?

If you waited, like I did, for most of the leaves to fall from your deciduous trees before you sprayed for disease control, then you have a decision to make: Forget spraying this year or go ahead and spray the tree even though some of the flowers have reached the pink bud stage. I went ahead and sprayed my "Tropic Snow" white peach even though it had a couple of open flowers the last week of December. The other peaches are near flowering too, as well as all my mangos. Much better conditions though than the frozen east coast.

I was so busy picking up fallen fruit, raking leaves and preparing for Christmas, I also neglected fertilizing my avocados before the buds started to form. December is supposed to be the best time to prune and fertilize them.

Cherimoyas are ripening faster than we can eat them. I did get around to wrap each fruit in a mesh bag and fasten it to the tree with a clothes pin to avoid letting the fruit fall. If you don't have a cherimoya tree, there is a way you can receive or give as a gift this exotic fruit. Jay Ruskey, past chair of the Central Coast chapter has a mail order
business. Contact is:
www.calimoya.com or call 805 685-4189.

STRAWBERRY PLANTING TIME

I usually wait until January to plant strawberries because they grow so much better with winter rains. (They take a lot of water to get them going.) Plenty of organic fertilizer and compost should be worked in the soil at least two weeks before planting. Place the plants in a double row about 12"s apart.


HOW TO KICK THE SUGAR HABIT

You know about eating Miracle fruit to make sour fruit sweet, but did you know if you ate a bite of green Sapodilla it would take away the flavor of anything sweet?

GOT MILK?

Agricultural Research in Brazil discovered that by heavily spraying, plants with powdery mildew, twice a week with a mixture of one part cow's milk to nine parts water, this is more effective in eliminating the mildew than chemical sprays. The potassium phosphate in milk boost the plant's immune system.

VERMICULITE

It has been found there is a low level of asbestos in straight vermiculite. Probably, no harm if you only buy it mixed in with potting soil. If not, consider changing over to pumice. I think pumice is a better product in any case. But, I still try to avoid breathing its dust, too.