• Spring Gardening Begins in March
    Friday, February 26, 2016 at

  • While spring officially begins March 20, get an early start by preparing your garden and yard now for the upcoming growing season.

    Add Plants That Attract Good Bugs: Attract good bugs (ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies) to your yard by adding plants they love. Plants that appeal to good bugs are yarrow, dill, fennel, marigolds, coriander and buckwheat. The good bugs will eat the bad bugs (such as aphids, ants and whiteflies) that can cause havoc in your garden.

    Give Plants And Trees A Nitrogen Boost: Now is the time to give your garden a shot in the arm with nitrogen fertilizer. Plants usually need to be fertilized only once in March at the beginning of the spring growing period and again in September.

    Don’t Give Weeds A Fighting Chance: Because February was unusually warm, the minimal rain that fell prompted weeds to sprout in southern California. Weeds can easily become out of control and much harder to remove as they take root. A natural way to protect gardens from weeds is by using mulch. This top dressing will crowd out weeds before they gain a foothold. Weed first before applying. Mulch at least two to three inches deep around trees, shrubs, flowers and plants. Make sure the mulch does not touch the tree trunks.

    Plant Vegetables and Herbs from Seed: After the last chance for frost (around mid-month) and the soil warms, cultivate your vegetable garden soil down about one foot. Mix in organic soil planting amendments. Plant warm-season vegetable seeds including tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, onion, potatoes, spinach, turnips and corn. It's also the time to plant herbs from seed such as basil, mint, oregano, parsley and rosemary. You can even still plant cool-season vegetables including broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and kale. Vegetables that can be planted year round are carrots, beets and radishes.

    Keep Plants Looking Full By Dividing Perennials: After a few years, perennials tend to form in clumps. These clumps become scraggly and big bare spots form within the plants. To avoid this, divide perennials and place the new plantings in other areas of the yard. When dividing a perennial, make sure you dig deep under a clump so you lift the root system out intact. Remove any portion of the clump that looks dead or diseased. Large clumps can be divided further. Place the divided clumps in holes that fit the root base. Mix in soil amendment and water. This is a cost-efficient way to add to your flower garden.

    Keep Your Garden Manageable: It may be tempting to create a sprawling garden filled with all kinds of vegetables. Because of water restrictions projected still to be in place for summer and beyond, consider downsizing your workspace so your garden requires less water. Raised beds are a good option because there is less chance of soil erosion and water runoff.

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

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  • Ventura County Community for a Clean Watershed offers Rain Barrels through New Program
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at

  • Ventura County Community for a Clean Watershed is offering 50-gallon rain barrels through its new rain barrel program. Residents can use the barrels to capture rainwater to water trees, gardens and lawns. The rain barrels are made from 100 percent recyclable materials, connect to existing downspouts or rain chains, and come with a childproof and mosquito-proof lid. 

    They can be purchased directly through the program’s website, www.rainbarrelprogram.org/venturacounty, using a credit card. To place a phone order or to request a mail-in form call 919- 835-1699 and ask for the Ventura County rain barrel program price. The normal cost per barrel is $149 but the discounted price is $75 plus tax. Order by March 6 for a March 12 pick up at one of two locations: Ventura County Government Center (Parking Lob B and C, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura) and Calleguas Municipal Water District (2100 E. Olsen Rd., Thousand Oaks). 

    All rain barrels must be pre-purchased. Bring a copy of your email confirmation to pick up your rain barrel. Residents may also be eligible for a $75 rebate per barrel (up to four barrels). 

    To check eligibility, go to www.socalwatersmart.com. For more information about Ventura County Community for a Clean Watershed, visit www.cleanwatershed.org.

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  • Chumash Native Garden Coming to Oxnard Historic Farm Park
    Thursday, February 4, 2016 at

  • A Chumash Native Garden is in the works at the Oxnard Historic Farm Park. The park contains the two oldest structures on the Oxnard Plain. Plans call for the buildings' restoration where they will eventually house a museum about Oxnard history.

    In the meantime, six master gardeners and Michael Glenn with Fish and Wildlife Services are installing native plants used by the Chumash on the property. Spearheading the project is Jeff Maulhardt, a fifth generation of the Maulhardt and Borchard farm families and a director of the park.

    The native grasses will be in the front portion in a 100' x 20' area. Agromin donated 20 yards of mulch to the project and to the park's small avocado and lemon orchards.

    The Chumash native grass area will be completed by the end of March. A kiosk will eventually be added.

    The park is located at 1251 Gottfried Place in Oxnard. For more information, go to http://www.oxnardfarmpark.org/

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