Make Your Own Bird Feeder

DIY Birdfeeder

Attracting birds to your garden is a good way to keep away harmful insects. A good project for pre-school and elementary school students is to make your own bird feeder. Its so simple…

1) Recycle toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls
2) Smear on peanut butter generously
3) Roll it in bird seed and press bird seed into peanut butter
4) Place tube on sturdy branch

Photo courtesy of Annie Moffatt, The Moffat Girls
For more pictures and complete, original article click above link.

Grow LA Victory Garden Classes 2012


Proud to be teaching the Grow LA Victory Garden (GLAVG) classes again this spring. Please see registration details below and please forward to those who may enjoy.

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 GLAVG 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: April 29, May 6 May 13, May 20
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 $20 per class or $75 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 are always a sell-out, 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

Good Food Day of Service 2012

Good Food Day at LA Leadership Academy

The 2012 Mayor’s Day of Service in Los Angeles aka Good Food Day LA is a citywide event focused on strengthening and celebrating our local food system.

On Saturday, March 31, volunteers throughout Los Angeles will be working together engaging in activities in support of good food at nearly forty different event sites including many community gardens and school gardens.

To find an event location near you, click on the Good Food Day map or download the PDF List of Activities from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

I’ll be volunteering at the Los Angeles Leadership Academy HS Urban Farm Project, 234 East Avenue 33, Los Angeles, 90031 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

The Network for a Healthy California will be holding bi-lingual nutrition education classes and healthy food tastings. UC Master Gardeners will be giving workshops in seed starting, transplanting and container gardening.

Come join us as a participant or come join us as a volunteer. Either way come out and support Los Angeles by helping to create a more healthy, fair and sustainable food system.

Hope to see you there.

Tools for School Giveaway from Garden Tool Co.

Garden Tool Company will give three lucky schools a gift certificate for $500 dollars, so they can pick the tools that will help their school garden program the most.

How to Enter
Are you with a school or do you know of a school that has a garden program and could benefit from some garden tools for the students?

If so, just send us an email from the school’s email system and tell us about your gardening program and how you’re school and the kids could benefit from winning these tools. (One entry per school please and schools located in the United States)

Send your email to: schools@gardentoolcompany.com

On April 1st, 2012 we’ll pick three lucky winners and contact them via their email address.

Edible Petioles

celery

Pop quiz: When we’re eating celery what part of the plant are we consuming?

A celery stalk, the part of the celery plant we eat, is a special part of the leaf structure called a petiole. A petiole is a small stalk that attaches the leaf blade of a plant to the stem.

Can you name any other edible petioles?

rhubarb

If you said rhubarb, you are correct.

What about stems?  What are the tastiest stems on the planet?

Arguably asparagus.

For more info see Edible Leafs: Spinach, Celery, and Artichokes

 

A Clothing Garden – Growing Cotton and Flax

raw cotton and cotton seeds

Raw Cotton and Cotton Seeds

We make a big deal about where our food originates from, but what about our clothing? Sure much of it is man-made chemistry, but natural plant fibers also contribute greatly to our daily wardrobes. Think of t-shirts, sweaters, and skirts made of cotton and shirts, pants and jackets made from linen. All originated as plants.

Cotton is a soft, fluffy, natural fiber that grows into a boll, or protective capsule around the seeds of the cotton plant. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal.

No one knows exactly how old cotton is but archeologists have found cotton bolls and pieces of cloth in Mexican caves that date back 7,000 years. In Pakistan, cotton was being grown, spun, and woven into cloth as early as 3,000 B.C.

Linen is considered to be one of the earliest products known to civilization. It is made from the inner stalk of the flax plant and one of the first vegetable fabrics to be woven. It is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.

There is evidence of cloth being made from linen in Mesopotamia and in Turkey as far back as 7000 to 8000 BC.  The flax plant that it comes from is believed to have first been domesticated in the area known as the Fertile Crescent. Mummies in Egypt were routinely wrapped in linen.

For info on how to grow cotton see Instructions for Planting Cotton Seeds from CottonsJourney.com.

For more information about Cultivating Flax see fact sheet from Department of Horticulture, Purdue University.

Clothing Garden Curriculum Suggestions:

1) Geography
Flax plants are believed to have originated in the area known as the Fertile Crescent aka “The Cradle of Civilization” Can you locate this area on a map? Why do you think linen clothing was popular in this region?

2) Math
It takes a patch of land of about 20 feet square to grow enough cotton for one common blouse. How many square feet would you need for 12 dozen blouses?

3) History
Cotton is woven into our American History because of Slavery and the Civil War. How did cotton figure into both of these events?

4) Art
Design an outfit for a scarecrow using only cotton and linen.

Reflections on a New School Garden

By James Gardeneer, Principal, Austin Road Elementary School, Mahopac, NY

I think we can all agree it has been an unusual winter.  It’s now the end of the first week in February and we still have no snow on the ground.  The temperatures are frequently hitting the low 50’s, and there are reports of birds already beginning their spring migration back to the northeast. Despite the unusual weather, and my desire for at least one significant snowfall, I am already turning my thoughts to spring, to warm sun, and of course, to our new school garden.  When I look out on our now dormant beds, I see one thing.  Potential.  Potential for our school to completely integrate a new learning environment into the fabric of our school culture.

As a former life science, biology, and AP environmental teacher (for over 20 years), my transition to an elementary principal 18 months ago was, at times, dramatic.  However, the one goal I did want to pursue was to incorporate as much science into our elementary program as possible and, in particular, get students out into the field to observe, to record, to enjoy nature, where it deserves to be enjoyed – outdoors.

With support from teachers and our amazing PTO volunteers, we created a proposal to build a school garden on our grade 1-5 campus.  Despite the fact that this was not an inexpensive proposition, our PTO generously approved the project and lent their full financial support to the endeavor.   The garden was completed in late July of 2011, just in time for our summer reading camp participants to plant our first small crop.

Our 630 students returned in the fall to an amazing new structure on campus.  To say that anticipation was high would be an understatement.  Our students energetically jumped into planting over 700 seedlings in our new Austin Road garden.  The majority of our teachers participated in this first round of fall planting, and those that did not, did express some regret at not doing so.  It gave me great joy to see many classes going out in the garden throughout the fall as they measured, made drawings, and examined their plants to see the amazing growth.  Students seemed relaxed and happy outdoors even when getting their hands dirty.  Despite a freak 16″ snowfall at Halloween, many of the plants survived and continued being observed and examined by our students throughout most of November.  Staff too went to the garden to pick some of the lettuce and bok choy plants for home use.  In late November, we blew out the water lines and officially buttoned things up for the winter.

Now as we move into mid-February, I realize that we have a lot of planning and work ahead.  Good work and with great potential for positive outcomes.  With the help of TGS, we have been contacting other schools to “borrow” curriculum ideas and suggestions.  In addition to administrative and teacher input, we have parent volunteers that are very much a part of all of our planning.  We even have one amazing 3rd grader, Max, who is heading up our organic insect control research.  Could he be a future world famous botanist or entomologist?  Only time will tell.

Once again, our PTO has backed our most recent requests with additional financial support.   With their generous help we are bringing an outside curriculum consultant to our school to help create a planting schedule, design activities and lessons, and integrate our garden into our school curriculum.  Everyone agrees that we don’t need another “add on.”  The school day is already too busy for that.  Therefore, our goal is to make our garden part of the school itself.  Our hope is to make it as integrated into our student’s lives as the playground itself.  When this happens, and I am convinced it will, I will feel satisfied that the true potential of our garden has been realized.  In the meantime, we are all, students, teachers and parents alike, enjoying the process of building a school garden program.

As we move into the 21st century, our students are immersed in a technological world.  Yet they also need real life experiences in nature.  In my humble opinion, they will certainly benefit from planting a seed, watching it grow, and harvesting a vegetable.  To me, this is where true learning and greater appreciation for our global resources is born and thrives.  Who knows what impact these experiences will have on their overall life?

About Teich Garden Systems
Teich Garden Systems custom designs and installs animal-resistant, sustainable school, community and residential garden systems for gardeners of all ages and abilities. Teich Garden Systems require very little upkeep and maintenance enabling you to enjoy your garden’s bounty with minimal effort. www.teichgardensystems.com