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Sunday, May 25, 2014


We all got this notice from Extension Friday...

Dear Greener Gardens class,

This notice is to remind you that there will be no class next Monday, May 26th, due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Your next class will be June 2nd.

Thank you,

Amanda Wesley, Program Manager

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Documentary Movie Event: Growing Cities

I am privileged to serve on a panel after the viewing of this documentary along with Alexa Delwiche and Teague Weybright, two folks I've had the chance to work with in these past few years. Both are profoundly knowledgeable and I'm sure this will be a marvelous evening of provocative thinking and vision.

The Los Angeles Community Garden Council presents…

Sunday  June 1, 2014

3:45 to 6:00PM 

Park La Brea Movie Theater
475 S. Curson Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

3:45PM – Arrive and enjoy healthy snacks.
4:00PM – The 60 minute movie starts.
5:00-6:00PM – Refreshments & discussion with local urban agriculture experts:
> Teague Weybright, Board President, LACGC
> Alexa Delwiche, Managing Dtr, LA Food Policy Council
> David King. Inaugural Chair, Seed Library of LA.

Adults: $14.00
Under 18: $10.00

To purchase tickets and get more information, go to:

Sponsored by:  LACGC & the Park La Brea Residents Association


Monday, May 12, 2014

Notes for 12 May Lecture....

There is no way to present this lecture in notes with any kind of depth - I've tried it several ways. This has some of the high points.

Month By Month Guide for Southern California: A 'Cheat Sheet'

These generalizations are for The Learning Garden, located in Sunset Zone 24, less than 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean in an alluvial plain that is just above sea level. Cold air from the surrounding hills drains into our area and we are reliably cooler than much of the surrounding areas. If you are growing inland from us, your temperatures fluctuate more than ours. As one gardens further from the ocean, the temperatures are less moderate and the effects of heat and cold are more pronounced. While we can grow some cool season crops year round (kale and chard come to mind first), this becomes more difficult without the ocean's pronounced influence. (Photo:  Bundles of fresh food are being sorted into individual packages for distribution with the Westside Produce Exchange for redistribution.)

Plant in the ground: lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac, radishes, spinach
Harvest for lettuce @ 30 day+s; carrots 90 days; beets 75 days; parsnips 90+, potatoes 90 to 120 days, celeriac @ 100 days, radishes 40, spinach 40+

Harvest Production begins to pick up again later in the month – especially with rain, harvest root crops, peas, fava beans (you can use fava leaves for a pesto), chard and kale cabbages, broccoli, etc.

Plant in containers in a sheltered location: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, (these last two can be started now, but they would have been better started earlier – their production will be reduced by the coming warmer weather), peas, fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans

Plant in the ground: lettuce (and other salad greens), carrots, beets parsnips, radishes, spinach, purple beans

Harvest: late in the month, lettuce, radishes, spinach, thin beets and have baby beet leaves in your salad,

Plant in containers: early tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, summer squash

Plant in the ground: purple beans, lettuce, radishes, purple beans, beets, radishes, spinach, set out plants of basil, early tomatoes, later in the month, sow early sweet corn

Harvest more lettuce, beets, carrots, celeriac etc

Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, all squash

Plant in the ground: beans of all colors, lettuce, radishes, beets, spinach, set out plants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, you can start planting all corn now

Harvest purple beans, most of the winter crops

Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons & squash, okra

Plant in the ground: all basil, eggplant, all melons and all squash (including cucumbers, set out plants of same and all tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) green and yellow beans and all the dried beans; corn too, if you have room

Harvest first of the zucchini and summer squashes, purple beans winter crops, garlic, leeks and onions

Plant in containers: As in April, but it's getting late – peppers, eggplants and basil are still OK to start, but it's getting late, did I say it was getting late?

Plant in the ground: all the above, but it's getting late... you can still get a crop, but it will be cut shorter by any early cool weather; the last of the corn can go in early in the month

Harvest first of the tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, beans, early sweet corn, the end of winter crops (in a normal year)

Plant in containers: pumpkin seeds, then take a nap

Plant in the ground only out of necessity any of the June plants, but they will have a hard time

Harvest EVERYTHING – this along with weeding and watering is your focus at this time of year.

Plant in containers: continue napping

Plant in the ground: nothing if you can avoid it


Plant in containers: towards the end of the month, in a shaded location, the first of the winter veggies can be started, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, fava beans, leeks, shallots, onions...

Plant in the ground: nothing, until mid-month, start sowing turnips, parsnips, radishes, beets and carrots – keep seeds moist! Peas, lentils and garbanzo beans can be sown...

Harvest last of the eggplants, peppers, basil, cucumbers, winter squash and beans. Tomatoes will hand on until October in most years.

Plant in containers: Cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, favas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts

Plant in the ground: set out some of your cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, chard and so on. Continue with seeds as above... you can also direct sow favas if you want. Potatoes can usually be found about now as well as sets or seed bubls of onions, garlic and shallots and they all should be planted from now until late November.

Harvest The first of the turnips and beets will be edible, you'll have carrots soon, might still have some basil and tomatoes,

Plant in containers: More Cruciferae and favas, celery and celeriac

Plant in the ground: More of September's plants can be sown – you still have time for all of them except onions, this will be the last month to plant peas, lentils, garbanzos, shallots, garlic and fava beans. Their growing season is too long to get the harvest you would want. Although the legumes can be planted if you are willing to take a lesser harvest or are using them as a cover (green manure) crop.

Harvest lettuce, early cabbage, some kale and chard leaves, radishes, turnips, carrots, beets,

Plant in containers: I'm still sowing cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower, but Brussels sprouts are a longer season item so they're not a part of my efforts until next season's planting begins.

Plant in the ground: Too little light and too many parties make it difficult to find garden time – but if you have some things left over from November, try to get that done.

Harvest a lot of veggies slow way down you will probably have leftovers from November, but not a lot of production. You'll find the chard and kale really begin to pump out while everything else slows down.

Plant in containers: Pretty much the same story, if you have time, do more of all that's listed from November.

There are two big shifts in Southern Californian gardening: At the end of September, beginning of October it's all about the winter crops. At the end of February, beginning of March, the focus all shifts to summer and the heat lovers. Seeds get started slightly before then (if you have the right conditions, up to six weeks before then!).


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Three Is A Charm - Our Field Trip to The LA River

A morning, 9 to noon, field trip visiting the Los Angeles River.  For Orchid and I, this is a favorite.  Our destination 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 9:00 AM.  

This is a good field trip for a camera, and as usual plenty of water and layers of 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.  

Some background data on the site is available online, here.
And some photos from the day it opened for a little prespective.  

We meet next on Monday the 12th be ready to take notes.  I have not found a satisfactory way of putting the data into a format that I can easily reproduce, so your notes are all you'll have.

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


Friday, May 2, 2014

Field Trip to Garden/Garden and The Learning Garden Meets at 2:00 At Garden/Garden

This Saturday, May 3 will be our second field trip - this one is in the afternoon.  

For those of you wanting to be a part of Orchid's volunteer opportunity, please meet with her at Pasadena High School, 2925 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107 at 8:00 AM.  

View Larger Map

Come dressed to get dirty, bring gloves, a shovel (if you have one), a hat, water, and protection from the sun.  You will not be graded on whether or not you come to this volunteer event.  It is completely voluntary!  

At 2:00 PM, we will start the field trip at Garden/Garden 1718 and 1724 Pearl Street in Santa Monica, across the street from the Main Campus on the backside.  (Bring quarters to feed the meter!) 

View Larger Map

The gardens are easy to find.  This will be decidedly cooler than Pasadena, but do plan on shielding yourself from the sun and have plenty of fluids on hand to stay hydrated. 

Approximately at 3:30, we will leave Garden/Garden driving east bound on Pearl to 23rd Street, turning right and staying on it as makes a curve near the Santa Monica Airport and changes its name to Walgrove Avenue.  

View Larger Map

Further south a number of blocks, just past Venice Blvd the first gate on your left is the entrance to The Learning Garden (what I call 'work').  Please find parking on Walgrove Avenue and walk into the garden.  We will be on campus till about 5:00.  

Hope to see you all there - this is a very informative field trip and then see you on Monday again!


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