Category Archives: Instructional Activities

A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California Education Standards

seddlings

The California Department of Education has a free publication for downloading regarding school gardens and curriculum. A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California Education Standards links garden-based education activities selected from several published educational materials to specific academic content standards for grades two through six in science, history/social sciences, mathematics, and English language arts.

Free download version available here (PDF; 5.22MB; 112pp.)

Chayote Harvest

chayote vine

Chayote never met a fence it did not like or could not cover. The longest vines are well over 10 ft long. It’s amazing to believe it all started from one chayote fruit planted in early spring.

chayote fence

Approximately six months later we are now harvesting the beginning of what appears to be a huge harvest. We just need to be careful not to allow the fruit to grow through the fence.

chayote female flower

Chayote is in the Cucurbitaceae family aka squash family which means seperate male and female flowers. The female flower is easily distinguishable by the baby fruit (ovary) sitting at the base waiting to be pollinated.

The harvest will last approximately 2-3 months depending on the weather, after which the plant will die back. At that point we will prune aggressively for the winter and allow this perennial to resume its growth the following spring.

How to Sell Produce at a Certified Farmer’s Market

winter squash

For any school or urban gardener wishing to sell produce at a Los Angeles County Certified Farmer’s Market a Producer’s Certificate from the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner Weights & Measures Department is mandatory.

First step is to call their South Gate office at 562-622-0402 and arrange for an inspection. An inspector would them come out to view the product and estimate production. If the school or individual then puts in another crop in the Spring, the inspector would then have to come out again to view the crop and estimate production. The annual cost for the certificate is $63.00.

I had several questions regarding this certificate. Ibrahim Abdel, Pest Exclusion & Produce Quality/ Agricultural /Weights & Measures Inspector was kind enough to answer.

1) Is a certificate necessary to sell the produce to a restaurant?

The certificate is not required to sell your products to a restaurant or at school.  If you sell the products to a restaurant without having the certificate, then you are not exempt from the standard size and the labeling for the products.  If you have a certificate and want to sell the products to a restaurant, you have to provide the restaurant with a receipt showing your name, the commodity, the amount sold and the price in this case, you are exempt from the standard container and the product labeling.

2) Is a certificate necessary to sell the produce at the school?

No, the certificate is only required to sell your products at a certified farmers’ market (CFM).

3) If I have a garden at my home or community garden would I also need a permit to sell at the farmer’s market or am I covered by the Los Angeles City Ordinance 181188 (aka Food and Flower Act)? My understanding is the certificate is only necessary to sell at the farmer’s market. To sell to a restaurant or others I do not need a certificate. Is this correct?

Yes. To sell the products grown at your home at a CFM, you need a certificate.

4) Last question, if a school (or homeowner) is to sell to a restaurant without a certificate how do they compose the standard size and product labeling? What is required?

You can find the requirement for each product in the California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Division 3, Chapter 1.

Basically the following is required:

1) A declaration of identity – the name specified by applicable Federal or State law or regulation, or common name, or generic name or other appropriate description of the commodity.

2) A declaration of responsibility – that includes the name, address, and zip code of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, however, the street address may be omitted if this is shown in a current city directory or telephone directory.

3) A declaration of quantity – by count or measure.

For further information visit the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner Weights and Measures website.

Flowers for a School Garden

snapdragons

Snapdragons

There is no rule that says school gardens should only be about edible plants. Adding flowers to row ends or borders, containers and window-boxes is a great way to add color and beauty to any outdoor classroom. Since we are planting in the fall and want flowers fairly quickly we are limited to what varieties we can grow.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

The following is a list of easy to grow annuals that all can be planted now and will flower within the school year:

Bachelor Buttons, Calendula, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Phlox, Poppies, Snap Dragons, Stocks, & Violas

stocks

Stocks

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