• Recycle Those Christmas Trees!
    Thursday, December 29, 2011 at

  • Christmas trees throughout Ventura County and parts of Los Angeles County and Orange County will soon be collected at curbside and sent to Agromin. The trees are cleaned of tinsel and ornaments, chopped and will eventually find their way to local farms and into consumer products in the form of mulch. In as little as 60 days, trees go from being the center of holiday festivities to mulch used on farmland and in backyard gardens. Everything is recycled. This process closes the "recycling loop" and keeps the trees out of landfills.

    You can do your part to make the recycling process easier:

    --remove all ornaments, tinsel, nails and the tree stand
    --cut the tree in half and put it in your green recycling container at curbside within two weeks after Christmas--or take the tree to your local green recycling center. Contact your local waste hauler for any specific instructions or options
    --flocked trees cannot be recycled

    New this year: Agromin is partnering with Noble Mountain, which supplied Christmas trees to 32 Home Depots in Southern California. Agromin will collect unsold Christmas trees from the stores and make them into mulch. Also new this year, some trees will be delivered to Mt. Poso Co-Generation Plant in Bakersfield where they will be turned into biofuel to create electrical energy. This means more Christmas trees will be recycled than ever before--either for use as mulch or for electricity!

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  • Prepare for Southern California Spring Gardens in January
    Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at

  • With the average January rainfall in Southern California at about three inches, gardeners have opportunities this month to spend time outdoors preparing their yards for the spring growing season, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material from more than 50 Southern California communities.

    Plant Dormant Trees: January is the perfect month to plant dormant trees. Plants that go dormant in winter (stop growing and lose leaves) include most deciduous trees such as maples, poplars, ashes, birches and oaks. Your local nursery should have a variety of these plus bare root rose, vine and fruit trees including apricot, plum, apple, pear and peach. Add organic compost planting mix to existing soil when planting so the soil is the right consistency to receive nutrients and water. Stay away from planting citrus and avocado trees if frost is a concern.

    Prune Dormant Trees: Prune dead, diseased limbs or overgrowth. Doing so strengthens the remaining branches and encourages new, stronger growth in the spring. Remove any new growth at the tree's base or unwieldy stems from branches. Avoid pruning large, well-established branches. This can cause stress on the tree and stunt growth. Now is your opportunity to shape the tree so it looks its finest in spring. Winter is also a good time to trim evergreens.

    Use Mulch as A Defense Against Weeds: Only a small amount of rain can mean an onslaught of new weed growth. Place a three-to-four-inch layer of mulch in garden beds and other landscaped areas. The mulch will prevent sunlight from penetrating the soil and keep weed seeds from sprouting. By adding mulch now and eliminating new weed growth, you'll be saved from the hassle of pulling weeds in spring. Mulch also helps to regulate soil temperature so frost damage is less of a worry.

    Add Color to Your Flower Garden: There is no reason why your garden can't be in full bloom in winter. Add cool-season annuals including pansies, snapdragons, linaria and calendulas. These flowers can withstand temperatures in the low to mid 30s.

    Maintain Your Winter Garden: By now, some of your cool-season vegetables including peas, lettuce and spinach should be producing their crop. Pick these vegetables continuously to promote more vegetable growth. There is still time to plant artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and strawberries for a late spring, early summer harvest.

    Plant Your Living Christmas Tree: Once the holidays are over, move your living Christmas tree outdoors as soon as possible. Only keep these trees indoors for 7 to 10 days. Staying inside longer could result in the tree breaking dormancy, preventing it from surviving once moved outside. After Christmas, place the tree outdoors in a shaded area for a few days before finding a sunny, well-draining location for planting.

    Recycle Your Cut Christmas Tree: Many cities offer curbside Christmas tree collection during the two weeks following Christmas. Remove all ornaments, lights and tinsel, saw the tree in half and place the tree in your green materials recycling barrel. If you live in a city without curbside tree recycling, check with your waste collector for a drop off location. Every year, Christmas trees are recycled into mulch that is then used in agriculture and in home and business landscaping.

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

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  • Westminster High School Takes Delivery of Agromin Organic Soil
    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at

  • Westminster HS FFA president Oke Iyeke and Agromin soil 

    Agromin has recently formed a partnership with Westminster High School's Agriculture/Future Farmers of America program. The program is under the direction of teacher Dave Eusantes. Agromin delivered 200 cubic yards of premium organic soil that will be worked into the existing soil in the orchard area of the school's eight-acre farm. The orchard grows avocados, citrus and some persimmons. Agromin will soon deliver top dressing mix for the same area to help stop weeds from returning, save water and prevent soil erosion.  
    Oke and ag teacher Dave Eusantes  

    In addition to its orchard, the school farm features an acre of pasture land, a two-acre plot used each year for a pumpkin patch and a half acre planting area for produce, vegetables and flowers. A former student built animal pens and a barn as an Eagle Scout project.
    Westminster High School has an amazing ag program. Agromin is honored to help!

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  • Despite The Cold, Lee Elementary School Garden is Growing
    Monday, December 19, 2011 at

  • Despite the cold, pea and radish seeds have germinated in the garden at Lee's Elementary School in Los Alamitos! All the seeds were planted in donated Agromin premium garden soils.
    Teacher Renee Keeler and her students carefully dug one pea seed out and put it under the document camera to observe how the root was so much longer than the tiny sprout above. They also made notes that the broccoli plants had a bit of frost damage, but were still alive--which made the students truly happy. (They have become quite protective about their seedlings!)

    Lee's garden beds get very little sun during the winter, so students are thankful that winter crops grow, despite the lack of sunshine. By the time the students return in January from winter break, their carrots will also have germinated and be on their way for a successful late spring harvest. 

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