Category Archives: Instructional Activities

Growing Sweet Potato from a Sweet Potato

Sweet Potatoes are one of those vegetables I never liked until I started growing it. Turns out, the orange and purple varieties are super nutritious due to high amounts of anti-oxidants. Eat your colors they say.

“Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are richest in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are richer in anthocyanins. Beta-carotene and anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant “phyto” chemicals that give vegetables their bright colors. These phytochemicals are researched for their potential role in human health and disease prevention.”  Harvard School of Public Health

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are similar – both tubers – but of different species. Potatoes are in the Nightshade family which include tomatoes. Sweet potatoes are in the Morning glory family which includes the namesake, colorful, vining ornamental.

Both are not grown from seed. A “seed” potato is the potato itself that is saved from the previous harvest and planted whole or in sections, eyes up.

Sweet potatoes are grown from slips. Slips are the leafy green growths that form on the side.

Gardening and Safety

garden tools

Now that’s it officially springtime lets turn our attention to our gardens and all the work still to be done. Beds need to be amended, seeds need to be sown. At the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), Health and Safety is the #1 priority.

Please see the following articles from Thinking Safe and Green Notes, For our purposes start with #5

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Spring 2019

winter vegetable basket

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

Where: Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
** Entrance on Doheny Rd.

When: Sunday, April 7, April 14, April 28, May 5 (No class April 21)
Time: 12:00 Noon – 3:00PM

Indoor Seed Starting

seedlings

I’m buying seeds as we speak getting ready for the Spring. Being in Southern California I may be starting a little earlier than you, but with indoor growing you can be planting all year as well.

If you have a window, or glass wall that faces south, you can grow anything indoors.

Stages of the Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle. The four stages are: the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. At Hamilton High School the students have established a habitat for the Monarch butterfly by planting milkweed.

The photo below was taken recently of a caterpillar that has attached itself to a Brussels Sprouts leaf. If all goes well a chrysalis will form and a butterfly will emerge. I’m crossing my fingers that a bird doesn’t get to it first. Nature can be so cruel.

catapillar

Saving Lettuce Seeds

Various Loose-Leaf Lettuce Varieties Bolting

Lettuce has been around for centuries. According to Wikipedia, the Egyptians first cultivated lettuce as edible leaves as early as 2680BC. It then made its way to Greece and Italy where it flourished.

Today, we see four main varieties of the species, Lactuca sativa, in our backyard or school garden. These include:
Crisphead or Iceberg
Butterhead, Boston or Bibb (which is also a heading lettuce)
Romaine or Cos
and Looseleaf or Leaf Lettuce

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Fall 2018

 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 fruits and vegetables.

Where: Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
** Entrance on Doheny Rd.

When: Sunday September 16, September 23, September 30, and October 7