Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beef(steaks) In The Learning Garden!

Look At These Beauties! 
You cannot grow large, beefsteak-style tomatoes close to the ocean - the cool off-shore flow and lack of heat will not allow the fruit to set.  So, if you try to grow beefsteak tomatoes near the ocean (Sunset Zone 24) you are wasting your time! This is what I read, this is what my experience has proven over and over again. And this is what I have taught my students for about 7 years.


These tomatoes were picked yesterday from The Learning Garden in a year that was not one of our warmest!  Beautiful and delicious tomatoes.  These were grown by the Venice High School students in their gardens without tags.  If I had known those vines were supposed to produce this size of tomatoes, I would have yanked the vines back in June.  But I didn't know and look at this.  Now, if I only knew what variety they were, I'd be saving seeds from them.


Monday, August 15, 2011

This October! You Too Can Become a Victory Gardener!

Grow LA Victory Garden Class
The Learning Garden
October 1, 8, 15 and 29, 2011

1 PM to 4 PM – Victory Garden Circle – Master Gardener volunteers will organize and lead low-cost Victory Garden Circle and teach the basics of gardening. The Learning Garden's gardening circle will meet beginning October 1st. These classes of instruction and hands-on activities will introduce gardeners to the basics of growing your own food. You may attend only one or a few, but by attending all four classes, participants will become UC-certified Victory Gardeners. Cost is $20 per session or the whole series for $75. Scholarships available.

October 1st
Seed starting, building raised beds, choosing containers, plant selection, including drought-tolerant plants (3 hours)
Oct. 8th
Transplanting, soil preparation, irrigation, wise water use (3 hours)
Oct. 15th
Pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), beneficial insects (3 hours)
Oct. 29th
Composting, harvesting, seed saving, review, recipes, graduation event/certificates (3 hours)

The Learning Garden is located on the grounds of Venice High School (13000 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066) at the intersection of Venice Blvd. and Walgrove Avenue – the entrance is on Walgrove.

A series of courses for those who wish to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables, this initiative will help new gardeners learn to start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden, bringing together local families and neighborhoods to share their experiences, skills and produce. Participants will be able to turn this new 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, nutritious foods.

Dress in layers, The Learning Garden is probably cooler than you think. Bring your own cup for coffee or tea. Bring gloves and wear clothes you will not mind getting dirty – this is a hands on class. We have all the tools you will need. We will often have plants or seeds to take home and good things to eat as well!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Learning Garden's August Schedule

A stunningly beautiful ear of corn from the Garden
August is one of the warmest months and we tend to relax a little, but that doesn't mean we are shut down entirely!  Here is our list of activities for August and a taste of September!

August 6 - 9:00 to 12 (see our ad in the post below) The Growing Food in Southern California Series continues with David King, the Gardenmaster, espousing the wisdom gleaned from centuries of gardening in Southern California.  OK, that's a slight exaggeration - he is still a few years shy of his first century, but he knows a lot and he shares it with his usual witty and relaxed style of teaching.  It's $25 at the gate and no reservation is needed.  Dress to get in the garden and dirty - bring your own cup for coffee or garden-made chocolate mint tea.  Master Gardeners needing education hours, this is like Comedy Driving School - you fulfill your required hours and laugh your way through it!

August 6  1:00 to 2:30 PM New Volunteer Orientation with Sheri Powell-Wolff and David King for those who want to volunteer in the Garden.  Free...

August 7 - 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM  YouThink in the Garden for a workshop.  

August 7 - 12:30 to 1:30 - (This just in!) The Mar Vista Farmers' market are celebrating their 5th year this Sunday and many fun events are planned for the day.  They'll be collecting money to benefit The Learning Garden and the Amazing Vegetable contest will be judged by our very own Gardenmaster - come on down and have a good time at our own local farmers' market!

August 7 - 1:00 to 3:00 PM - want experience in being a Gardenmaster?   We need a volunteer to run the Garden for a couple of hours while a SLOLA meeting has the Gardenmaster's attention off campus.  If you're free and want to make friends.... this is a wonderful opportunity to see how the Garden works on a Sunday afternoon.  Could be really busy with lots of people passing through or it could be as lively as a bunch of snails after a beer party...  Email the Gardenmaster pronto if you want to help!  We got a volunteer! 

August 13 - 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM  Transition LA in the Garden (the Gardenmaster is away on a field trip with his UCLA Extension class).

August 20 - 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM - Seed Library of Los Angeles meeting in the Garden at the picnic tables - we'll have a presentation on saving tomato seeds and folks will be able to check out seeds from the Library.  Free to attend the meeting, there is a $10 Lifetime membership fee to join the library and check out seeds.

August 21 - 9:00 AM until we sell out (which has been around noon most days) - Meet The Learning Garden and our Venice High School students at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market.  We'll have loads of herbs to sell and will begin to take orders for our world famous Pesto Madness Pesto!

August 25 - 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Looking for a garden master stand in as David is off-campus for a SLOLA presentation.  See the details on August 7th (1 to 3 PM) to see if you have the chops for the job!

August 25 - 5:00 PM until the sun goes down - Pickling Workshop  Join the Gardenmaster and learn how to make your own pickles - it's not that hard!  We will make some beet or yellow bean pickles and have some beet pickles to sample.  We'll also learn the essence of making jam.  This workshop will feature the things you can do to preserve food using a water bath canner, not a pressure canner.  Once you've learned these techniques, a whole new world opens up with fantastic flavor combinations and choices - the workshop is sponsored by Our Time Bank, but is not limited to them.  You may take a jar of pickles home for a small materials fee.  Contact the Gardenmaster by email or 310.722.3656 for more details!

September 3 - 9:00 AM to Noon - The Growing Food in Southern California Series continues with David King, the Gardenmaster, and more of his witty wisdom.  It's $25 at the gate and no reservation is needed.  Dress to get in the garden and dirty - bring your own cup for coffee or garden-made chocolate mint tea. Master Gardeners, do you have your educational hours in?  Can't get any more fun than this!

September 24 - 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM - Pesto Madness returns to the Garden for the 7th (gosh, already? yes! 7th time)  We always have a blast, we always have great pesto and we always SELL OUT.  Dust off those taste buds and join us for The Learning Garden's premier annual fund raiser!  Be there or go hungry!

We'll round out the other September things in a later post


Monday, August 1, 2011

Join David For Growing Food Class This Saturday

This Saturday, 06 August 2011, The Learning Garden presents: Growing Food In Southern California with David King. This 9 to 12 workshop centers on what to do in the coming months as Southern California heads into our 'other Spring' and one of our best, and least understood, growing seasons! You'll learn what to plant and how to plant it, what varieties go best here and why and all about getting the best garlic you will ever have! Dress to get into the garden and get dirty, The Learning Garden can be cool even in August, so dress in layers. Coffee and garden-made mint tea will be served please bring your own cup! Email or call 310.722.3656 for more information. No need to RSVP – class goes on no matter what!  $25 at the gate...

The Learning Garden is located on the grounds of Venice High School at the intersection of Venice Blvd and Walgrove Avenue.  Enter The Learning Garden through the  gate South of  Venice Blvd. on Walgrove Avenue.  Parking is available on Walgrove Avenue.