Category Archives: Instructional Activities

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes at Greystone Mansion

Greystone Demonstration Garden

The University of California Cooperative Extension is organizing workshops in various communities throughout Los Angeles County to teach residents how to grow their own vegetables.

I am pleased to announce Greystone Mansion and Park in Beverly Hills will be one of the hosting sites for the upcoming Fall classes and yours truly will be the instructor.

We will be hosting 4 Sunday classes (12 noon – 3 PM) beginning 9/14/14. Those who take all 4 classes will be given a certificate of completion.

Spring Planting 2014

cucumber2

In celebration of spring let’s discuss what we’re growing this year.
Our list includes:

Chayote
Genovese Italian Basil
Edamame Soy Beans
Blue Lake Bush Bean
Black-Seeded Yard Long Pole Bean
Honey Select Corn
Rocky Top Mix Lettuce
Imperial Black Beauty Eggplant
Cayenne Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Nardello Sweet Pepper
Aunt Ruby’S German Green Tomato
Kelloggs Breakfast Tomato
Black Vernissage (Cherry) Tomato
Prudens Purple Tomato
Early Red Chief Tomato
Lemon Cucumber (shown above)
Mideast Prolific Cucumber
Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber (shown below)
Burgess Buttercup Winter Squash
Golden Scallopini Bush Squash
Golden Bush Zucchini
Cocozelle Bush Zucchini
Green Rocky Ford Melon
Haogen Melon
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
and Peanuts!

mexcian-sour-gherkin

Seed Companies we use:

Baker Creek
Botanical Interests
Peaceful Valley
Pinetree
Renee’s Garden
Seeds of Change

What are you growing this year?

Keeping a School Garden Journal

A School Garden journal is an invaluable tool, not only for the success of your garden but also for the myriad of experiments that can be done in tandem.

This is my entry for 10/5/13:

Bed 1 (B1) – Fava Beans germinated (broke through the soil), 1-2 days old. Germination took 10 days.

B2 – Lettuce germinated, about 3 days old. Germination took 7 days.

B3 – Beets and Swiss Chard both germinated. Germination took 7 days.

B4 – Aphids and eggs found beneath swiss chard leaves planted last year. Washed them off with a jet of water. See photo.

B5 – Something ate many of our Brassica seedlings (broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, bok choy). Not snails or slugs, no nub left over, no slimy trail. Will replant with floating row cover.

B6 – Peas, Carrots, Celeriac, Cilantro, Parsley sowed seeds 9/28, nothing yet.

Harvesting: last of the pole beans, swiss chard, kale, eggplant, Mexican sour gherkins, oregano, thyme, & chives.

Saved dried pods of pole green beans. Seeds were planted 5/15. Seed-to-seed was 19 weeks. Next year I want to get my sweet peas in earlier. If I want to plant them the third week in September (lets say, September 23rd), and I want to save seeds from the pole beans again, when should I plant the beans? This is one reason why we keep a journal. Can you think of some others?

Maybe this will help –
1. How Does My Garden Grow? Writing in Science Field Journals

2. School Garden Curricula

aphids and eggs

The yellow elliptical dots are the eggs. The black dots at top are the aphids

Planning and Planting Your Winter Garden

This is the layout for the Hamilton High School fall/winter 2013 school garden. What’s yours?

Bed 1 – Fava Beans
We will follow this with corn in the spring.

fava beans

Fava beans

Bed 2 – Lettuce
We will broadcast lettuce seeds creating a lettuce “patch” rather than conventional rows.

lettuce patch

Lettuce patch

Bed 3 – Beets, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Red Sorrel
Red Sorrel is a perennial. We will plant at the southern end of the bed.

red sorrel

Red sorrel

Bed 4 – Potatoes, Dandelion greens, Garlic, Shallots.
Garlic and shallots will take the longest. We will plant those at the northern end of the bed.

shallots

Shallots

Bed 5 – Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Choy Sum (red stem), Cabbage, Radishes, Arugula
All the Brassicas are grouped together. Makes crop rotation a breeze.

radishes

Radishes

Bed 6 – Peas, Carrots, Celeriac, Cilantro, Parsley
Other than peas all are in the same family, again facilitating crop rotation. Celeriac is a close relative of celery.

pea seedling

Pea germination

Herb Bed – Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Tarragon, Horse Radish, Ginger, Fennel, Cumin.
Other than fennel and cumin all perennials.

sage

Sage

Harvesting Swiss chard and Kale

Beans are done; corn is done. Squash plants all have powdery mildew and it appears to be spreading to the cucumbers and tomatoes. Welcome to the dog days of summer.

Usually during this time we not only harvest the remains of our summer crop but we also look forward to the fall and the new season of cool-weather crops. I am perusing seed catalogs as we speak.

Two plants that you must consider this fall are Swiss chard and Kale.

swiss chard and kale

Both are highly nutritious and extremely high yielding. You will get more yearly produce from one square foot of swiss chard than you will from any other vegetable. Period.

Lacinato Kale aka Tuscan Cabbage, Cavolo Nero, Dinosaur Kale or Black Tuscan Palm, is an heirloom that can grow to 5-6 ft tall under ideal conditions. Like Swiss chard it is a biennial, which means it goes to seed every two years.

Kale leaves can reach 18” long so giving the plant plenty of room is key.

We planted both of these in the early fall and both are still producing weekly harvests, even through the dog days of summer.

Zucchini Pollination – Pop Quiz

The following are squash flowers from a zucchini plant. One is male, the other is female. Can you identify which is which? I’ll give you a hint…when the male pollen fertilizes the female ovary zucchini seeds are created and the ovary swells to carry the seed.

Here’s a thought, wouldn’t it be great if “the birds and the bees” were taught where the birds and the bees actually congregate? What do you think?

male-zucchini-flower

Female Squash Flower

 

How To Transplant a Tomato Seedling

Tomatoes plants are almost always transplanted into our garden from seedlings. Whether you grow the seedlings yourself or buy them from a nursery it is best to remove the lower branches and bury the stem up to the uppermost leaves.

tomato seedling

Original tomato seedling

tomato seedling 2

Tomato seedling with lower stems removed

Tomato Seedling Transplanted

Tomato seedling transplanted up to lower leaves.

The reason we do this is because the hairs along the lower stem will develop into roots. They will enable the tomato plant to take in more water and nutrition from the soil.

tomato hairs

Tomato “hairs”