• Harvest Summer Vegetables; Start Planning for Southern California Fall Garden
    Monday, July 30, 2012 at

  • Southern California gardeners are busy harvesting summer vegetables in August, but it's also the time to start planning for a fall garden.

    Pick Your Summer Vegetables: Even if you don't have a green thumb, by giving only scant attention (but plenty of water) to zucchini, squash and tomato plants you will be rewarded with an almost continuous supply of vegetables during August. Make sure you pick vegetables regularly to stimulate more growth so the plants continue to produce through the fall.        

    Plant Your Fall and Winter Vegetables: It's too late to plant summer crops, but it is time to plant seeds or starter plants that produce cool-season vegetables such as green onions, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, radishes and beets. The seeds and young plants will benefit from August's warm soil. If planting seeds in flats, put the flats in partial shade to avoid the direct August heat. Transplant the seedlings into the garden when they are about 4 inches tall. 

    Water Smart: Even drought tolerant and native plants need plenty of water in the heat of summer. Give them a good soak at least twice a week. Potted plants are especially susceptible to the ravages of heat. If they still wilt after daily watering, consider moving the pots to shade or partial shade locations until the weather cools. Water in the early morning hours to reduce evaporation and water longer so the water has a chance to travel deeper into the soil. Cover your soil with a layer of mulch to better hold in moisture.
    Prune Roses: Remove droopy flowers and hips. Prune roses only lightly--enough to stimulate new flower growth into the fall. Water regularly.

    Get Ready to Harvest Onions: Home grown onions have a stronger flavor than the onions you'll find at the store. A rule of thumb is to stop watering bulb onions when the foliage begins to dry. When most of the foliage has wilted and fallen over, bend the rest down to the ground and wait another two weeks before harvesting. Once harvested, let them sit in the sun for a day. Spread them out in a dry, non-sunny location for two more weeks. This will ensure that the outer layers are free from moisture and prevent black fungus from growing on the onions.

    Protect Fruit From Predators: Put bird netting on fruit trees two or three weeks before the fruit begins to ripen. This will keep birds from feasting on the tree fruit. Use rocks or bricks to hold down the netting so birds, rabbits or squirrels can't accidently get trapped inside. 

    Plant For Color and Fragrance: August is a good time to plant bushes and trees that add color and fragrance to your garden just about year round. For a dash of color, consider begonia, impatiens, oleander, Chinese hibiscus and firebush. For fragrance, plant gardenias, jasmine and lilac. 


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  • Getting Ready For A Fall Garden at Lee Elementary School
    Thursday, July 26, 2012 at

  • Soon to be a flourishing garden at Lee Elementary School.

    While it currently looks more like a construction zone than an elementary schoolyard and garden area, by the time school starts in the fall, Lee Elementary School in Los Alamitos will have new garden beds filled with Agromin premium organic soil. The school is in the middle of a modernization project that will make the garden better than ever! Each year, teacher Renee Keeler's second grade classroom is filled with highly enthusiastic young gardeners who love to work in the soil.

    Ms. Keeler says she can't wait to get the new beds in, filled with planting mix and ready for the students to start their "farm production" in September.

    Agromin has been a large supporter and donor to Lee Elementary School in the past and is looking forward to helping out again this fall.  The kids also get a lesson in sustainability since the planting mix is made from green materials collected from residents and landscapers, then cleaned, shopped and composted into rich, organic soil material.

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  • Pumpkin Patch Ready to Go
    Thursday, July 19, 2012 at

  • July is the time to plant pumpkin plants if you want pumpkins by Halloween. Students at Westminster High School are right on schedule.

    Each year, students plant a pumpkin patch and use the pumpkin harvest as a major fundraiser for their farm and FFA projects. This year's patch used mulch donated from Agromin to ensure the patch produces a bumper crop!

    Shown are the pumpkin seeds that have sprouted in six pack planters and are ready for planting. Many of the plants were placed in the ground on Saturday, July 14, and received their first "drink" from the drip sprinkler system.

    The patch is popular each year and is easily seen by hundreds of thousands of people who travel the 405 freeway each day as it winds through Westminster next to the high school. We'll check in on how the plants and pumpkins are doing as we get closer to October.

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  • An 8-Acre Farming Oasis in Westminster
    Monday, July 16, 2012 at

  • Westminster High's Farm sits right next to the 405 Freeway.

    Alongside the 405 Freeway, one of the most congested and highly traveled freeways in the country, is eight acres of farmland tended by Westminster High School agricultural science/Future Farmers of America (FFA) students. This program is a unique way for students to learn and understand where food comes from. The farm operates year-round and is almost completely self-supporting with much of the funding coming from the projects available to the students. Students can take on supervised agriculture projects, choosing from an animal (pig, goats, steer, lamb, poultry), plant (potted, row crops, fruit trees) or mechanic (welding, farm power) assignment.

    Agromin, producer of premium organic soils and mulches, donated over 5 tons of premium organic mulch to the farm to use in its programs. 

    Christy Ly raises chickens through the FAA program.
    Oke Iyeke is Westminster's FFA Chapter President.

    Pictured above is Oke Iyeke, a sophomore at the school, and current Westminster High FFA Chapter President. Oke is showing a steer named "Agent 1008" (he never gives his fair animals names so it's easier at auction time) at the Orange County Fair, which opened July 13. Christy Ly was recruited to the program while still in junior high. She joined the show competition team and raises chickens. Ana Chavez is also a participant in the program and is showing a steer named "Flirty." 

    Each of the students spends at least an hour each day at the farm in the mornings and evenings feeding and watering their animals and practicing showmanship techniques. Some of the students travel to the school by city bus from miles away to care for their animals including Ana who rides the bus 25 minutes each way to get to the farm. She loves being in the program and her dream and goal is to become a veterinarian. 

    Besides Oke, Westminster High FFA Chapter officers are vice president Amber Sager, secretary Jennifer Cerda and treasurer/reporter Nick Adamson. All are busy planning activities for the chapter's upcoming year. Oke hopes to increase the number of students in the program, particularly since this is its 40th anniversary at Westminster High.

    Congratulations to WHS FFA on its achievement of 40 years of success and good luck at the OC Fair!

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  • Neighbors Enjoy Summer Crop From School Garden in Los Alamitos
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at

    The Lee Elementary School garden, cultivated by second graders at the school in Los Alamitos, was a big success this past school year. Agromin was happy to donate its premium organic soil and mulches as well as bunches of vegetable seed to the garden project.

    The eight beds provided a bounty of vegetables. The students even put in a "green wall" of climbing peas. The last harvest of the school year just ended and through the summer, neighbors will stop by and pick the remaining veggies from the plants.

    Congratulations to Mrs. Keeler's class on another very successful gardening year!

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  • "The Garden Show" a Hit at Lee Elementary School
    Monday, July 9, 2012 at

  • Renee Keeler's second graders at Lee Elementary School in Los Alamitos performed quite a production at the all-school celebration called Special Persons' Day. This is a year-end event featuring performances by all grade levels. This year, Mrs. Keeler's class put on three performances of "The Garden Show," a creation of Bad Wolf Press.

    "The Garden Show" is a 25-minute play about what happens when "aliens" land in a local garden. 
    After aliens from planet "Chlorophyll" land in a garden, they meet some new friends who teach them all about about soil, photosynthesis, pollination and the creatures who call the garden their home.

    We are pretty sure this is the only garden-related play in any universe that features a singing compost pile! 

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