Sunday, January 2, 2011

Calendar of Events: January and The Immediate Future

In a rare moment between the rains, the sun shone on these Detroit Dark Red beets with an intense brilliance begging a photo.  Sadly, the luminosity of the brilliant beet leaves is not transmitted by the photograph.  Stare at them intently and picture something akin to a purple halo on them and you will approximate the sight.

Welcome to 2011 at The Learning Garden!  This promises to be an exciting year for us, if we don't float away; there are many different exciting events on the drawing books!    Herewith is the calendar of the start of 2011: 

January 15th – (time and other details are TBA); Pruning Workshop for Los Angeles Master Gardeners – Lora Hall, master teacher of all kinds of gardening wonderfulness leads an all-star cast of teaching assistants who will shepherd everyone through the pruning of fruit trees using the actual trees in The Learning Garden. Instead of a book. I know, it's an interesting concept.

January 15th - 2nd Meeting of the newly formed Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA); a new community based effort to ensure a safe supply of open-pollinated heirloom vegetable varieties, unpatented and unowned by faceless, profit based companies.  Membership is $5 and members can check out seeds (like library books) for free, returning fresh seed to the library at the end of the growing season. A new blog for SLOLA is coming soon!

January 29th - Essentials of Vegetable Seed Saving, 10-3 (vegetarian lunch included) If you are concerned about GMOs in your food, saving our own seed is the only sure way to fight back.  $40 if prepaid – see article below for more details on this exciting seminar.

February 5thWhat To Do And When To Do It, Growing Food In Southern California, 9-Noon, our monthly checklist and how to gardening class, taught on the patio at The Learning Garden. Coffee and tea are made to keep you warm. Always, the topic is driven by questions in the class, but this is a good time to prune your fruit trees and plant new ones, also, believe it or not, SUMMER is right around the corner – learn the secrets to your best garden ever! $25 'at the gate,' no reservations required.

February 5th - New Volunteers Orientation on the patio; 1:00 to 2:00 PM. Reserve your space with Sheri Powell-Wolf at her email address: sheri(at)compostteana(dot)com. Free.

Late February will see a Plant Propagation Seminar (along the lines of the Seed Saving Seminar on Jan. 29th) with seed sowing, perennial division, taking cuttings from shrubs and trees (growing plants without seed) and the almost forgotten arts of grafting and budding.

March 5th - What To Do And When To Do It, Growing Food In Southern California, 9-Noon, our monthly checklist and how to gardening class, taught on the patio at The Learning Garden. Coffee and tea are made to keep you warm. In March, we'll definitely be in summer's flow, tomatoes, peppers, basil, eggplant, beans and all kinds of goodies have to be considered.. . What do YOU want to grow? $25 'at the gate,' no reservations required.

March 5th - New Volunteers Orientation on the patio; 1:00 to 2:00 PM. Reserve your space with Sheri Powell-Wolf at her email address: sheri(at)compostteana(dot)com. Free.

We anticipate another exciting workshop in March as well. 

Ongoing Events In The Learning Garden

(* All events are 'weather permitting' by which we mean, if you need your tall 'Wellies,' a heavy jacket or a row boat, the weather is NOT permitting.  On the other hand, we are gardeners and a little rain doesn't throw us into paroxysms of anxiety; precipitation under a quarter of an inch is usually met with horticultural stoicism.)

Friday --12:30 PM, The Garden Feast, a potluck with staff and volunteers (and anyone else who show up with a good attitude) at our picnic tables.  The food is always fresh, delicious and abundant.  It is the essence of the SLOW Food Movement, so come prepared  with a tasty bite, a healthy appetite for the bounty of others  and a desire for eclectic conversation.

Saturday – 9 AM Henry Jun Wah Lee hold his Medical Qigong classes – contact Henry for more information at 323-540-4180.

Sunday --10 AM Seth Leon has an informal Harmony Style Qigong practice on our Chi Patio. It is free.

Our webpage is worth a look and you can like us on Facebook! If you like...

Hope we see you in the Garden soon in 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Learning Garden and SLOLA Present: Essentials of Vegetable Seed Saving!

Genetic diversity is evident in these ears of corn, all from the same batch of seed...  this richness must be preserved!

Happy New Year everyone! 
The Learning Garden at Venice High School is offering an exciting new seminar for January 29th, 10:00 to 3:00 (lunch included!): Essentials of Vegetable Seed Saving.
Seed saving has become a 'must-know' skill as people have recognized how utterly essential seeds are to our ability to survive. 
Generations before us understood the importance of saving seeds. Saving seeds to plant in the coming year was essential and, long before science showed the why of it, humankind understood we could select the best plants and improve the varieties we depended upon. This vital connection was lost as we began to purchase our seeds from seed sellers making the need to save seed seem less relevant. In recent times, we are confronted with GMOs and monster corporations controlling the seeds they created and with that came the very real specter of seed corporations having control over the food supply.

Saving our vegetable biodiversity today provides us
  • those delicious open pollinated varieties that were bred to taste good.
  • a wider range of vegetable varieties that aren't often available through catalogs.
  • a closer participation in the cycle of life.
  • a hedge against our own personal misfortune of losing a job or other financial setback.
  • a safeguard against food shortages caused by natural or man-made disasters.
  • with our own means to mitigate against global climate change and it's impact on agriculture.
  • the means to fight our shrinking biodiversity.
Seed saving enhances the gardening experience even more because good gardeners become better gardeners and some will go on to create unique open-pollinated vegetable varieties – adapted to this place!

This is the seminar you need if you are concerned about -
  • the presence of GMO's in our food. 
  • the preservation of old 'heirloom' vegetable varieties. 
  • equal access to good clean healthy food for everyone regardless of economic status.
  • our ability in Los Angeles to produce vegetables acclimatized to our local (and very unique) climate.
  • the future of seeds and food!
You will learn
  • to plan for your seed saving – things to do to enable success.
  • how different plants are pollinated and what that means to saving seed . 
  • to identify different plant families and how that affects the seed saving process. 
  • the best time to pick for the best seed viability.
  • to ensure your seed is kept pure from other varieties and unwanted characteristics.
  • to clean and dry different seeds and other processes for optimum storage.
  • the equipment and essential supplies you will have to have if you want to save some seeds and what you won't need for MOST seeds.
Taught by The Learning Garden's Gardenmaster, David King, this seminar will emphasize how to do it and practical examples will show everyone how to best save the more common vegetable seeds with information on saving all kinds of seeds included.  

David King is an experienced lecturer, well known for practical seminars that are accessible and informative.  The lively lectures, full of quirky humor, move through the topic, getting to the heart of the matter without a lot of extra jargon, but with the data you need to get out and save some seeds!

Lunch will be served enable participants to join in community over the break (12 to 1:00 PM). Pamela Nears, an accomplished organic and 'fresh from the garden' chef, will treat all with a vegetarian stew and other menu items (price included in your registration) that will nourish and enhance the garden experience. Coffee, tea and water will abound.

Weather permitting, the seminar will be held outside.  The Learning Garden is usually cooler than any other place in Los Angeles, thanks to the three large trees shading the patio, please dress warmly in January - although if it is too cold, we will be indoors.

Early registration helps us plan and will save you money.  Registration at the door is on an 'as available' basis - seating is limited and we expect to fill!
Use the PayPal button below to enroll now.  If you have diet concerns (other than vegetarian) please make a note on your registration and we will work something out.

Members of Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) will receive a $10 discount - all other attendees will become members of the Seed Library of Los Angeles; $10 of your registration fee goes to SLOLA for your membership automatically.

Thank you, 

Today, January 25th, the seed saving seminar filled to maximum capacity. Leave a comment below and we'll make a point of taking a waiting list and notify you if a space becomes available or if we schedule a second seminar in the very near future...  Thank you and I hope we can winnow a few seedheads together soon.