• How To Select A Christmas Tree
    Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at

  • 1. Check the delivery date Most pre-cut Christmas trees were cut several weeks before arriving on the lot. Ask the lot attendant when the trees were cut and delivered. Buy your tree early in the season for the best selection.

    2. "Drop test" for freshness To test for freshness, lift the tree a couple of inches off the ground and drop it on its trunk. If it's fresh, green needles should not shed.

    3. Pull on branchesAnother easy way to test for freshness is to hold a tree branch and lightly run your hand outwards. Very few needs should come off if the tree is fresh.

    4. Check the tree trunk Check the trunk for straightness. Securing a tree in a stand can be a challenge if the trunk is crooked. You also want to make sure that limbs can be removed without hurting the tree's shape.

    5. Inspect the Christmas tree for insects Check your Christmas tree thoroughly for egg masses, insects and other pests.

    6. Be mindful of where you set up your Christmas treeAvoid placing your tree near fireplaces, air ducts, radiators and other heat sources. For looks and safety, the ideal height for a Christmas tree is at least four feet below the ceiling height.

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  • Southern California Gardeners Can Take Time Off During December
  • Plants and gardeners can normally take the month of December off as cool weather brings growing to a near stop. Most plants and trees will survive the month nicely on their own. For die-hard gardeners, however, some work can still be done.

    Getting a Jump on Weeds: After a bone-dry summer, even a slight rain can cause weeds to spring to life. Remove them now by hand. The ground is soft after a rain so the work is easy. Once removed, cover the ground with about two inches of wood mulch. Mulch suppresses weed growth. Make sure the layer of mulch is thick enough so weeds cannot find an opportunity to find sunlight and grow. Eliminating weeds now will make it easier to keep weeds in check in spring and summer.

    Moist Soil and Ground Cover For Frost Protection: If you hear of a frost warning in your area, water your garden thoroughly before evening. The moisture from the soil will evaporate and warm the air around your plants and prevent the soil, roots and plants from freezing. Mulch also keeps soil and roots warmer than the air temperature and protects from frost damage.

    Plant Wildflowers: Toss handfuls of wildflower seeds throughout your flower garden--especially if you want a more natural garden look. California poppies, mariposa lilies, gypsophila and larkspur are just some of the many wildflower seeds found at local nurseries. Most nurseries will sell wildflower seed mixes that include many varieties. Once they take root, plants can provide flowers through early summer.

    Consider Native Plants: Native California plants grow in winter. Consult with your nursery for the best plants for your area. Native plants usually require little water after the first year and little, if any fertilizer. If you already have native plants in your garden, now is the time to prune them.

    Clean Up Debris: Collect fallen leaves and branches and compost them for mulch. Cover the compost pile with plastic or tarp to hold in heat and keep out rain. Fallen leaves can act as mulch when spread around flowerbeds. The leaves will keep mud from splashing on small plants during rain.

    Take care of potted plants: No need to bring potted plants indoors on particularly cold nights. Place them near your home, under patio covers or under trees for protection.

    For more gardening tips, go to http://www.agromin.com.

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  • Agromin Gives Away Six Tons of Pumpkins
    Friday, November 19, 2010 at

  • Agromin gave away 12,000 pounds (six tons) of pumpkins at the Wings, Wheels & Rotors Expo, October 24 at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. The pumpkins were grown in a one-acre pumpkin patch on the base. Agromin was a sponsor of the Expo that drew about 30,000 people.

    While at the Expo, kids could draw faces on their pumpkins at the Agromin booth as well as receive free green recycling activity booklets. Helping were high schoolers involved in the Buena Park High School chapter of the Future Farmers of America.

    Over 2,200 of these pumpkins were handed out at area schools including Mayflower Preschool, Lee Elementary, Los Alamitos Elementary and McGaugh Elementary School in Seal Beach.
    The Training Base pumpkin patch was grown with organic material collected from surrounding communities. The organic soil amendment supplied the otherwise fallow ground with nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. The pumpkin plants produced thousands of pumpkins that were given to the Expo visitors.

    Agromin soil productsare available at Rainbow Disposal (17121 Nichols St., Huntington Beach, Gate 7, 714-847-3581), Lakewood Nursery (4114 Lincoln Avenue, Cypress, 562-596-8514) or online at www.agromin.com.
  • Ventura's 2010 Green School Award Winner Is…..Portola Elementary School!
    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at

  • In celebration of America Recycles Day on November 15, the City of Ventura Environmental Services named Portola Elementary School as the winner of the fourth annual Green School Award for achievement in environmental excellence.
    Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton and Agromin CEO Bill Camarillo presented the award to Portola Elementary School at an all-school assembly (that's Bill on the left with Principal Robert Ruiz). Agromin partners with the city each year to help select the winning school. It also presents the school with a $500 cash prize.

    Portola Elementary was selected because of its impressive recycling program that helps to fund its Fifth Grade Outdoor Education program, according City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Christine Wied. The school has developed a culture of "it is easy to be green" through not only their recycling and waste reduction programs but also in their energy and water conservation.

    Special "Environmental Hero" recognition certificates will also be presented to De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts (DATA) for their environmental education programs; Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education for their environmental community action; Pierpont Elementary for waste reduction through gardening, composting and water conservation; and Saticoy Elementary for Climate Action through their strategies to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution around the school.

    Many public and private schools are making great efforts to help our environment. The City in partnership with Agromin, recognize and encourage these school efforts through the annual Green School Award.

    Agromin partners with the City of Ventura in another way too--it transforms the city's green materials into premium soil products that are then used locally on landscapes and farmland.

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  • Oxnard Residents Get Free Bag of Compost - Nov. 20
    Monday, November 8, 2010 at

  • Oxnard residents can pick up a free 1.5 cubic foot bag of compost as part of the city's celebration of "America Recycles Day," Saturday, November 20. The compost, great for outdoor planting, comes from Agromin, the city's organic materials recycler. The compost is made naturally from local green materials that are collected, cleaned, chopped and composted into rich, healthy soil products.

    Oxnard residents with proof of residency (drivers' license, utility bill) can come to the Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station (111 South Del Norte Blvd., Oxnard) from 9 a.m. to noon on November 20 to pick up compost. Four hundred bags will be given away.

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  • 3,000 Pumpkins And Counting…
    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at

  • The Los Alamitos Training Base pumpkin patch was a huge success! The pumpkin patch grew over 3,000 pumpkins that were then given away at the Wings, Wheels & Rotors Expo on October 24 and at schools throughout the area.

    Schools receiving the pumpkins included Mayflower Preschool, Lee Elementary, Los Alamitos Elementary and McGaugh Elementary School in Seal Beach.

    The pumpkin patch is a testament to the growing power of Agromin soil amendments. The organic amendments were mixed into the otherwise fallow ground at the base and gave the soil the nutrients needed for healthy plant growth.

    Of course, you don't need to plant a pumpkin patch to take advantage of Agromin products. For a complete line of Agromin soil products and purchase locations, go to www.agromin.

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