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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Greener Gardens: Sustainable Garden Practice Syllabus

Course Name, Units Greener Gardens: Sustainable Garden Practice, 4 units
Req # 2455538
Course Number X498.10
Quarter, Year Summer, 2016

Course Information:
Location: Classroom, The Learning Garden, 13000 Venice Blvd. campus of Venice High School (enter off of Walgrove Avenue, parking on the street)
Dates: Tuesday – June 21, 2016, 6:30-9:30 PM through 16 August
Field Trip Dates: Saturday, July 9, 1:30 PM 4:30 PM
Saturday, July 30, 1:30 PM to 4300 PM
Saturday, August 13 1:30 PM to 4300 PM

Instructors Information:
Name: Orchid Black/David King
Email Policy: We will have no set office hours, however, we will be available by phone and by email. We are willing to meet with students by appointment.

David King is a noted Los Angeles food gardener with over 40 years of experience. He has served on the board of the American Community Gardening Association and the California School Gardening Advisory Board. His first book, Growing Food In Southern California is due out later this year. He is the director of The Learning Garden and the Founding Chair of The Seed Library of Los Angeles, and co-founder of Seed Freedom – LA, the group spear-heading the anti-GMO ordinance in Los Angeles.

Orchid Black is a garden designer and owner of Native Sanctuary which offers native plant consulting, habitat creation and sustainable design services. Orchid’s gardens have been featured on the Theodore Payne Foundation’s garden tour. Orchid writes and lectures about native horticulture, water-saving strategies, and sustainable gardening.

Course Description:
Sustainability is today's buzzword and many people seek to create a lifestyle with a more favorable impact on the environment. From home gardens to school and commercial sites, our gardens present the perfect place to start. Designed for horticulture students, gardening professionals, educators, and home gardeners, this course focuses on turning your green thumb into a "greener" garden. Topics include composting, irrigation, water harvesting, water wise plants, eating and growing local produce, recycling, and moving towards a sustainable lifestyle when choosing materials and tools. Includes weekend field trips to the Los Angeles River to see our relationship with water in the L.A. Basin, as well as a native garden with sustainable features, focusing not only on California native plants but also on water-conserving planting design. Students also visit the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, which advances the principles of environmentally sustainable living through education, research, demonstration, and community outreach. This course will enable students to understand and appreciate the changes we will need to make in our gardens to achieve ‘sustainability.’ A multitude of differing strategies will be presented allowing students to choose the extent of their involvement with more sustainable gardens and, ultimately, a more sustainable life style.

Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, students will:
  • Understand the concept of sustainability and its relevance to the modern garden.
  • The reasons to consider sustainability.
  • Be able to use the concept of sustainability in the creation of a garden and its maintenance.
  • Understand and be able to present to others the concepts and ideas of sustainability and the myriad of alternatives to an overly consumptive garden style.
  • Learning Objective

Course Resources

This course will not have a text. There will be an extensive bibliography from which the material presented has been gleaned; some books more practical, some theoretical, while others present our current situation and the problems that affect our daily lives and the gardens we grow.

Course Overview

This course is designed to be practical. Upon completion, students will be able to employ many different strategies to reduce consumption of water and oil-produced products and create beautiful and productive gardens that comprise a much smaller carbon footprint than most contemporary gardens.

For this course we will utilize a blog page ( to post handouts and extra material to the class. There is an RSS feed that sends each posting automatically to your email so you can have access to handouts whenever they are posted. This approach is most handy when dealing with field trips because links to maps can be posted and any last minute updates are easily available. If this technology is new to you, another classmate or David will guide you through it. It is not difficult.

Those of you on Facebook, there is the “Greener Gardens” group. While not specifically composed of UCLA Extension students, it includes students from David's classes with some talented professional contributors. Handouts are posted there as PDF files. Occasional job offers and other items of interest are posted as well.

Course and Extension Policies

Grading: All grades except Incomplete are final when filed by the instructor of record in an end-of-term course report. No change of grade may be made on the basis of reassessment of the quality of a student's work. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination.

Refunds: Refund requests will be accepted until the close of business on the final refund date, which is printed on your enrollment receipt.

Changes in Credit Status and Withdrawals: Students may petition the Registration office for changes to credit status, or to withdraw from classes, prior to the administration of the final examination. (After the midpoint of the course, a change in credit status to one requiring assessment of student work will be permitted only with the endorsement of the instructor-in-charge.) Under no circumstances may a change in credit status or withdrawal be approved for a student who has sat for a final examination.

Cheating: UCLA Extension students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of academic and related personal misconduct, including but not limited to the following enumeration promulgated under Regental authority.
“Dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University. Theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others, or violation of others' copyrights.”
Sanctions may include Warning; Censure; Suspension; Interim Suspension; Dismissal; and Restitution.
Absences: If you must miss class please notify us as soon as possible. Make up work will be penalized as late. More than 3 absences in a quarter, including field trips, may result in a failing grade.

Your grade will be predicated on class participation and your choice of one project (or a combination of one of each for extra credit should it be needed or desired) or one paper of no less than 5 pages on aspects of sustainability; topics and project possibilities will be discussed in class. We encourage students to use their own area of interests when choosing their project or topic.


Your grade will be based on the following: Your grade will be calculated using the following scale:
Final Project
Percentage Scale

Miscellaneous Information:

The room where we meet has no reliable source of heat therefore we suggest you dress in layers. It is wise to carry a flashlight as well; the lighting leaves somewhat to be desired.

There is no place to purchase any drinks or snacks nearby. We will have coffee and/or tea if desired. Classes held at the garden in the past have enjoyed a range of homemade snacks from the instructors and/or other students.


Session + Date
21 June
Introduction to Sustainability

28 June
Design for Conservation of Resources

05 July
Bring soil sample from your garden.
09 July
Garden/Garden and The Learning Garden
Afternoon Field Trip
12 July
Water I: Water Conservation
Preliminary discussion of paper/project choice
19 July
Water II: Water Harvesting

26 July
Sustainability of Front Yard Food

30 July
Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies
Afternoon Field Trip with Lyle Center Faculty
02 August
Sustainable Planting Palette
Project completion benchmark
09 August
Habitat and Hardscape

13 August
LA River
Afternoon Field Trip
16 August
Sustainable Gardening: The Next Frontier

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