Venice HS Learning Garden

Gardens evolve. All gardens, school or otherwise, season to season, year to year, they grow, they change, and with the proper care, they prosper.  The “Learning Garden” at Venice High School has been evolving and prospering for more than 15 years.


Back in 1995 horticulture/landscape teacher Diane Pollock “inherited” a weed-ridden one acre property that was more home to feral cats and vagrants than it was to living plants. In collaboration with Garden Master David King and numerous community volunteers they have created one of the show-piece school gardens in America.


Today, the students are enriched by the various gardens that surround them. There’s a Chinese Herb and Medicinal Plant Garden, a Mediterranean Garden, a Fruit Orchard, a Rose Demonstration Garden, a Grape Arbor, and the U.C.L.A. Ornamental Garden.


A California native plant section has been lovingly created and cared for by Christine Walker.


Agricultural plots are tended to for organic vegetables. Compost piles teach sustainability.

One exciting recent development is the Culinary Arts and Sustainable Agriculture Academy (CASAA) created by teacher Tina Gruen. This new venture takes the garden a giant step forward by developing a complete “farm to fork” concept.  Students not only grow their food, but are taught how to prepare it as well. The entire process from seed to table can now be experienced first hand.

The Learning Garden’s famous potuck lunches on Fridays just got a whole lot tastier!

Westminster School Garden Keeps on Growing

Nora Dvosin and Nancy Giffin began the Westminster Elementary School Garden (WE Garden) in Venice, CA in 2004/05. Amid a sea of asphalt they have doggedly carved themselves a thriving oasis.

The WE garden has grown over the years tripling its original size and now includes a new kindergarten area complete with flowering pear trees that will be espaliered along the fence.

The organic learning garden is fully integrated into student/classroom curriculum including: art, science, social science, language, history, & math.

For example, the colonial garden not only teaches history but replicates a colonial era kitchen garden with the same plants and herbs that were grown at that time.

Students are also able to participate in a “seed-to-table” experience through a partnership with long time Los Angeles chef (and school neighbor), Joe Miller of Joe’s Restaurant on Abbot Kinney.

In exchange for cooking classes that Joe performs in the garden, the WE garden dedicates one bed to Joe’s Restaurant and grows whatever Chef decides. Currently there are Okinowan spinach, Caribbean thyme, 3 different kinds of peppers, and a feathery cilantro variety.

School never tasted so good.

Pitchfork – Seedlings for School and Community Gardens

PITCHFORK. If you never been you should go.
If you’ve been you’re probably returning.

Mud Baron and his crew are again giving away 30,000 organic vegetable, herb and ornamental seedlings plus free compost and free potting soil.

Saturday, 5/15,
8:30AM-1030AM
Sylmar High School , 13050 Borden Ave., Sylmar 91342
(Garden entrance on Raven – Past Borden)


The Ultimate School Garden

The Earth Day Network Organization worked with Cesar Chevez Elementary School in Hyattsville, Md. to construct the ultimate sustainable garden on the school grounds.

The Ultimate School Garden from Nathasha Lim on Vimeo.

Woolly School Gardens – Grow it Vertically

Woolly Pockets is sponsoring a program to bring gardens to schools. More information at woollyschoolgarden.org

Sow Easy – Indoor School Garden Activity

By Lisa Gustavson,  Getinthegarden.com

Are you looking for an easy garden project to occupy your time while early sown seeds germinate and snows melt away? Seed tapes are the answer. They’re super-simple to make, use everyday items in your home and make sowing small seeds like lettuces and flowers a snap! Seed tapes are simply paper strips with seeds adhered to them. They make planting and spacing small seeds outdoors faster and easier.

What you’ll need: A paper towel or napkin, flour (organic), a small paintbrush and seeds. You may want to recycle a cardboard tube to roll the seed tapes around as well.

First: Mix the flour with enough water to make a medium-thick paste. Don’t worry about exact amounts, just so long as the paste is thick enough for the seeds to stick to.

Next: Use the paintbrush to dab the flour paste at equally spaced increments along the paper towel. Use the packet as a guide for spacing and a ruler if you’d like it to be precise. You can fit several rows along each sheet of paper towel.

Last: Press two or three seeds gently onto each dab of paste making sure they adhere. Let the strip dry completely and cut between each row of seeds. Roll up each strip and store in a plastic bag in a cool dry place until planting time.

This is a great project for children! Clean-up is a snap and if there is flour paste left over it can be thinned with more water and used to decoupage seed packets and flower pictures from catalogs to clay or plastic pots. (Be sure to coat with an eco-friendly sealant so they’ll be waterproof.) It’s sow easy!

New Life for Paterson’s Eastside Park Greenhouse

City Green and Eastside Neighborhood Association Launch Greenhouse Program

March 29, 2010–Paterson, NJ – City Green, an urban community garden and educational programming organization, in partnership with the Eastside Neighborhood Association, has begun their program at the Greenhouse at Eastside Park made available to the groups by the city of Paterson.

The greenhouse, located near the Department of Public Works building in the park will be used to grow flower and vegetable starter plants for City Green’s  Learning Garden and many new community gardens and programs throughout the city.

“We are grateful to the city and the Department of Public Works for allowing us use of this valuable resource and for preparing it for our use by cleaning it out and installing new lighting,” said Jennifer Papa, Executive Director of City Green.

“Planting is underway and we now have the capacity to grow two hundred and forty flats of vegetables, herbs, and flowers,” she continued.

We will also use the plantings for our beautification programs, “Green Your Block” and “Backyard Gardeners” educating community members in neighborhood beautification techniques and home hardening efforts.

City Green, who has developed educational garden programs and environmental clubs throughout the Paterson school system will offer opportunities to high school interns and youth groups to work with plantings in the Greenhouse  throughout the year.

“Now we will be looking for volunteers to help at the Greenhouse and our other community gardens.” said Ms. Papa.

For more information about the Greenhouse contact City Green at 973-800-8197, or email:  jpapa@city-green.org
or visit www.citygreenonline.org

City Green Inc. is a non-profit 501 c 3 community garden and educational programming organization based in Wyckoff, New Jersey.  It offers practical, technical and financial support to revitalize urban communities through gardening.