• July Gardening and Watering Tips for Southern California
    Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at
  • Keeping your garden and lawn properly hydrated during the dry summer months in Southern California can be a challenge, but simple watering and planting tips will enable your plants to thrive in July and beyond.

    Know When to Water: Watering while the sun is up means some water will be lost to evaporation. When using automatic watering programs, set watering for morning--ideally between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. By watering in the morning instead of night, you will reduce the chance of mildew and other diseases from occurring.

    Tricks to Conserve Water: Ideally, use drip irrigation, soaker hoses or other water-conserving methods in vegetable and flower gardens. Besides heat levels, low humidity, extra sunny days and wind can cause plants to need more extra water. Soil type also plays a role--clay soil retains moisture while water slips through sandy soil. A layer of mulch around (but not touching) plants keeps the ground cooler and allows it to better retain moisture. Generally, gardens should receive about two to three inches of water a week. When watering, deeply soak each plant. That way, roots will learn to grow deep within the soil. Light watering encourages roots to remain near the surface where one good heat spell could mean disaster for the plant. If plant leaves are sagging in the morning, water immediately. If they sag in the afternoon--don't worry. This is a natural occurrence even for well-watered plants.

    Increase Crop Production: To keep vegetable plants producing for the next month or more, don't let vegetables remain on the plant past picking time. Pick them even if you don't plan to use them immediately. Vegetables that remain unpicked past their prime send a signal to the plant that inhibits further blossoming. July is when plants are heavily producing vegetables. You may want to check plants every day for ripened vegetables especially fast-growing beans, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes and tomatoes.

    Keep Herbs From Going to Seed: Just like any plant, herbs want to seed in summer. Pinch any sign of flowers immediately from herbs such as basil and cilantro. This will keep leaves soft and prevent a strong or bitter taste.

    Stagger Your Garden Flowers: Stop by your local nursery and stock up on annuals such as marigolds, petunias, zinnias, impatiens, cosmos, California poppy, chrysanthemum, phlox, snapdragon and sunflowers for a full summer blooming season. Remove dead flowers immediately to ensure constant blooming during summer. Intersperse the garden with summer-to-fall bloomers like African daisies, alyssum, red sage, verbena, vinca and poppies to ensure a full garden into October or later. Check with your nursery to find out what grows best in your area.

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  • Mulch along the 118!
    Monday, June 20, 2011 at
  • Notice the 8,000 cubic yards of mulch along the 118 Freeway at the Yosemite Ave. exit? Caltrans placed the order for Agromin mulch, the City of Simi Valley approved the project and Clear Cut Landscaping spread it along the "looped" on- and off-ramp area and adjacent to Yosemite Ave. Clear Cut also planted trees that will eventually beautify the interchange. A big improvement!

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  • Agromin-Sponsored Schools Excel in 2011 TrashARTist Challenge
    Monday, June 13, 2011 at
  • After months of hard work and creative inspiration by school kids around Orange County, the winners of the 2011 TrashARTist Challenge were announced this month. Their artwork needed to be made entirely from recycled materials. Judges considered the degree in which recycled materials were used and the strength of the artwork's sustainability message. Any kind of recycled material was welcomed. Entries also included a video, PowerPoint or photos that conveyed the artwork's sustainability story.

    Artwork ranged from dresses and fashion accessories made from recycled cans and plastic bags to a nine foot horse made from a recycled windmill, metal, patio lights and buckets.

    Agromin sponsored student entries from Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Westminster, Cypress and Garden Grove. Individual students, student groups and classes participated in the contest. Here is a list of winners. Congratulations to all!

    Art Award Winners:
    Grades 3-5: St. Callistus Catholic School (sponsored by Agromin)
    Grades 6-8: Orange County High School of the Arts
    Grades 9-12: Dana Hills High School

    Sustainability Awards:
    Grades 3-5: Red Hill Elementary School
    Grades 6-8: Walker Junior High
    Grades 9-12: Godinez High School

    People’s Choice Winners:
    Grades 3-5: International Christian Montessori Academy of Costa Mesa
    Grades 6-8: Cox ESP (sponsored by Agromin)
    Grades 9-12: Rancho Alamitos High School (sponsored by Agromin)

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  • Rancho Alamitos High School Leads "People’s Choice" in Orange County TrashArt Challenge
    Monday, June 6, 2011 at
  • Karen Doles is a perfect blend of energy, excitement and enthusiasm for the art students she teaches at Rancho Alamitos High in Garden Grove. Agromin proudly sponsored "Rancho”" in the 2011 OCCGI TrashArtist challenge.

    Mrs. Doles explained the art challenge to her Crafts 2 class and they immediately started the process of intense planning, strategizing and transforming collected recycled items and trash into an extraordinary set of panels representing "Recycled Alice in Wonderland."

    The class divided into seven teams and each took a character or characters from the "Alice in Wonderland" story and created 3-D displays made from discarded materials: a metal trash can, plastic doll parts, old shoes, upholstery, cans, bottles, and discarded paper and plastic products.

    "Even the boards the art was created on were recycled lumber," said Doles. "The students collected trash and recycled items from their families, students and the school. They wanted to make sure the characters were 100% recyclables or trash items and that they had dimension."

    The students succeeded: the universal response to their panels was to reach out and touch each board., along with comments such as "oh look, that’s a part of a tennis shoe," and "are those doll legs?" The boards were put on display in the school’s office for a week. Doles also set up an exhibit in the office’s foyer about the project: the steps outlining the process of creating each board as well as samples of the materials her students used.

    Their creation is currently on display at the MUZEO museum in Anaheim and is a finalist OCCGI TrashArt Expo to be held June 8.

    Congratulations to Rancho Alamitos High on a great job!

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