• Much to Do in Southern California Gardens--Even in Winter - Thursday, December 31, 2009 at
  • While many trees and plants go dormant in January, warm, sunny days can entice Southern California gardeners into their backyards where much can be done even in winter, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from recycled green material from more than 50 Southern California communities.

    Plant dormant fruit trees: Stop by any nursery and you will see a variety of dormant fruit trees ready for planting. These bare root trees are typically less expensive than those potted in soil. Dormant fruit trees, including apples, cherry, pear and plums, require a certain number of "chill" hours (temperatures less than 45 degrees) to break their winter dormancy and produce healthy crops in summer. Make sure the chill-hour requirements meet the particular micro-climate in your area.

    Care for New and Established Rose Bushes: January and February are the best months to plant rose bushes. Like dormant fruit trees, bare root rose bushes are now abundantly available at nurseries. For existing roses, prune no more than one-half of new growth from the previous growing season. Pruning and pinching encourages new growth in early spring.

    Plant Vegetables in Winter for Spring Harvest: January is the perfect time to experiment with vegetables not found in typical spring or summer gardens. Vegetables that are planted in fall and winter include asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chives, collards, endive, kale, lettuce, onions, parsnip, peas, spinach and turnips. Year-round vegetables such as artichokes, carrots, beets and radishes can also be planted now.

    Get Control Over Weeds: One or two days of rain is all it takes for weeds to sprout. Placing a two to three inch layer of mulch around trees, shrubs and plants prevents weed seeds from germinating. If weeds are already starting to grow, remove as many as you can and then cover the area with mulch. The goal is to prevent sunlight from reaching the weeds so they will not have fuel to grow. A common mistake is not adding enough mulch for the weed-suppression process to be effective. Once taken root, weeds need only a small amount of sunlight to flourish. Organic mulches break down over time, so if you already have mulch in your garden, replenish with an additional one-inch layer.

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

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  • Santa Comes Early for Mayflower Preschoolers - Monday, December 28, 2009 at
  • Santa came early for students at Mayflower Preschool in Los Alamitos. The non-profit preschool, open for more than 40 years, needed replacement woodchips for its swing set play area. Kendy Gioia, director of the preschool, was searching for funding sources for the new chips when Agromin stepped in and offered its services and products to the school at no charge.

    Agromin, a premium soil products manufacturer and green materials recycler for more than 50 communities in Southern California, delivered eight tons of freshly ground woodchips to Mayflower on December 23. With the help of volunteers from the Pacifica High School wrestling team, the swing set play area was completely transformed. "Instead of a hard, compacted surface underneath the swings, the ground is now covered with a thick layer of soft woodchips," says Gioia. "I'm ecstatic with the way things look and can't wait for our kids to come back from vacation and see the change. This will be a great surprise for them. I am so grateful Agromin offered to help." In addition, Agromin removed the old woodchips from the play area and recycled them into the school's flowerbeds as mulch.

    Agromin also donated 20 "Carrots for Kids" growing kits to Mayflower. Gioia says the kits will be put to use immediately after the children return from holiday break. "The kits will be a great learning tool for our kids and will help enhance our small gardening program," says Gioia.

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  • Christmas Trees Lead Productive Lives After Holidays Are Over - Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at

  • Cut Christmas trees now adorning homes will lead productive lives long after the holidays," say experts at Agromin, the green materials recycler for over 50 communities in Southern California.

    After Christmas, trees are collected and recycled into soil products for use locally by farmers, landscapers and consumers," says Bill Camarillo, Agromin CEO. "The composting process takes as little as 60 days. By early March, these trees will be transformed into mulch and used on farmland and in backyard landscapes and gardens."

    Many cities in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties offer curbside pickup of Christmas trees for recycling. Residents in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine in Orange County can drop off their trees at the Agromin site at Rainbow Disposal (17121 Nichols St., Huntington Beach, Gate 7, 714-847-3581).

    To help with the recycling efforts, Camarillo says residents should be sure trees are free of ornaments, tinsel, nails and tree stands before placing them in green waste recycling bins. "Otherwise, these non-green items must be removed by hand at our recycling facilities," says Camarillo. "It's satisfying to know that the Christmas tree you enjoyed during the holidays may be part of the mulch you use in your garden next spring or it played a role in helping grow fresh fruits and vegetables on local farms."

    For more information on green materials recycling, go to www.agromin.com.

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