• May Is A Perfect Time to Plant in Southern California
    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at

  • Longer days in May mean more daylight hours to spend planting garden vegetables and flowers.

    Plant Herbs: Any serious chef knows that using fresh herbs when cooking makes everything taste better. Fresh herbs don't have to be expensive. Plat favorites such as basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and tarragon and harvest the leaves for cooking as you need them. Pinch back any signs of flowers to extend the life of the plant.

    Remove Aphids Naturally: Aphids are tiny bugs, usually green or black, that latch on to new plant growth and feed on plant sap. This causes new growth to curl. Ultimately, it can affect the health of the plant. Remove aphids naturally by focusing a strong spray of water on the aphids several times a day for a week. The aphids will have trouble reattaching to the plant. Also, try spraying a mixture of 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons dish soap onto the plant. Wait several hours and then rinse the plant with fresh water. Finally, introduce ladybugs to the garden. They feed on aphids. 

    Plant Annuals: Spring and summer are unique times to showcase flowers that only grow seasonally. These plants include begonia, chrysanthemum, geranium marigolds, zinnia, petunias, impatiens and sunflowers. If buying these plants from the nursery, select smaller sized plants with healthy green foliage. Plants that appear too big for their container will take longer to establish and not bloom as well as their healthier, smaller counterparts.

    Don't Over Water Your Lawn: As soon as the weather warms, many homeowners tend to over water their lawns. Soil under your lawn should be moist four to six inches below the service. Check by making a small hole in the lawn and test the moisture content with your finger. Another way to test for moisture is to simply step on the grass. If it flattens, you need to water. Water in the early morning, never during midday, so less water evaporates. Water less often, but longer. Deep watering allows roots to grow downward so they will be protected during hotter days.

    Thin Out Fruit Trees to Encourage Production: Fruit trees should be in full bloom during May. They typically produce more fruit than can grow to maturity. Some of the immature fruit will fall off naturally. Thin the remaining smaller, unhealthy-looking fruit from the branches. This will allow the stronger fruit to thrive.

    Plant Your Veggies: If you haven't done so already, plant vegetables now to enjoy in summer. These include artichoke, beets, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, beans, corn, melons and squash.

    Add Perennials:  Fill out your flower garden with perennials that bloom in summer. Plant such perennials as asters, coreopsis, clematis, coneflowers, daylilies, ice plant, speedwell, Shasta daisies, salvia and stokes aster. 

                For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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  • EARTHS 2nd Graders Visit Agromin
    Monday, April 22, 2013 at

  • EARTHS school 2nd graders visit Agromin.

    Kids see the raw green material as it is delivered to Agromin.
    From raw materials to huge piles of compost.

    The compost is put into bags by a big filling machine before heading to stores for sale.

    More than 80 second graders and their parents from EARTHS Magnet School in Newbury Park recently visited Agromin to learn all about green waste recycling and composting. The kids got a firsthand look at how yard clippings, through a natural process, turn into compost for use on farmland and landscapes throughout Ventura County.

    EARTHS' curriculum centers on earth, life and physical sciences. It's a perfect match with Agromin's proactive focus on closing the "recycling loop" through safe, natural sustainable practices.  

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  • Long Beach Students Take Part in American Heart Association Teaching Gardens Program
    Friday, April 12, 2013 at

  • Kids at Long Beach elementary schools are out in their school gardens this spring planting loads of garden vegetables as part of the American Heart Association (AHA) Teaching Gardens program.

    Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grades are responsible for building, growing and maintaining their school gardens. They plant a variety of seedlings. This spring, the kids planted arugula, beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, kale, leeks, lettuces, melons, onions, peppers, radishes, spinach, strawberries, squash, tomatoes and various herbs. 

    The gardens serve as real life laboratories where students learn how to plant seeds, nurture the growing plants, harvest the food and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits--which leads to a healthy heart!

    Once the vegetables and fruits are harvested, schools use produce in a variety of ways including food tastings, curriculum lessons and chef demonstrations.

    There are 40 AHA Teaching Gardens in California with 30 gardens in the Greater Los Angeles area.
    Agromin is proud to be part of this wonderful program.

    Participating Long Beach Schools:                                                                              

         Colin Powell Academy
         Cubberley K-8 School
         Garfield Elementary School
         Longfellow Elementary School
         McKinley Elementary School
         Patrick Henry K-8 School
         Prisk Elementary School
         Signal Hill Elementary School
         Twain Elementary School
         Webster Elementary School

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  • Sustainable Practices at Limoneira
    Thursday, April 4, 2013 at

  • Limoneira Company recently ran an article in its monthly newsletter about how the ag company uses Agromin compost in its orchards. The results of this compost use have been a dramatic reduction in fertilizers, herbicides and water usage. It's truly a sustainable process.  Here's the article.

    In 2004, Limoneira Company created a partnership with Agromin Corporation, a green waste recycler to cities, counties and commercial growers to transform green waste into safe and cost effective compost and mulches for use in agricultural production and community projects.

     A 10 acre facility on Limoneira property receives over 200 tons a day of this material that would otherwise be transported to landfills.

    This partnership helps satisfy California AB 939, the Integrated Waste Management Act that mandates our cities and counties to divert 50% of their green waste from landfills. The end-product produced at this facility helps us and other growers to significantly reduce the use of water, herbicides and fertilizers.

    The Process

    * Green waste is received from consumers and commercial construction users from the entire Heritage Valley (Santa Paula to Piru).

    * An average of 200 tons/day processed 5-6 days a week on 12 acres at Limoneira's Orchard Farm facility between Santa Paula and Ventura. Peak in-take July, low January.

    * 70% (140 tons) is green waste-yard trimmings, grass, etc. and 30% (60 tons) construction materials (wood).

    * Green waste contains too much nitrogen for optimal agricultural production. The carbon from construction material is needed to optimize this agricultural mixture.

    The resulting Agromin mixture provides:

    * A healthier root system for the trees in Limoneira orchards for more efficient nutrient uptake.

    * Reduction in agricultural inputs:

    fertilizers (primarily nitrogen)

    herbicides (<20%)

    water (<33%)

    * Virtual elimination of soil erosion

    * Healthier soil through the addition of organic matter for long term viability

    * Less green waste and construction material in landfills thus reducing 38% of greenhouse gases emitted from landfills

    The Dirt On Dirt

    A circle of life, inter-dependence, balance and renewal. Everything we hold dear is contained within, dependent upon, and connected to this circle. Soil is the source and destination of all.

    In today's virtual world, too many of us have lost the ancient awareness of our connection to soil--forgetting that our health, livelihood and well being are all inextricably linked to it. This lost connection to our planet's living skin lies at the root of soil's current global depletion crisis, along with the other imbalances that our biosphere is now showing us.

    The solution is also a circle ... a circle of responsibility, sustainability, and innovation. Soil sustainability requires a balance between what society demands from soil and nature's capacity to meet that demand. The solution begins with regained awareness. Given the right knowledge and product choices, every individual can make the decision to play a role in returning balance to the circle. Agromin is dedicated to empowering that choice--a dedication that reflects across every aspect of our company.

    * This mixture shrinks by 30-40% depending upon the moisture content of material and time of year through a meticulous composting process. The material is spread in 6' height "wind-rows" and each row is turned weekly with the addition of moisture for approximately 60 days to aid the composting process.

    * By maintaining these strict standards, we ensure the elimination of any potential viral infection and weed seeds from the material that would be harmful in the orchards/fields.

    * Limoneira's orchards are testing bi-annually for nutrient content in the soil. Leaf analysis is also performed. Depending upon specific block needs, approximately 50-200 tons per acre is spread on the fields to enhance growing conditions and fruit quality.

    Limoneira annually places over 35,000 tons of mulch on only one of its farms in Ventura County. After 3 years, only 20% of the area of this one farm has been introduced to this process. Therefore, many more potential benefits can be achieved

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