LA County Master Gardener Training 2010

Los Angeles County Master Gardener Training Program is now accepting applications for 2010.

The dates are 13 Saturdays, March 6 – May 29, 2010

January 15:  Last Day to Request Application Packet

January 31:  Last Day to Submit Completed Application, LiveScan Fingerprinting, and Payment

WHO CAN APPLY
• Any resident of Los Angeles County with an email address and computer access.  Most communication will be by email and websites.
• Anyone who wants to help teach low-income and limited-resource people how to grow more nutritious vegetables and fruits.
• We especially invite residents of inner-city neighborhoods and bilingual gardeners.

HOW TO APPLY
• You MUST be on either or both of our resource elists – 1) Community Gardening and Food Security, or 2) School Gardening.
• If you’re not, then email ydsavio@ucdavis.edu and indicate which elist you want to be on (you can be on both).
• If you’re already on either or both elists, email gjmitche@ucdavis.edu to receive the application survey, LiveScan form and list of LiveScan locations for required fingerprinting and criminal background check by Department of Justice.  This must be done now for us specifically, regardless if you’ve done it for another agency.  Note differences in prices and hours available, as some require appointments. Because we are a nonprofit organization, there is no additional fee.
• By January 31, 2009, submit completed application packet.  1) Email completed application survey, 2) Sign, date, and mail last page of the application survey, 3) Mail copy of LiveScan form completed and signed by Live Scan operator (Keep a copy for yourself), 4) Mail check for $150 made payable to “UC REGENTS.”  [Note:  Low-income residents pay only what they can afford—see application survey for details.]

WHAT WE’LL DO
• Accept 50 participants from some 200 applications.  Main criteria for acceptance:  1) prior community service (not necessarily in gardening),
2) passion for helping low-income gardeners, 3) experience giving presentations and working with people of diverse backgrounds, and 4) initiative in starting and carrying through with projects.
• Notify you by February 12 whether or not you’ve been accepted into the program.  Please don’t contact us before then.
• Teach you how to garden successfully.  Topics and garden activities will cover basic plant science, propagation, fertilization, irrigation, soil, compost, vegetable and herb and fruit gardening, flowering plants and trees, Integrated Pest Management (diseases, weeds, insects, small animals), tools, how to start community and school gardens, and outreach techniques.
• Provide you with Volunteer and Continuing Education opportunities all over Los Angeles County.

WHAT YOU’LL DO
• As soon as you’re accepted:  1) Establish a Yahoo group ID (if you don’t already have a Yahoo email address, we’ll give you instructions).  You can use either your existing email address or your new Yahoo email address to receive all your MG email via our private, member-only Yahoogroup.
• Prior to the first class:  Become familiar with our Common Ground public website and our private MG Yahoogroup website.
• Attend 13 classes on Saturdays, March 6 through May 29, 2010, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, at our office, 4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, East Los Angeles.  Meetings start promptly at 9:00 am.  Some meetings will be at other garden sites; we encourage carpooling with classmates.
• Give gardening workshops at community gardens, school gardens, senior gardens, housing development & other low-income gardens.
• Answer gardening questions at gardens, on the phone at our office, or by email from your computer.
• Help with program activities and workshops at the UCCE office in East Los Angeles.
• Post all your volunteer and continuing education hours on our online Statewide MG Volunteer Management System (we provide instructions).
• Starting in June, attend monthly MG Continuing Education meetings on the second Saturday of every month at different garden locations.

WHAT YOU’LL GET
• California Master Gardener Handbook, University of California publication.
• Certificate of Completion of Class Instruction—after completing the 13-week training program and passing the take-home, open-book examination.
• Monthly Continuing Education meetings with speakers and activities on in-depth gardening topics.
• Frequent emails of Volunteer and Continuing Education opportunities and other program information.
• Annual recertification as an active MG after you post online at least 50 Volunteer hours and 15 Continuing Education hours by May 31, 2011.  [Future years’ requirements are 25 Volunteer and 15 Continuing Education hours.]
• Joy and satisfaction that you’re helping other gardeners grow more nutritious vegetables and fruits, you’re making new friends, and we’re all working together to beautify our neighborhoods and “Green LA”!

For More Information:
Email: gjmitche@ucdavis.edu
Phone: 323-260-3348

Common Ground Garden Program

University of California Cooperative Extension Los Angeles

School Gardens in the News

1) San Diego, CA
BRETT: Gardens are a solid investment

My first thought when I read that Paul Ecke Central Elementary in Encinitas was awarded a $30,000 grant for a school garden was, “that seems like a lot of money to invest in a garden.” Then I thought again.

I thought about things that children need to grow up strong and healthy: exercise, fresh air, nutritious food, a connection to living things and a sense of purpose and achievement.

2) Franklin TN
Garden designed for math, science

Raised flowerbeds in the shapes of trapezoids, triangles and pentagons are just the beginnings of a new math tool for Freedom Intermediate School students.

Between two classroom wings at the school, the garden will feature native Tennessee plants and will give students a chance to visually and physically understand basic math concepts.

3) Jacksonville, FL
Ortega Elementary students sell produce to benefit food bank

In late September, about 20 students from Ortega Elementary School got their hands dirty by digging in the dirt.

After a lot of hard work and dirty nails, they had a garden filled with seeds that would one day reap banana peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

4) Columbia, SC
Students harvesting rewards of gardening

Seventh-grader Chauncey Rogers was so interested in his first gardening experiences at school, he asked if he could have a plant to take home. He dug a hole for the collards in his backyard, gave them a good watering and has kept an eye on them ever since.

5) Missoula, MT
Lowell School selling cookbook with recipes inspired by student garden

When Lowell School put in a garden last spring, all who call the school home – its students, teachers and parents – learned far more than how to grow food. They found inspiration in the humble, daily work it takes for a garden to come to life.

It was so much fun, and so rewarding, that the school community set about a plan to keep the garden going. What better way than to create a cookbook with recipes the students and their families used when they harvested the school’s bounty?

6) Lake Charles, LA
Local students grow food for good cause

Months of hard work in the garden are paying off for students at Ralph F. Wilson Elementary School. This week students are picking the harvested fall crops they have been growing since September.

“This is the first time we’ve actually harvested,” says Linda Hooper, a fifth grade teacher at Ralph F. Wilson Elementary.

7) Pune, India
Now, medicinal plants to take root in city schools

With the intention of taking students back to grandmother’s remedies and to the wonders of ayurvedic/herbal medicines, the directorate of social forestry will introduce the concept of herbal gardens in various schools across the state from early 2010.

The directorate will set up the herbal gardens under the promotional scheme of the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Government of India.

8) Portland, OR
Woodward Gardens, Mary Woodward Elementary School

Woodward Gardens is seen as an outdoor extension of Mary Woodward’s Science Program. All aspects of the Garden can only occur from cooperation. This cooperation involves cooperation of the children with one another and their teachers and parents. There are a lot of parents who garden, but who hadn’t realized that their skills could be valuable to teachers tight on time and resources. Our garden coordinator arranges for appropriate resource people or parents to help with outdoor or classroom learning sessions, maintain a resource closet, plan lessons and plantings with teachers, and oversee garden maintenance. Students help fund ongoing supplies with our annual plant sale. The development of this garden has resulted in a greater variety of learning experiences, a sense of stewardship for our natural resources in our children, and stronger ties to the community.

Winter Sunflower

We have a volunteer sunflower growing in our garden. Volunteers are plants that come up on their own without being intentionally planted. In the  case of our sunflower we had planted some nearby last spring. In another garden we had lots of volunteers that sprang up after deadheading the season before. Its a good idea to know what seedlings look like so if any pop up in your garden you can let them continue growing instead of weeding them out.

winter-sunflower2

Winter sunflowers don’t grow as large as normal sunflowers and sometimes they have funny faces (like the one above), but here in Southern California where the winters are extremely mild, they do grow and flower.

At West Hollywood Elementary School we are playing a game with our rogue sunflower. Whoever guesses the correct height of the sunflower once it flowers gets to keep the flower (assuming the squirrels don’t get to it first).

rogue-sunflower

School Gardens in the News

1) Stillwater, OK
Recycled rainwater sprouts Skyline gardens

A rainwater recycling program at Skyline Elementary School quickly sprouted more than just roots and took on a life of its own.

During a whirlwind of activity the last eight months, Skyline students and staff have teamed up with representatives from Oklahoma State University, the city and Sustainable Stillwater, a community environmental organization, to build a cistern that will help support a garden behind the school.

2) Algonquin, IL
Garden a hands-on lesson for Scout

Sometimes, Shelby Cieslinski of Algonquin said, she halfheartedly regrets teaching her children to volunteer. Like when, after leading her oldest son Jonathan’s Boy Scout troop, her youngest son Josh assumed she and her husband, Thomas, would volunteer to lead his, too.

But late last month, she couldn’t have been prouder of Josh when the Community Unit School District 300 Board of Education recognized him for his work designing and implementing a butterfly garden at Lake in the Hills Elementary School.

3) Australia
Students dig in and get their vegie patch started

BEAUTY Point Public School students will get help from the countryside when growing pumpkins for the Daily’s Great Backyard Challenge.

A teacher at the school owns a property in the country and has promised to bring in “good garden soil” to help grow giant pumpkins, science teacher Mirelle Farrell said.

4) Zebulon, NC
School Gardens Will Grow Food to Eat, To Learn, And To Share

Elementary school teachers are going green in Franklin County, NC with installation of school gardens. Teachers are adding gardening to their lesson plans for science, nutrition, and other subjects. Produce grown in these gardens will feed the students, the teachers, and other local residents.

Working with Franklin County school teachers and Dale Byrns, Creative Education Office, several gardens are being installed. In Spring 2010, over 100 elementary school students will be growing food for themselves, learning about nutrition, working in the garden, and sharing their produce in the local community.

5) Temecula, CA
TEMECULA: Garden program gets state honor

A program in Temecula schools that allows children to work in gardens on their campuses and learn about growing food and plants has earned the district a statewide award.

There are gardens at 22 Temecula Valley Unified School District campuses, where children gets hands-on lessons about topics such as science, weather and healthy foods.

6) Los Angeles, CA
Lunch with Alice Waters in Larchmont elementary school’s garden

When Alice Waters talks about improving school lunch, she doesn’t just mean making the chicken nuggets more nutritious. She wants to see a table set, maybe with flowers. She wants children to have enough time to have conversations as they eat.

Kids off the Couch

Two resourceful moms have built a website dedicated to getting your kids off the couch. It is called appropriately, KidsOffTheCouch.com. Each week they feature a memorable movie for the family to watch together and couple it with an off-couch activity.

Some of their garden related activities include:

1) The Secret Garden + Edible Gardens

2) My Fair Lady + A Flower Market Visit

3) FernGully: The Last Rainforest + Botanical Gardens

primary_413

Lastly, as a bonus, the illustrations by Laura Cornell are brilliant.

Seed Sale from Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests, Inc., supplier of quality seeds to independent garden centers and health food grocery stores, is extremely interested in helping schools with their school gardens.

For schools needing NEW seed for their gardens, email shaynal@botanicalinterests.com for a 40% discount code off any seed purchased from botanicalinterests.com.

Include the name of your school and your contact information. Old or donated seed with poor germination is very discouraging to kids and teachers when it doesn’t germinate after so many hours of preparing a garden!

Also check out http://www.botanicalinterests.com/schools.php for easy, paperless seed school fundraisers.”

For more information about School Garden Fundraisers see my Q&A with Curtis Jones, President of Botanical Interests.

Botanical Interests

Potting up

When starting seeds indoors it is sometimes necessary to repot new seedlings into a bigger container rather than plant them immediately outdoors. We call this practice potting up. In the enclosed video I am potting up Broccoli into a peat pot which can then be transplanted at later date directly into the soil.