• October Planting Season Begins in Southern California
    Monday, September 29, 2014 at

  • October marks the beginning of a new planting season in southern California as cooler weather makes it easier for new plants to flourish.

    Fall is Best Time To Plant During Drought: Cooler weather slows water evaporation and with the sun lower on the horizon, less heat stress is placed on newly planted vegetables, flowers, trees and shrubs. The lower air temperatures also means new gardens need less moisture to grow and flourish. Of course, if Santa Ana winds blow, gardeners will need to revert to a summer-like watering schedule.

    Keep Watchful Eye On Trees: Mature trees are likely showing the effects of three years of little measurable rain. Evergreen needles may turn brown. Tree leaves may drop prematurely or stay on the tree even if brown. If drought does not kill a tree, lack of water can increase chances of insects or disease infestation. To prevent this, slowly deep water to at least one foot below the surface within the drip line (evergreens need watering at least three feet beyond the drip line since their roots spread). Water every two weeks. Watering for only a short time keeps roots shallow and heightens drought effects. Give trees top watering priority—it is much more costly to remove and replace 20 or 30-year old mature trees that has fallen victim to drought conditions than to keep current trees healthy.

    October Is Ideal Month To Plant Trees and Shrubs: Just about every type of tree or shrub can be planted successfully in October (except tropical varieties). This is especially the best time to plant California natives such as California redbud, Cleveland sage, California lilac, Coast Live oak, Western Sycamore. All require very little water once established. It is also the time to plant beds with cool-season flowers. California poppies, alyssum, pansies, calendula, candytuft, foxgloves, gazania, hollyhocks, snapdragons and stock add instant color.

    Plant Your Edibles: Price-wise, you can usually grow fall vegetables and herbs for less than the price for organic counterparts in the store since water usage is usually less in fall. Fall favorites include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, radish and spinach. Herbs that also do well in fall are chives, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.

    Plant Garlic: Now is the time to plant garlic so large bulbs will be ready next summer. Planting in fall enables the garlic plant to develop a strong root system during the cooler weather months. Make sure garlic is planted in well-draining soil

    Harvest Pumpkins: Pumpkins are reading to harvest when the vines become dry. Cut the pumpkin stem two inches from the vine. Pumpkins can stay fresh for up to three months after harvesting. If carving a pumpkin for Halloween, save the seeds. Separate the seeds from the pulp, wash and then spread them onto a cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt or seasoning and toast in the oven for three minutes at 375 degrees. Mix and then toast for another two minutes. Cool to room temperature before eating.

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

    Labels: , , , ,

  • EARTHS School Readies For Fall Planting Season

  • EARTHS Magnet School in Newbury Park is getting ready for its fall planting schedule after receiving 20 bags of Agromin vegetable planting compost from its facility in Oxnard. The school garden is maintained by students and volunteers under the direction of second grade teacher Cathy Lewis. It includes different garden types--native plant garden, a regional garden that focuses on the four regions of California (coast, mountain, desert and valley), a pollinator garden and a vegetable and herb garden.

    The garden is an integral part of the school’s curriculum that emphasizes environmental science, technology and outdoor learning. We can't wait to see what they plant!

    Labels: , ,

  • Ventura's West Park Community Center Gets into the Water Saving Spirit
    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at

  • Monarch caterpillars
    West Park Community Center in Ventura is a great place for boys and girls to take part in enrichment classes, homework and tutoring programs, sports and special events. It now has its own brand new Water Wise Demonstration Garden.  Agromin donated the compost.

    Ready for turf removal
    The compost arrives
    In less than three days, volunteers transformed 1,000 square feet of unused grassy area into a Water Wise Garden. Volunteers removed the turf, rototilled compost into the soil, planted the garden and then placed rocks and mulch around the garden to keep down weeds and hold in moisture. The garden immediately began attracting Monarch caterpillars.

    The garden shows how grass, which requires lots of water to keep green, can be replaced with a beautiful, functioning low water usage garden and landscape.

    Rototilling compost into the soil
    More and more cities are encouraging residents to remove turf and plant a Water Wise Garden. For Ventura residents, go to: www.cityofventura.net/water/landscape to learn more. Other Southern California residents can check out garden tips and lawn replacement rebates at http://www.bewaterwise.com/. Just about every water district in California has similar information and offers.

    Until the skies open up and we get a prolonged drenching, we all need to do our part to cut back on water consumption. Planting a Water Wise Garden is a great start.

    Labels: , , , , , ,