Category Archives: Instructional Activities

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2016

IMG_5968
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.

floatingrowcover

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,

swallowtail-butterfly

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

adultcat01

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.

Science and Our Food Supply – Free Supplementary Curriculum for Middle Level and High School Classrooms

scienceandfoodsupply

What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Yes, food can be used to engage students in inquiry-based science — really! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have created Science and Our Food Supply, an innovative, interactive supplementary curriculum for use in middle level and high school science classes. An advisory board of experienced teachers just like you developed and tested the materials.

UC Davis Website Afghan Ag is a boon for Garden Educators

Saffron Field

I recently came across a very valuable teaching resource for both educators and students from a very unlikely source – Afghan Ag.

e-Afghan Ag is supported by the USDA and managed by University of California, Davis with additional information from other land grant universities such as Cornell and Purdue. The url is http://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/

The site contains university researched best practices for farmers in Afghanistan including an entire section of Educational Materials. Of the educational materials, check out HorticultureField Crops and Soil.

The one lesson I initially found is called, “Student Lesson for Essential Plant Nutrients,” which is listed under Field Crops. There is also a power-point presentation to accompany the lesson.