Category Archives: Instructional Activities

School Garden Grants Resource List

School Garden

Are you interested in building a school garden and could use a little financial help? Or maybe you already have a school garden and wish to expand. The following is a list of grants available specifically for school gardens or sites that list school garden grants on a continuing basis. See previous post about Tips to Get a School Garden grant.

1) GardenABCs.com – School and Community Garden Grants

2) KidsGardening.org List of Grants and Fundraising

3) San Diego County Master Gardener Association – Calendar of Grants Available to School Gardens

4) Annies.com Grants for Gardens

5) California Fertilizer Foundation – California School Garden Grants

6) CommunityGarden.org – Grant Sources and Fundraising

7) Green Education Foundation – Youth Gardening Grants

8) Western Growers – School Garden Grants

9) Wild Ones – Seeds for Education: Grants for School Gardens and Community Nature Areas

What are you growing in your school garden this year?

broccoli crown

In mild winter climates likes ours in Southern California now is the perfect time to be planting our winter garden, and how advantageous that it should also coincide with the start of the school year.

What to grow in a school garden is a question we hear alot. The short answer right now is cool weather crops. Cool weather crops differ from the warm weather crops we grow in the spring and summer mainly in that they do not fruit. Peruse the list below and you will notice that when consuming cool weather crops we are eating mostly leaves, stems, and roots.

For northern climates cool weather crops can be grown very successfully in a greenhouse.

The following is a list of cool weather crops arranged by family:

Alliaceae (Allium or Onion Family) – chives, onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, leeks

Amaranthaceae (Amaranth or Beet Family) – amaranth, beet, chard, spinach, quinoa

Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (Carrot or Dill Family) – anise, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, parsley, parsnip

Asteraceae (Sunflower Family) – artichokes, cardoons, chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, raddichio, jerusalem artichokes

Brassicaceae (Brassica or Mustard Family) – arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rapini, rutabaga, tat soi, turnip

Fabaceae (Legume Family) peas, fava beans, soybeans, lentils

Lamiaceae (Mint Family) – mint, rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme

Solanaceae (Nightshade Family) – potatoes

Whatever you decide to plant I suggest starting some of the plants from seed like lettuce, cilantro and radishes. Then choose one of each and allow it to bolt and go to seed. This a very valuable lesson about the cycle of a plant from seed-to-seed which can be easily accomplished within the school year.

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2011

winter garden

Are you interested in growing a vegetable garden in your own backyard? Grow LA Victory Garden classes are now being offered for Fall 2011. Please see details below for registration

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2011

The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden. Participants are able to turn their interest in gardening into successful, productive gardens that will generate positive changes in their homes by helping to lower grocery bills and enhance opportunities to eat healthy food.

The Grow LA Victory Garden classes are organized and led by UC California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. Those who complete the 4-week training will become UC-Certified Victory Gardeners.

Place:
Hami Garden, Hamilton High School
2955 South Robertson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Entrance on S. Canfield Ave (Between Cattaraugus and Kramerwood Pl)

The 4-week session is every Sunday for 3 hours.
Dates: Sept 18, Sept 25, Oct 2, Oct 9
Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM

List of topics include the following:
Week 1: Planning, tools, containers, raised beds, seed starting, plant selection (what to grow and when to grow it)

Week 2: Soil preparation, soil properties, organic fertilizers, transplanting, irrigation, and mulching

Week 3: Composting, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), beneficial insects, organic pesticides.

Week 4: Harvesting, pollination, seed saving, fruit trees, recipes, review, graduation

The cost is $15 per class or $50 for the entire session. Only those taking all 4 sessions will be eligible for certificates. Part of the proceeds will go to supporting the Hami Garden.

Payment is available through Paypal.com or by check. My paypal account email address is gp305@yahoo.com. You will be confirmed registration once payment is received. Classes were a sell-out in the spring, please register early.

Contact:
Master Gardener George Pessin
Tel: 310-779-8816
Email: gp305@yahoo.com

Mailing Address:
834 Huntley Dr #4
Los Angeles, CA 90069

What to Do With Excess Tomatoes – Recipe Included

tomatoes

Happiness is a bucketful of tomatoes. We had a bumper crop this year. One question we always get is how to save them. Canning is of course one option however some folks find it too difficult and demanding. One simple option we subscribe to is to roast them and then freeze them. See recipe below for Roasted Tomato Sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomatoes

2 pounds tomatoes, halved (or enough to fill a rectangular baking pan)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large white onion, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
salt, pepper
2-3 tablespoon dried herbs (i.e. Herbs de Provence , Italian herbs, basil, thyme or oregano ).

Put the halved tomatoes cut side up in a sheet cake pan or other pan (pyrex) with high sides (at least 2″). If possible, make it just one layer.

Spread chopped onion and garlic on top of the tomatoes.

Drizzle olive oil all over contents of the pan.

Salt and pepper liberally, sprinkle herbs on top.

Put in a 350 F oven for 45 minutes. You can go longer if you want sweeter onions and more intense tomato taste. Just watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Scoop contents of the pan (there will be a lot of liquid in the bottom) through a food mill to to get rid of skins and seeds. If you don’t mind skins, you can just put contents into a blender. Save the liquid as it makes for a flavorful tomato broth.

Taste, and adjust seasonings. Then freeze or use immediately.

As you become more familiar with the recipe you can roast other vegetables with the tomatoes such as peppers, eggplant or fennel as seen above.

Enjoy!

Guidelines for Summer Harvest


The height of summer is upon us and so is the height of the summer harvest. This week alone we picked about a pound of basil, 3 pounds of cucumbers, 5 pounds of squash, 5 pounds of tomatoes, 2 watermelons totaling about 30 pounds, and 65 ears of corn. One trombone zucchini was NOT picked in order to see how big it gets. At this size it is no longer edible but it will keep for some time as a decorative gourd.

Some guidelines you should follow for harvesting your summer produce:

Corn – Silks begin to turn brown and dry out as the corn cob matures, approximately 3 weeks after first appearing. You can check a few ears for maturity by peeling back the tops and pressing the top kernels with your thumbnail. If the liquid exuded is milky rather than clear the corn is ready to be picked.

Cucumbers – Harvest when fruits are a deep green color before any yellowing appears. Pick the fruits regularly to encourage more fruiting. Mature cucumbers left on the vine will signal the plant to stop producing.

Squash – Same as cucumbers, harvest often to encourage production.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are best when ripened on the vine. Harvest when the fruits are uniformly red (or yellow, purple, etc.) The fruits should be beginning to lose their firmness just slightly soft.

Watermelon – Watermelons will be nearing maturity when the tendril across from the fruit turns brown and dry. Look for a yellowing underneath where the watermelon touches the ground and for the surface color to turn from shiny to dull.

How to Harvest Fennel Pollen

Fennel pollen is a gourmet spice collected from a flowering fennel plant. Use it on such dishes as sauteed string beans or grilled chicken.

Eat Your Thinnings

My summer lettuce patch is partially shaded by large squash leaves. This keeps the lettuce from bolting during the long, hot summer.

I originally broadcast my seeds rather than sowing in rows to maximize the amount of produce grown in such a small space.

Using this approach it is necessary to periodically thin out the plants to give them enough room to grow and allow for adequate sunlight and nutrients.

As you can see in the photo above I got a bagful of lettuce and one of basil by thinning out the lettuce patch. You could hardly tell that i made a dent.

Bottom-line: periodic thinning will keep you in lettuce (and basil) all summer.