Search This Blog


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Heads Up!







This was on my weather watch this AM -mind you, this is their best guess at the moment.
And things change.  It will be nice to get showers.

Remember - shower or no shower - class goes on.  We have enough to keep us busy
rain or shine!  


Sunday, October 23, 2016


Being a Primer on What To Do and When To Do It
The best fertilizer is the farmer's shadow. 

Keep existing garden hydrated

Harvest tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, okra, squashes, beans and other summer crop

Keep basil pinched to ensure production and prevent the plants from setting seed and dying

Weed as required – keep yourself hydrated and sunburn free.

Try to water only in the evening or early morning

At the beginning of the month, begin to contemplate the Winter garden and look online for seeds to purchase. Remember that soon you'll be able to plant garlic, onions and potatoes so don't overdo it on seeds!

Late in the month, you may start with seeds of cool season crops out of full sun (indoors under lights works too):
Brussels Sprouts
Fava beans
Onions (they are easier from purchased 'sets' or transplants)

Add 3” of mulch to your garden which should cut down on weeding and watering in the coming months. It will also allow the ground to hold water when (if) it rains.

All things being equal, in August, you will be harvesting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, corn, melons, squashes. Keep the squashes picked or you will have a gigantic squash that is mostly inedible. Pinch the tips of basil back to keep the plant from going to seed and use the pinchings in salads or cooked dishes. Green peppers will become red, purple or yellow if you leave them on the plant until they mature. For my taste, I'll wait until they change color, but many folks like green peppers as much as the mature ones. Beans should be kept picked unless you are growing soup beans, which stay on the plant until the plant has died and is crispy. The pods should shatter easily when harvesting dry beans.

Continue picking summer fruit, learn how to dry, freeze, pickle, jam or can some of the garden's bounty and share with family and neighbors. The summer garden will produce through November in mild years, but is over by the end of September or October in most. As you see plants coming to the end of their productivity, pull the plants and begin to replace them with winter plants or seeds of winter plants. In fact, it often is not even necessary to pull the plant immediately – you can leave the okra or pepper in place and simply begin to sow around it. If you sow too close, you may find you will need to cut the summer plant off, leaving the roots, if pulling them out begins to affect your seedlings. If you leave the roots in the ground, they will rot and become food for the microbiology of the soil and once rotted, channels will remain for water to infiltrate the soil.

Days get shorter and hopefully cooler

Direct seed into the garden larger seeds – peas, fava beans, lentils and garbanzo beans

Direct sow beets, turnips all month long – you can continue to sow beets until late March – you can continue to sow turnips until April – although most folks are rather sick of turnips by that time.

Late in the month, sow seeds of radishes, carrots and parsnips – you can continue to sow carrots and parsnips until January. Sow your first spinach and you may continue sowing short rows of it until mid-February if you wish.

Direct sow any lettuces or other 'salad greens' now through March – and even beyond if you're willing to take the chance! These larger leafy things really do not do well in the heat – oftentimes, even if you get a harvest, they will not be the sweet leaves you were hoping for but instead will be bitter and not at all something you would want to eat.

Set out plants started in sheltered locations.

Use shade as required on young seedlings – nursery flats and a stick.

Continue to sow broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower as in August. You CAN sow Brussels Sprouts, but your harvest will be truncated by the end of cool weather and there is no more reason to plant kale and collards as they will produce on into summer.

Now there are significant short days and almost any winter crop is OK to seed or set out including:
Onions (buy transplants if you can)
Garlic and shallots (plant from bulbs)
Potatoes – white, red, blue, bakers and mashers – all of them, cut into chunks with at least one eye per chunk, allow to 'scab' over for a few days or dust with sulfur to help prevent soil born bacteria from attacking the open surfaces.
You can still direct seed any of the Legumes (fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans), if you haven't yet
You continue with broccoli and other cabbage family members.

Be warned, there are often Santa Ana winds in October – they dry you and your plants out, keep an eye on the water in your garden if that happens.

By now, most of the summer harvest is in, perhaps you have a few of the Winter Squash still finishing up or some areas of drying beans. In open locations, start planting the winter crops. Try to keep the garden filled with producing plants. If you started lettuce in the shade back in August, you are able to harvest the outer leaves from some plants.

Have you ever heard of celeriac? Related to celery, this root crop has the flavor, but lacks the pizzazz of celery. It is useful in soups, but not for an appetizer tray because there is no channel for cream cheese or peanut butter. And it looks a little 'rooty.' Sow seed in a row directly even though the seed is really small. The root balls get about six inches in diameter if they are happy.

Now is when you can start using the planting stick – this invention makes easy work of succession sowing. Put your planting stick on edge and make a depression in the soil. Sow your seeds in the depression. All other seeds, cover with a small amount of garden soil and water well. Carrots are the exception. Do not cover carrot seed with soil, use vermiculite to cover them. All seeds should be moistened daily until they sprout – this is especially true with carrots. Follow a program of sowing carrots, beets and other root crops every week to get fresh roots all through the season.

In November, things begin to slow down significantly. You can continue to sow all cool weather crops with a shorter life expectancy. While in September you could sow cabbages that take three or four months (the big kraut or storage cabbages), now it's time to begin to limit yourself to the smaller, non-storage, cabbages which take up less space.

This is really your last chance to sow any garlic or shallots – after this, they won't have enough time to mature to fullness before the heat of summer. You can still sow those veggies that don't take so long to mature. I'm still willing to bet on carrots, but not parsnips which take much longer. Beets and turnips are sowable now through April or so.

You may have some harvesting to do, but the garden can be a little bare this time of year. All the summer crops are gone and winter crops are just babies – except turnips and radishes, which take from four weeks to 8 weeks from seed to harvest. Broccoli. Broccoli does not need much succession planting and is a star in the winter garden. Cut the main head of the broccoli to eat, and begin to watch for the side shoots. Keep them picked and you'll have a whole ton of broccoli to eat over the coming weeks. This is not true with cabbage or cauliflower, which only give one harvest.

You almost have to have a good flashlight to garden! Really, if you can find time do a little here and there – if no rain, take up the slack with the hose. You can still sow carrots (and that'll be the last ones for this year); beets, turnips and radishes are all still on the sow list. If you have broccoli plants to put in, this would be about the last month I'd do that; cauliflowers aren't usually that tasty when they mature in the heat. Start seeds of cabbages (the smaller ones) and begin to think about where things will go in the garden for summer. Keep small lettuce plants on hand and every time something comes out of the garden, pop a lettuce in its place – lettuce is pretty, edible and fast! You can't have enough lettuce!

Try to go to holiday parties and enjoy a social life – the garden will still be there in January.

You can harvest radishes, turnips, maybe some lettuces and other greens. Perhaps you have a head or two of broccoli that will float your boat. Early cabbages might be ready to harvest soon, but the bigger kraut cabbages will take longer. The root crops (except radishes and turnips) will not be ready. If you have been reading the seed packets, you will note that my commentary disagrees with most of them. Because we sow in Fall, unlike the rest of the US, our days are getting shorter and cooler, meaning our crops take longer than the packet says they will, which was written for Spring and longer/warmer days.

Keep planting in the ground: lettuce, short season carrots, beets, potatoes, celeriac, radishes, spinach,

Start in containers: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, (these last two can be started now, but their production will be reduced by the coming warmer weather, both will last into the summer, but the flavor of kale grown in the heat is not the sweetness you expect, they are more bitter), peas, fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans

Seed catalogs are in the mail! Most gardeners are now looking longingly and drooling to figure out which tomatoes, peppers, beans and other summer crops you will be planting. You will order too many seeds despite promises to yourself to not do it this year. You'll do the same thing next year...

You are eating good by now. You've got broccoli, lettuce, peas, fava beans coming in – maybe a few baby beets and turnips, you are about sick of radishes which have been coming for months.

In the garden, you can still direct sow lettuce (and other salad greens), beets, radishes, spinach, and the first of the summer plantings: purple beans.

Start in your six packs early tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, summer squash – I usually try to do this around Valentine's Day.

Otherwise: If you haven't over-ordered your seeds for summer yet, get busy. You're not playing by the rules.

Continue to purple beans, lettuce, radishes, beets, radishes, spinach, You can begin to set out plants of basil, early tomatoes, later in the month, if you have space, sow early sweet corn (the exhortation for space comes from the fact that corn is a wind pollinated plant and there must be plants in a block large enough to ensure pollination between the plants – do not plant individual rows of corn, plant in a block).

Continue to sow seeds of tomatoes and basil if you need to do succession plantings of these (each plant should produce for several weeks, if not two months). Now it's time to sow peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, all squash.

You can now put out beans of all colors, lettuce and still some radishes, beets, spinach if you love them. For summer, though, you can set out plants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, you can start planting all corn now, if you have the space.

Add three more inches of mulch to your garden, whether it seems to need it or not.

You can still start more tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons and squash and okra, Note that cucumbers, melons and squashes tend to get powdery mildew in our part of the country and a good strategy is to plant a second follow on set of plants. When the first planting gives up, the second planting takes over. You cannot do this with melons or winter squashes which must remain on the plant until they are fully ripened before picking.

Step back from your garden and take a look. It's really getting powered up about new – soon your neighbors will be getting tired of all the great vegetables you are sharing with them!

You can continue to set our plants of basil, eggplant, all melons and all squash and cucumbers. Begin to plant your main crop of green and yellow beans and all the dried beans, which will be left in the garden to dry on the plant. If you have room, plant more corn too.

Continue to sow as you did in April, but it's getting late – peppers, eggplants and basil are still OK to start, but will not have a lot of time to produce as they would had you gotten to them earlier.

Plant in the ground: all the above; you can still get a crop, but it might not live to its full term – furthermore, setting them out in June is hard on them – the heat can be problematic. If you do, you might have to supply some shade on extremely warm days.

Earlier tomatoes, cucumbers and beans are a part of your diet by now. I'm sick of zucchini already, how about you? Peppers are getting ripe, you can see the okra coming on – get it while it's small and don't over cook it! That keeps it from being slimy.

Start your pumpkin seeds in 4” pots to get them going, then take a nap, with my permission.

Plant in the ground only out of extreme necessity – you will have to water almost daily until they are established. Do not plant without mulching. Water as needed, early in the day or in the evening.

For starting seeds this month, I recommend you continue napping.

Now it's already time to begin to think about your cool season seeds. Get out your catalogs and prepare to over-order those like we did at the beginning of the year or get online. Try not to buy your seeds locally -you get fresher seed online or by ordering directly from the seed company by phone – your seeds are in perfect climate conditions until they begin to pull your order.

If you do tomatoes right, by now you have enough to open your own Italian eatery.

Friday, October 21, 2016

October Gardening In Brief

Start These In Containers
Start These In The Ground
Move to the Ground from Containers
All cabbage family crops
Fava beans
Fava beans
Any cabbage family plant big enough to survive.
Potatoes (tubers)




Garbanzo beans

Garlic (bulbs)

Shallots (bulbs)

Here is the deal with winter sowing – you can continue to sow all winter crops through November. After November, we need to begin to look at the harvest dates. Before November is out, you will need to have all your onion family plants in the ground. These include garlic, leeks, onions and shallots. They take a long time. Celery and celeriac, another long season grower, should probably not be planted after November as well. Carrots and parsnips can be planted deep into December, but after that, look for smaller carrots that will be done before your world heats up.

You can cheat – this isn't mathematics where the answer is right or it's wrong. Often the answer in gardening is “it depends.” There are perimeters of hot and cold, sun and shade that we work with. There are no hard and fast rules about when to plant what – mostly just guidelines. You can lose – even when you don't cheat. I know, it is unfair, but it's part and parcel of growing food and you can see why many books from antiquity regularly address putting food in storage and consciously regard famine as an ever-present problem to be dealt with.

If you plant one thing on one date every year, in at least one of those in seven years will not work out for you. Not your fault. The weather is not the same every September 5th. Or any other day in the calendar. If you could predict the weather out for 6 months or so, you'd be very rich. But this has been the problem of food growers from the beginning. And climate change has made it even more forbidding. There are years when I'm watching baby tomato plants struggle in late May I wish I had planted beets instead – any we may well find that is the way we do things – start tomatoes AND plant beets at the same time.

Butternut Squash With Pecans And Blue Cheese
I've done this annually for many years and it's always been a hit! I know grilling in the fall seems like I missed the summer boat, but really, in Southern California, we can grill almost year round, avoiding windy days during dry season.

4-1/2 lbs butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 stalks fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup pecans
1 cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese

Get the grill going and warmed up.

Halve the squash, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds, then cut into two to three inch cubes; you don't need to be precise, just keep the pieces uniformly. Smaller, they fall thru the grill.

Mix the squash in a bowl with the oil adding thyme. Cook on the grill until just tender enough to eat.

From the grill, throw them into a bowl with crumbled blue cheese and pecans and mix. The hot cheese will hold pecan pieces to the squash. Serve at once. You may eat the entire squash, skin and all.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Garden Tools by Category of Use (More or Less)

The most important tools you use are the different parts of your body – your hands, your skin, your back, your knees and your legs. Chemical sunblock may be bad for your body, but it most certainly does nature no good once you've washed it off. A long-sleeved cotton shirt and cotton pants are cool and, if you can find organic cotton that costs less than the US Military budget, you are doing Gaia a good deal. Wear a hat (it's stylish anyway!) and comfortable shoes. Get gloves that will stand to the work you are doing – digging with shovels almost always means a heavy glove, gardening in containers is a piece of cake with cotton gloves or some of the new plasticized gloves. Get more than one type.

A. Stand up gardening/Mulch, Compost moving
  1. Double digger, aka broadfork
  2. Spading fork
  3. Compost fork
  4. Grain Shovel
  5. Spade
  6. Round point shovel
  7. Poachers spade
  8. Leaf rake or push broom
  9. Wheelbarrow/gardeners cart

B. Kneeling gardening
  1. Trowel
  2. Hand fork
  3. Weeders
  4. The Stick tool
  5. Small stool
  6. Scissors
  7. Kneeling pad/etc
  8. Dibbles
  9. Wire brush
  10. Sharp serrated knives
  11. Watering can or hose
  12. Tape measure
  13. Hand hoe
  14. Japanese triangle hoe
  15. Hori hori

C. Container gardening
  1. Trowel
  2. Hand fork
  3. Weeders
  4. Kneeling pad (?)
  5. Tarp
  6. Watering can or hose
  7. Machete
  8. Pot brush
  9. Container knife
D. Seeding
  1. Widget
  2. Notebook for records
  3. Swiss Army Knife
  4. Pencil
  5. Marker
  6. Plastic tags
  7. Flats
  8. Newspaper
  9. Containers
  10. A spray bottle of water to moisten soil

E. Harvesting
  1. Knives
  2. Scissors
  3. Pruners
  4. Containers – baskets, bags, etc

F. Pruning
  1. Pruners that fit your hand
  2. Folding saw
  3. Loppers
  4. Pole Pruner
  5. Large saw
  6. Sharp knife
  7. Specialty gloves if needed (like gauntlets for rose pruning)

G. Tool care
  1. Linseed oil for wood
  2. Any oil for metal
  3. Rags
  4. Sharpening devices
  5. Sandpaper in different grades
  6. Listerine to sterilize blades

H. Almost all kits have
  1. Knife or knives (sharp!)
  2. Screwdrivers
  3. Pliers
  4. Measuring tape of some kind
  5. A radio for baseball games

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Soil Triangle and Questions (Apologies for its lateness!)

We will cover this in class.  The following is a set of practice questions you can use to determine your ability to use the Soil Triangle.  This is not an assignment you need to turn in. 

Using the Soil Texture Triangle

Follow these steps to determine the name of your soil texture:

1. Place the edge of a ruler or other straight edge at the point along the base of the triangle that represents the percent of sand in your sample. Position the ruler on or parallel to the lines which slant toward the base of the triangle.
2. Place the edge of a second ruler at the point along the right side of the triangle that represents the percent of silt in your sample. Position the ruler on or parallel to the lines which slant toward the base of the triangle.
3. Place the point of a pencil or pen at the point where the two lines meet. Place the top edge of one of the rulers on the mark, and hold the ruler parallel to the horizontal lines. The number on the left should be the percent of clay in the sample.

The descriptive name of the soil sample is written in the shaded area where the mark is located. If the mark should fall directly on a line between two descriptions, record both names.

Sand will feel "gritty", while silt will feel like powder or flour. Clay will feel "sticky" and hard to squeeze, and will probably stick to your hand. Looking at the textural triangle, try to estimate how much sand, silt, or clay is in the sample. Find the name of the texture that this soil corresponds to.

Practice Exercises

Use the following numbers to determine the soil texture name using the textural triangle. When a number is missing, fill in the blanks (the sum of % sand, silt and clay should always add up to 100%) - the last line has been left blank for you to fill in the numbers you assign to your own soil sample.

sandy loam












A Soils Bibliography

Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil; ©1992 University of California Press , Hillel, Daniel. Hillel has written one of the most beautiful books on soil that has ever been published. This book introduces a little of soil science to the reader, but more than that, it fosters a love of the soil and an understanding about the magnitude and gravity of misuse and degradation; civilizations have paid little heed to the soil underfoot and it has cost them dearly. A delightful read!

Soils and Men, Yearbook of Agriculture 1938, © 1938, United States Department of Agriculture, The Committee on Soils. A government publication, no sane person will read from beginning to end! It is referenced here because it clearly shows the US government knew about the soil food web as early as 1938 and chose to ignore that information in favor of more commerce in chemical based fertilizers. We are at a point where ignoring the soil food web is too costly to continue.

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition, © 2010 Timber Press, Lowenfels, Jeff and Lewis, Wayne. This is the second edition of the book that blew my eyes open on the biology of the soil and how we cannot ignore that biology plays at least as big a part of soil fertility as chemistry. We ignore biology to our own detriment and destroy our soils.

The Rodale Book of Composting, ©1992 Rodale Press, Martin, Deborah and Gershuny, Grace Editors. This is the only book to read on composting. Everything else is compostable.

The Soul of Soil; A Guide to Ecological Soil Management, 2nd Edition, ©1986; Gaia Services, Gershuny, Grace. This fabulous and passionate book is injured by being targeted to farmers (only) and therefore all recommendations are written in “pound per acre,” when we need ounces per 100 square feet. When I used this book, I wrote up a formula in Excel to convert all these into a usable figure.

The Worst Hard Time, The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dustbowl © 2006; Mariner Reprint Edition, Egan, Timothy. Not strictly a soils book, but a real eye opener that shows how we are repeating many of the same mistakes today as what lead to the disaster we call the Dustbowl. This book is gripping reading and is not fiction. It really happened and it happened on a scale unprecedented in modern times. We can do it again if we fail to heed these words. A VERY good read on soils and man's relationship to them.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Urban Food Production, Fall 2016

Course Number: Biology X 489.6  

Instructor: David King


There are no prerequisites for this course, although some experience with gardening will prove useful.

All classes meet at The Learning Garden on the Venice High School campus where it can be hot and cold by turns – but reliably MUCH COOLER than other parts of Los Angeles. For your own comfort, please bring a sweater or coat to every class meeting. Class will meet regardless of the weather. Expect to get wet or cold as we will be outside for a portion of every meeting.

The production, packaging, and transportation of food are large contributors to our global carbon emissions. Throughout the Los Angeles Basin, food gardens have sprung up to produce local healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables while contributing energy and financial savings in difficult economic times. Using the history of growing food in the city in times of need as a template, this course explores how homegrown food can reduce your food budget and address environmental concerns. Participants each have a small plot for growing food where they can experiment with new ideas and enjoy their harvest. Topics include fruit trees, vegetables, and berries that do well in our climate as well as often overlooked food-producing perennials and how to grow food in modern city lots where the "back forty" describes square feet and not acres.

Textbooks Required:

Title The New Sunset Western Garden Book
Author Brenzel, Kathleen Norris (Editor)
Edition Feb. 2012
Publisher Sunset Books
ISBN 978-0376039170

There will be no assigned reading from the book, but it really is essential if you are gardening in Southern California. The most recent edition is not really necessary, it does have more data in it and with each edition Sunset pays more respect to food gardening.

This will be supplemented by liberal postings on my Garden Notes blog, . I hope to post most of the material in the days prior to the class when it will be used.

Textbooks, Recommended:

Title The Kitchen Garden
Author Thompson, Sylvia
Edition First
Publisher Bantam Books
ISBN 0-553-08138-1
*(She has a companion cookbook that is worth investigation too!)
Title Heirloom Vegetable Gardening
Author Weaver, William Woys
Edition First
Publisher Henry Holt
ISBN 0-8050-4025-0
Almost impossible to find – out of print
Title Pests of the Garden and Small Farm
Author Flint, Mary Louise
Edition 2nd
Publisher Univ of California Agriculture & Natural Resources
ISBN 978- 0520218108
Title The Resilient Gardener

Author Deppe, Carol
Edition First
Publisher Chelsea Green
ISBN 978-1603580311

There will be no assigned reading from these books. The rest of the literature, as references, will prove invaluable to any serious student in this field. There will be bibliographies describing other books as the quarter progresses, I am a ferocious reader and not at all shy about suggesting books I think deserve your attention.

Course Schedule:

02 October
Introduction/Seed Starting/Urban gardening in context today
09 October
Plot Assignment/SLOLA/Seeds/Light/Soils/Water/in Urban Gardens
16 October
12 Points to a Better Garden/Garden Tour/Tools/Varietals/ Soils and Fertilizers in the Urban garden
23 October
Planting/Sheet composting/Composting/Vermiculture Planting Timing and Design/
30 October
Sustainability and Food Issues in Modern America/Supplies/Sources/Annuals/
06 November
Planting/Companions/Crop Rotation in a Small Garden/ Chicken Raising Sherilyn Powell/
20 November
Perennials/Bulbs as a part of your food supply/Beekeeping
04 December
Home orchard/Vines/Turn in one page write up
11 December
Planning for Continuous Harvests/Potluck/Submit your journal for a grade.

(Syllabus may be changed as needed to reflect reality.)

Please note that November has a few holidays and plants do not take a holiday. – we will need to ensure that watering happens to keep the plants alive if there is no rain while we all enjoy the celebrations.

Point Assignment Structure
Class participation (and cooperation)

Grade of A
> 90%
Garden Journal

1 page book review

Planting Project

D and F

Please note, I try to grade you on your personal improvement. Cooperation is counted more than competition in my classes.

Office hours are by appointment only – please call or email me. I am willing to meet with you; I want you to learn; I do not want you to struggle. Please do not hesitate to call me, rather than try to talk to me in class when I can't really give you undivided attention. Extra points are available if you need to earn more credit.

Each class, as we start, will usually begin with lecture and then proceed to the garden where you will have your own small plot. As the sun sets earlier, the order will be reversed – everyone starts in their garden and then we go in to lecture.

You are encouraged to experiment in your garden plot. Your process should be thoroughly documented in your journal – your thinking and your understanding of what is happening in your garden. If you have a problem, research a solution.

Pick one book from the ones presented in class to read and report on.

Every week, we will prepare some seasonal food to eat. There are no places to buy food while in class and we are here for four hours. Students are encouraged to bring in food to share with the class at all meetings. Students should bring in their own plate and eating utensils so we can have a minimum waste event. The last class meeting will be a potluck where we will all share local and fresh food! (That's the point, right?)

The Learning Garden is open daily, 3 to 5:00 PM, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. You are welcome to come here and work on your plot or just come and hang out. It's always best to call ahead to make sure I'm here as sometimes I have errands or meetings off campus.

Criteria for your garden journal grade:
  1. Documentation of what you planted when
  2. Documentation of weather elements – temperature (minimum and maximum) as well as an precipitation and noting humidity or dryness, especially of Santa Ana winds.
  3. Germination per cent.
  4. Choice of varieties sources and reasoning.
  5. Success/failures discussed – alternatives to failures/expansion of successes
  6. Plans for the future
  7. Drawings of the garden (either done by hand or by computer program)
  8. Photos/drawings of garden's progress

Criteria for your garden plot grade:
  1. You should experiment and try something you have never done – explore!
  2. Your plot and adjacent pathways should be cleared of weeds.
  3. Your plot and adjacent pathways should be well mulched.
  4. Your plot should be attractive and be growing some food.
  5. Your journal should indicate you learned something from the plot.
  6. When presented with the opportunity, you should cooperate with other students, help those in need and be team member of this class.

The person who starts from seed vs. bringing in growing plants, will have plants not nearly as far along as the others – but stands to make a better grade if they have experimented with growing from seed – I am more interested that you LEARN in this class – just doing what you already have done doesn't teach you anything. We are all gardeners here, if we don't have patience yet, we soon will. Cultivate patience with your plants while in The Learning Garden.

All handouts (including this syllabus) will be available on the blog site:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

**UPDATE!** LA River at Atwater Creek Restoration, 13 August 2016

The Dodgers play that afternoon just a few miles south of our meeting place on the river.  PLEASE ALLOW ENOUGH TIME TO GET PAST THE TRAFFIC IF YOU MUST COME IN THROUGH THE DOWNTOWN AREA. IF YOU CAN AVOID IT, DO!  After checking traffic on the radio (KNX 1070 AM does the most frequent traffic reports) or on Waze, I will probably leave the Learning Garden, driving up the 405 to the 101, to the 134 and then take streets in once I've passed the 5 - maybe even go to the 2, depending on traffic.

Your friendly instructors would like to remind our lovely students that we have another field trip this coming Saturday.  We will meet in the parking lot at the confluence of Atwater Creek with the LA River.  A lovely walk along Atwater creek until it flows into the LA River.  For Orchid and I, this is a favorite.  Our starting point is the North Atwater Park. 

View North Atwater Creek Restoration in a larger map 

Chevy Chase Drive, once it makes that final right-hand swoop, dead ends.  As that right-hand swoop begins, the park itself is on the left.  On this map, almost exactly in the blue pin there is a parking lot where we will meet at 1;30 PM.  

This is a good field trip for a camera, and as usual plenty of water and cool clothing. Wear walking shoes and we'll proceed south from the parking lot along the North Atwater Creek on down to the river proper and back again.  Not far and we will amble along without urgency.  I imagine this will be a warm day, but check your weather sources - do take proper care of yourself with the incessantly persistent sunshine!  

Some background data on the site is available online, here.

And some photos from the day it opened for a little prespective.  

Hope you will enjoy this trip and hope you're enjoying the class.

Contents of this site, text and photography, are copyrighted 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 by David King - permission to use must be requested and given in writing.