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) – School and Community Garden Grants

2) List of Grants and Fundraising

3) San Diego County Master Gardener Association – Calendar of Grants Available to School Gardens

4) Grants for Gardens

5) California Fertilizer Foundation – California School Garden Grants

6) – 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

Santa Monica Good Food Festival Schedule of Events

Santa Monica Farmers Market is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with the very first Southern California Good Food Festival & Conference. This unprecedented multi-day event will focus on regional and national issues integral to building a local and sustainable food system while supporting the needs of California family farmers.

Please see schedule of events below, in particular, the school garden events on Saturday, September 17th.

Grow Your Own! Workshops
Grab your gardening gloves and hat and bring your questions, your curiosity, and your family to Grow (and Preserve) Your Own! A variety of local experts will demonstrate what you need to know about garden basics, seed starting, seed saving, fruit trees, container gardening, food preservation, backyard chickens, beekeeping, worm composting, pest control and more.

Scheduled Events – Saturday, September 17

10:00am – 10:45am — Gardening for Kids — Main Garden
Plant the foundation for healthy eating. Be an elementary school student in the garden, connecting nutrition and nature with classroom curriculum. Presented by Marika Bergsund,

11:00am – 11:45am — What’s Cooking in your Classroom? — Chorus Room
Learn how to incorporate a Culinary Program into your school’s curriculum. Find out how talented chefs and directors are teaching our kids the importance of eating well. Presented by Lisa Fontanesi, “Kidding Around in the Kitchen;” Chef Gino Campagna,“Gino’s Kitchen” (Disney Channel); Julie Cotts, Director 24th Street Garden School; Megan Hanson, Root Down LA, James McGroarty, Network for a Healthy California.

11:00am – 11:45am — Kids Can Compost! — Hay Bale Classroom
Marianne P. Brown presents “Kids Can Compost,” Wen-Chia Tsai Parker’s workshop demonstrating how composting can be fun for the whole family.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Better School Lunches: Filling Half Their Plate with Fruits and Vegetables — Cafeteria
Dona Richwine, M.S. RD, Nutrition Specialist, SMMUSD Farmers Market Salad Bar, explains how MyPlate, the new USDA nutrition education tool, can and should influence school lunches. Demo and salad bar sampling included.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Using Social Media Marketing to Promote Your School Garden — Chorus Room
Santa Monica High School students present their creative plan on how to engage an entire school community to grow a school garden. Includes social marketing and cross curriculum lesson plans.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Organic Pest Control with Beneficial Insects — Main Garden
Learn about earth-friendly solutions to protect against pests that can damage plants. Organic Control’s beneficial insects—ladybugs, green lacewings, praying mantids, beneficial nematodes and others—defend gardens from “bad bugs” such as aphids, whiteflies, mealy bugs and mites.

1:00pm – 1:45pm — Mystery Lunch Box Cook-off! — Cafeteria
Vegetables are delicious! Five teams will complete at least three recipes using one vegetable per session guided by a mentoring student chef from Santa Monica College. Five teams means 15 different plant based recipes to share at the end of the cook-off! Yum! Presented by Jennie Cook,

1:00pm – 1:45pm — How Worms Make Our Lunch — Hay Bale Classroom
Explore ways to reduce waste and incorporate Vermiculture into your life and garden. Presented by Gina Garcia, Sustainable Works,

1:00pm – 1:30pm — The Need for Seed — Rose Garden
Save seeds, save the planet! In a world full of GMO plants, learn why it’s important to save your own seeds and how to do it. Presented by David King, Seed Library of Los Angeles,

1:30pm – 2:45pm — School Garden Models — Chorus Room
School garden designers discuss how they have successfully created unique and distinctly different programs that are changing the way schools feed and teach children. Presented by Marika Bergsund, Growing Great; Laurie Dill, Herb Project – 24th Street Garden; David King, The Learning Garden at Venice High School; Roger Lowenstein, Los Angeles Leadership Academy; Johann Hampton-Walker, Larchmont Charter School (Edible School Yard Program). Moderated by Yvonne Savio, University of California Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County Common Ground Garden Program Manager.

2:00pm – 2:45pm –Garden Harvest Party! — Main Garden
Make your own salad directly from the garden, picking fresh fruits, vegetables and edible flowers. Enjoy a holistic approach to edible education with a dynamic lesson which integrates social and academic skills. Presented by Samantha Barnes of Kitchen Kid,

2:00pm – 2:45pm — Introduction to Permaculture — Hay Bale Classroom
Larry Santoyo, founder of EarthFlow Design Works, will demonstrate the basics of permaculture (permanent agriculture using design principles that mimic nature) to help you beautify your garden and save the planet at the same time.

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Doctor, Doctor, Give me the News — Chorus Room
What does “healthy” look like? A distinguished panel of experts discuss childrens health and nutrition and what parents can do to improve their child’s diet. Dr. Rebecca Crane, M.D., Pediatrician, Kaiser Permanente; Emily Ventura Ph.D., California Obesity Research Center; Dr. Ernie Katz, Director of Behavioral Sciences Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Psychology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Dr. Lauren Feder, M.D., The Medical Group of Lauren Feder and author of Natural Baby and Child Care; and Jennie Cook, give us the scoop.

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Plant the Foundation for Healthy Eating — Main Garden
Be an elementary school student in the garden connecting nutrition and nature with classroom curriculum. Presented by Marika Bergsund, Growing Great,

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Keeping Backyard Chickens — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn all the basics of backyard chicken keeping from Dare 2 Dream Farms, who raise chickens and build coops for purchase, and will teach you how easy it is to do it yourself! Presented by Megan Coulter, Dare2Dream Farms.

10:00 am–5:00 pm All-Day Activities – Saturday, September 17
Learn all about companion gardening from LA County Master Gardeners Debbie Harding and Lucia Burke, who will demonstrate how to grow a Butterfly Garden, Pizza Garden, Salsa Garden, and 3 Sisters Garden.

Visit the Fruit Mobile! — Rose Garden
Food Forward reconnects the community with the abundance of food present in our everyday lives by harvesting fruit from backyard trees with a volunteer crew and then donates the bounty to food banks across Los Angeles. Find out how you can get involved. Presented by Meg Glasser, Food Forward.

Vertical Gardening with Woolly Pockets — Rose Garden
Get hands-on experience and learn to garden vertically instead of horizontally with woolly pocket wizards! Presented by Shauna Nep, Woolly Pockets.

SAMOHI Team Marine Teaching/Information Booth — Rose Garden
Learn how what you eat affects the planet! A group of audacious juniors and seniors at Santa Monica High School have been rallying their neighbors around the global on issues of climate change, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification. Presented by Team Marine students.

Scheduled Events – Sunday, September 18

10:00am – 10:45am — Biodynamic Gardening — Hay Bale Classroom
Denise DeGarmo-Ritchie of Malibu Compost demonstrates an ecological and sustainable system that respects Nature and is designed to support a self-perpetuating ecosystem.

11:00 am – 11:45am – Organic Culinary Gardens — Main Garden
Learn how to succeed in the garden! Learn the fundamentals of culinary gardening including germinating and transplanting seedlings, soil and gardening materials and the importance of organic plant nutrition. Presented by Kathleen Hiraga, culinary garden designer and President of Organics Rx, a retail line of organic gardening products.

11:00am – 11:45am — Backyard Beekeeping — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn about bees and their care; beehives, equipment and harvesting honey; and the organic care of the bee colony. Presented by John Lyons.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Garden Party with the Dragon Pizza Oven — Cafeteria
Gaze out at the Pacific while enjoying a market fresh brunch. Quiche will be cooked in Ray Cirino’s magical dragon oven. Sample goodies from the UCCE/LA County Master Food Preserver class.

12:00pm – 12:45pm — Backyard Chickens — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn the basics in this introduction, including chicken varieties, housing, feeding, disease control and correct coop design. Presented by John Lyons, The Woven Garden.

12:00pm – 4:00pm — Gardening Basics (Empezando el Jardin) — Main Garden
Workshops throughout the afternoon presented by University of California Cooperative Extension/LA County Master Gardeners, with sessions on soil preparation, seed starting, transplanting, container gardening, composting, fruit trees for homes and schools, including a bilingual workshop on seed starting and transplanting. Presented by Nancy Cipes, Herb Machleder, Julie Strnad, Araceli Perez-Ocejo, Bruce Woodside and others.

1:00pm – 1:45pm —  How Worms Make Our Lunch — Hay Bale Classroom
Explore ways to reduce waste and incorporate Vermiculture into your life and garden, Presented by Gina Garcia, Sustainable Works.

2:00pm – 2:45pm — Food Speak 101 — Chorus Room
Cage Free, Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic? What do they all mean? A panel of experts will clear up any confusion to help you make informed choices. Bruce Palma, General Manager, Santa Monica Co-Opportunity, Bonnie Modugno, Registered Dietitian, Nate Peitso, Maggie’s Farm

2:00pm – 2:45pm — Watering Edibles — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn how to efficiently irrigate edible plants, including those in containers. Discover water saving design strategies including living mulch, plant guilds, and soil remediation. Presented by Russell Ackerman, Water Resources Specialist, City of Santa Monica

3:00pm – 3:45pm — Conserve Today/Preserve Tomorrow: Organic Pest Control — Hay Bale Classroom
Learn how to manage common garden pests without harmful pesticides. Presented by Karl Bruskotter, Environmental Programs Analyst, City of Santa Monica.

4:00pm – 4:45pm — Backyard Composting — Hay Bale Classroom
A demonstration of everything you need to know to turn kitchen scraps into valuable compost. Presented by Wes Thompson, City of Santa Monica.

10:00 am–5:00 pm All-Day Activities – Sunday, September 18

Backyard Gardening — Rose Garden
Learn all about Companion Gardening from LA County Master Gardeners Debbie Harding and Lucia Burke, who will demonstrate how to grow a Butterfly Garden, Pizza Garden, Salsa Garden, and 3 Sisters Garden.

How to Create a Vertical Garden — Rose Garden
Woolly Pockets demonstrates how to garden vertically with woolly pocket wizards! Presented by Shauna Nep, Woolly Pockets.

Eat Cheap – Save Your Seeds — Rose Garden
Seed savers from SLOLA: Seed Library of Los Angeles will be on hand to demonstrate and answer questions about seeding saving.

Take home some seeds for your own backyard. UCCE/LA County Master Gardeners will have seeds and seedlings to give away.

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.

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 or by check. My paypal account email address is You will be confirmed registration once payment is received. Classes were a sell-out in the spring, please register early.

Master Gardener George Pessin
Tel: 310-779-8816

Mailing Address:
834 Huntley Dr #4
Los Angeles, CA 90069

What to Do With Excess Tomatoes – Recipe Included


Happiness is a bucketful of tomatoes. We had a bumper crop this year. One question we always get is how to save them. Canning is of course one option however some folks find it too difficult and demanding. One simple option we subscribe to is to roast them and then freeze them. See recipe below for Roasted Tomato Sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomatoes

2 pounds tomatoes, halved (or enough to fill a rectangular baking pan)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large white onion, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
salt, pepper
2-3 tablespoon dried herbs (i.e. Herbs de Provence , Italian herbs, basil, thyme or oregano ).

Put the halved tomatoes cut side up in a sheet cake pan or other pan (pyrex) with high sides (at least 2″). If possible, make it just one layer.

Spread chopped onion and garlic on top of the tomatoes.

Drizzle olive oil all over contents of the pan.

Salt and pepper liberally, sprinkle herbs on top.

Put in a 350 F oven for 45 minutes. You can go longer if you want sweeter onions and more intense tomato taste. Just watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Scoop contents of the pan (there will be a lot of liquid in the bottom) through a food mill to to get rid of skins and seeds. If you don’t mind skins, you can just put contents into a blender. Save the liquid as it makes for a flavorful tomato broth.

Taste, and adjust seasonings. Then freeze or use immediately.

As you become more familiar with the recipe you can roast other vegetables with the tomatoes such as peppers, eggplant or fennel as seen above.


Guidelines for Summer Harvest

The height of summer is upon us and so is the height of the summer harvest. This week alone we picked about a pound of basil, 3 pounds of cucumbers, 5 pounds of squash, 5 pounds of tomatoes, 2 watermelons totaling about 30 pounds, and 65 ears of corn. One trombone zucchini was NOT picked in order to see how big it gets. At this size it is no longer edible but it will keep for some time as a decorative gourd.

Some guidelines you should follow for harvesting your summer produce:

Corn – Silks begin to turn brown and dry out as the corn cob matures, approximately 3 weeks after first appearing. You can check a few ears for maturity by peeling back the tops and pressing the top kernels with your thumbnail. If the liquid exuded is milky rather than clear the corn is ready to be picked.

Cucumbers – Harvest when fruits are a deep green color before any yellowing appears. Pick the fruits regularly to encourage more fruiting. Mature cucumbers left on the vine will signal the plant to stop producing.

Squash – Same as cucumbers, harvest often to encourage production.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are best when ripened on the vine. Harvest when the fruits are uniformly red (or yellow, purple, etc.) The fruits should be beginning to lose their firmness just slightly soft.

Watermelon – Watermelons will be nearing maturity when the tendril across from the fruit turns brown and dry. Look for a yellowing underneath where the watermelon touches the ground and for the surface color to turn from shiny to dull.

How to Harvest Fennel Pollen

Fennel pollen is a gourmet spice collected from a flowering fennel plant. Use it on such dishes as sauteed string beans or grilled chicken.