Category Archives: Instructional Activities

Seed Saving and Selection

Happy New Year Gardeners!

When saving seed we first start with open pollinated varieties that when fertilized will produce offspring true-to-type meaning same as the parent. Hybrids do not produce offspring true-to-type which we why we don’t save seeds from hybrid plants.

When choosing which plants to save for seed select only the most vigorous plants; those that look healthy. Do not save seed from weak or diseased plants. Also look for characteristics that you want, it could be taste, size, or it could be color.

In the photo above the head of lettuce on the left is more deeply freckled than the head on the right. Since the colored freckles are a desired trait we will choose the head on left to save rather than the one on the right which is less colored. The name of the lettuce by the way is Forellenschluss aka Speckled Trout Back aka Freckles.

Which seeds are you going to be saving this year?

2017 UC Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program

Complete Online Application by January 9, 2017

If you enjoy gardening, and want to teach others how to garden sustainably, this may be the program for you! Please read below to learn more about the program and whether it may be a match for you.

UC Master Gardeners extend research-based information by conducting workshops and demonstrations, diagnosing plant and pest problems, speaking to community groups, educating teachers and parents at school gardens, and answering gardening questions at fairs and farmers markets as well as on our email and phone helplines. By training Master Gardener volunteers, we empower neighborhoods to create their own solutions and foster healthier gardens, communities and a sustainable environment.

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2016

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This fall I will be teaching the beginning gardening classes again at Greystone Mansion. In case any of you missed a class or would like to recommend to friends or family please see info below.

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2016

The Grow LA Victory Garden classes are organized and led by UC California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and are meant to teach residents how to grow fruits and vegetables in their own backyard.

Where: Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(Entrance on Doheny Rd.)

When: September 25th, October 2nd, October 9th,
and October 16th (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)

List of topics includes:

Week 1 (Sunday, September 25th): planning, seed starting, raised beds, container gardening, plant selection (what to grow and when to grow it).

Week 2 (Sunday, October 2nd): tools, soil structure, soil preparation, plant nutrition, organic fertilizers, transplanting, irrigation, mulching.

Week 3 (Sunday, October 9th): integrated pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), organic pesticides, composting and worm composting.

Week 4 (Sunday, October 16th): pollination, seed saving, fruit trees, harvesting, review, and graduation.

Registration must be completed through Beverly Hills Park and Recreation. See Catalog, page 17.

You will be confirmed registration once payment is made. See online registration page here.

The cost is $15 for each class ($12 for Beverly Hills residents) or $56 for the entire series ($45 for BH residents). Those who take all 4 classes will be given a certificate of completion from UC Cooperative Extension.

Any questions please contact:
George Pessin, Master Gardener Instructor
Email: gp305@yahoo.com
Tel: 310-779-8816

Grasshoppers in the Garden

Grasshoppers are a nuisance. They feed on the green leaves of young plants and can defoliate an entire plant if left unchecked.

Barriers can be used to keep grasshoppers aways from your plants. One remedy is a cage made from window screen. The holes are small enough not to allow the grasshoppers access, but large enough to allow sunlight and watering.

Another type of barrier and great for larger areas is floating row covers. Floating row covers are made from a very lightweight material that lays right on top of your  plants. Water and sunshine get through easily, insects are kept out, including birds who may try to eat your freshly planted seeds.

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Floating row covers can also extend a season by protecting plants from frost down to 28ºF.

For more info about floating row covers see info sheet from Washington St University Extension

Introducing Beanstalk Seeds

Are you looking for a fun way to get your kids outside? Do you want to engage them with nature? Teach them how to love fresh vegetables?

Beanstalk Seeds is a new seed company specializing in seeds for children’s gardening!

With exciting seeds, including those in our Plant a Rainbow kit, and resources such as our Garden Guidesheets, Beanstalk Seeds makes it easy and fun for you to engage your kids in the growing process.

What Are Beanstalk Seeds?
Previously only available at our office in KC, Kansas City Community Gardens’ specialty seeds are now available to families, youth groups and schools throughout the country at www.beanstalkseeds.com.

Butterflies and Caterpillars in the Garden

If you want to attract something like this, a swallowtail butterfly,

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your going to have to put up with caterpillars, which are swallowtails in the larva stage.

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Caterpillars can do enormous damage to a vegetable garden. They are voracious eaters. In this photo the host plant is a 3 foot fennel bush. This particular specie also likes dill and parsley and other members of the carrot family. The caterpillars will eventually strip all the fronds from the stems.

You can identify different butterflies and caterpillars in your backyard or school garden with this great tool from gardenwithwings.com.

If you are not interested in saving the caterpillars then ridding them from your garden can be done in two effective ways:
1. Pick them off by hand and put into a pail of soapy water;
2. Spray the plant and underside of leaves with Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly known as BT.

Photographer Bob Moul has a great slideshow showing the morphing of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Job Opening – Director Position – Seeds to Plate Program

MTMS

Job Opening: Director Position, Seeds to Plate Program at Mark Twain Middle School, Los Angeles, CA

About Us
The Seeds to Plate Program aims to create and maintain a school garden that is integrated into the academic environment, promote a healthy food culture, nurture physical and mental well-being, and provide hands-on gardening and eating experiences for students, families and staff to foster mutual respect, appreciation of diversity, community spirit and sustainability of the earth. This modern incarnation of the garden program at Mark Twain Middle School was started in 2009, and consists of a team of seven volunteers, predominantly UCCE Master Gardeners.