The Great Outdoors
February, 2019 - Issue #173
courtesy of shutterstock
courtesy of shutterstock
Get Ready to Grow
February marks the start of the SCV's growing season, though many local gardeners never ended theirs thanks to indoor seed-starting kits and overwintering veggies that were planted in fall.
Those new to gardening can start small with containers. Increase your chances of success by planting easy-care vegetables like lettuce and other salad greens; beets; parsnips; radishes; spinach and carrots.
Hoping to harvest stone or citrus fruit in a few years? Go to Green Thumb Nursery in Old Town Newhall (259-1071) and choose from their incredible selection of bare root and potted fruit trees. Ask the experts there about which can be expected to bear fruit sooner rather than later - because the sooner you're able to harvest, the more invested you'll be in growing more!

It's a Dirty Job but Someone has to do It:
Amending your Soil
courtesy of shutterstock
courtesy of shutterstock
You won't do better for your health than an organic homegrown fruit or veggie, but remember - if the minerals aren't in the soil, they aren't going to end up in your food, either. That's why so many gardeners choose to amend their soil with products ranging from fish-based additives to special mulches and more. But for the casual grower, you can support your environment by adding any or all of these to your soils during planting and beyond.
Smooshed egg shells are an excellent way to add calcium while coffee grounds improve water retention and can add nitrogen as they break down if composted correctly. Food waste, when thrown in the garbage can, is an environmental hazard - but toss it in a makeshift or pro-grade compost bin and it becomes what soil-amendment dreams are made of. Keep your compost bin or pile healthy by balancing vegetarian kitchen scraps with dried leaves, untreated grass clippings and other organic materials. Ready to step up your game? Add earthworms to your composting plan.

SCV Water Board Adopts a Ratepayer Advocate Function as Part of
Updated Rate-Setting Process
With a focus on transparency and a desire to reassure customers that water rates will continue to reflect the accurate cost of providing services, the SCV Water Board of Directors recently adopted a rate-setting process that includes an independent ratepayer advocate. "By integrating water services under one umbrella in the Santa Clarita Valley, we added efficiencies and cost savings in many areas," said SCV Water Board President Bill Cooper. "Now the board and public will benefit from an additional level of review of rate and fee proposals and be provided further confidence in ratemaking decisions."
"Adding a ratepayer advocate imparts an additional layer of transparency and objective review for the Board to consider as rates are developed and approved," said Maria Gutzeit, board vice president. "The person will be available by phone and email to answer ratepayer questions until the rates are finalized."
The ratepayer advocate will independently review and issue a report/opinion on the proposed rates, including comparison to industry best practice and similar agencies. The report will be considered by the full SCV Water Board, prior to any public notice of proposed rate changes.
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