Saturday, March 24, 2012


Offered by The Learning Garden under the auspices of the University of California Extension:

Four classes to really give you the dirt on gardening! Expand your skill level and appreciate the world of plants so much better; introducing a new series of more advanced gardening classes!

The four session class will cover the following topics:

May 20 – Crop rotation; perennial food plants; companion planting How do plants interact with one another? What should follow what? How do I care for my fruit trees? I want to grow asparagus and artichokes, but I am a little intimidated; what do I need to know?

May 27 - Seed saving/vegetable breeding Why should I be concerned about saving seeds? Is it hard to save seeds? How can I tell if it's good seed? Isn't breeding vegetables best left to the professionals?

June 3 – Propagation and grafting and budding What is grafting and why is it important? Can I really have two apples on the same tree? Is grafting 'natural' and not some biotech kind of weirdness? When can I do it?

June 10 – Vermiculture/Composting What if I don't have room for a compost pile, I just have plants in containers on my balcony? Isn't compost a lot of work? How can I really compost in a small garden?

Each class is a stand alone unit so participants may attend all four for a discounted price, or take any combination of the classes – they are designed to be modular units of instruction. These are practical classes with hands on participation in each class. Taught by Gardenmaster David King and Master Gardener Emi Carvel, these classes will hone your gardening skills to new level.

Classes are $20 each; the series of four is discounted to $75. We may have some scholarships available depending on enrollment. A minimum $20 deposit is required to hold your space. You are encouraged to dress for our often cooler days here in The Learning Garden. We will make hot tea and/or coffee on cooler days; bring your own cup as we try to edge closer to zero waste. 


Contact David for other options.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Learning Garden Is Closed...

...not forever, but this Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24. The Unified School District has an opportunity to earn some money with a commercial being filmed in the Garden, so we will be closed and there will be no potluck this Friday  

Hopefully, all will be returned to 'Normal' by next Wednesday and we will resume our normal, peaceful gardening routine.


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Learning Garden DVD

In 2005, David Crow, one of the Garden's co-founders, got a grant to do a video about The Learning Garden, to show people who couldn't visit the Garden some of what made this one acre bit of land on the Venice High School campus such a delightful oasis and to inspire others to duplicate what had been done at Venice High.  

The film features interview with Julie Mann the other co-founder, Diane Pollock, the VHS horticulture instructor, Keiko Cronin and Robert Newman, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, David King, the gardenmaster and students from Venice High's garden classes.

We are grateful to Jessy Hoffman, DVD wizardess and friend for her work in translating this important film to a format we can upload and finally stream on the web.  

Hope you enjoy it!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Garden Master & Author David King At Santa Monica College on March 27.

CONTACT:   Bruce Smith                                              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                        Public Information Officer                       DATE: March 12, 2012
                        (310) 434-4209                                


         Santa Monica College is pleased to present a free lecture, “Seeds: Local and Global,” by garden master and author David King on Tuesday, March 27 in Humanities & Social Science Lecture Hall 165 on the main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd.
         King is the founder of the Seed Library of Los Angeles and garden master of The Learning Garden at Venice High School. An engaging and popular garden speaker, he is also a noted garden blogger and author of the forthcoming book, “Growing Food in Southern California: What to Do and When to Do It.”
         The Seed Library of Los Angeles was established to facilitate the growth of open-pollinated seeds among residents of the Los Angeles basin. The library is building a seed collection and repository, educating members about the practice of seed saving, and creating a local community of seed-saving gardeners
         King’s talk is sponsored by the SMC Global Citizenship Council, SMC Center for Environmental Studies and SMC Club Grow.
         For information, please call 310-434-3911.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We Have Been Occupied!

Thanks to the Occupy Venice folks for 'occupying' the Garden! It's true, find the things you can do in your life to make your life look more like what you want it to look like! Do that and you'll be closer to 'happy' than you will buying a whole bunch of crap! Happiness is more about what you do with your life than what you own in your life!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pre-historic Drip Available In Los Angeles!

The Learning Garden is teaming up with El Traspatio,  a manufacturer in Mexico, to offer ollas for sale in Los Angeles!

Large on the left, small in the center and medium on the right.

Ollas were used in several cultures in prehistoric times and make tremendous sense in Southern California.  

Ollas are better water delivery systems than drip irrigation in many ways.  Most folks who have used drip find out that critters find a way to damage the plastic, getting drinks on the house, and the plastic drip parts have a magnetic attraction to sharp hoes and shovels.  In fact, drip systems have to be constantly checked to ensure they are functioning within acceptable parameters and not wasting precious water.  

Ollas dispense water under the soil, in the root zone.  Water is cohesive.  It sticks together.  Plants absorb water one molecule at a time.  When the molecule of water is absorbed by the root, the next molecule behind the first molecule is pulled into place to be taken up by the plant.  As long as the soil is moist, water will be drawn towards to the plant roots by this cohesion.  Ollas waste less water than drip systems because the water is dispensed under the soil where the sun is unable to cause water loss by evaporation.  There is no plastic to be chewed up and no moving parts.  

You cannot use ollas with plants that have woody roots.  Woody roots will seek out the olla and break it by growing toward the water.  Woody roots are found on larger shrubs and trees which makes them less desirable candidates for olla watering, but annuals and tender perennials are well served by ollas.  

The Learning Garden will offer three sizes:  Small which holds approximately one quart, Medium, about 1/2 gallon and Large, holding about a full gallon.  The small size is really useful in containers - giving your plants even, consistent watering over a long period of time (keep an eye on them until you have an idea how frequently you need to refill the olla to keep the container sufficiently hydrated) while the two larger ones are more useful in really large containers or in the soil.

Prices for ollas are  $15.00 for the small, $20.00 for the mediums and $25.00 for the large. We are accepting pre-orders now via PayPal.  

Size of Olla