Friday, December 28, 2012

Mar Vista Farmers' Market Pest Control Handout

An adult lady bug from The Learning Garden

Insect Control That Really Works
  1. Stop spraying poisons – especially 'organic' ones – organic pesticides are 'full-spectrum' meaning they kill a wide variety of insects the entire time they are active. They do not discriminate between your harmful insects and lady bugs, honey bees or other insects we rely on for help.
  2. Have plants in bloom throughout the growing season – in our part of the US that means something in bloom 365 days a year – to provide adult beneficial insects with forage so they will stay around.
  3. Set your own personal 'threshold limits' of acceptable damage to your produce – the higher your threshold limit, the least intervention you will do. The threshold limit will vary by crop – if you are desperate to have loads of peppers, you will allow less damage to the peppers than to broccoli which you might be ambivalent about.
  4. Patrol your garden frequently to spot harmful insects in their initial stages before they are a bigger problem.
  5. Use barriers to prevent infestations before they start
  6. Yank plants that refuse to thrive or use them as pest attractants to build up populations of beneficial insects by providing them with available food.
  7. Patience, which is free, is more valuable than a ton of poison.

Using insecticides
  1. Supports the oil industry – all those pesticides are formulated in oil-based products.
  2. Makes you at war with nature – and you can never win!
  3. Kills the biology in the soil even if it fails to control the 'bad' insect.
  4. Probably kills more beneficial insects than the ones you are targeting.
  5. Leads to the unreal expectation of 'perfect food' which is often just a visual lie.

    Aphids and Gardenmaster From The Learning Garden

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Plant Communication: Practicing Kinship with All Life, A Workshop

A two-hour class at the Learning Garden, Sat. Jan 19th Reg. 9:30 am, class 10-Noon
Bring food for shared lunch! SLOLA* meeting at 2:30 PM
$25 at the door, $15 in advance
Health Intuitive Bruce Dickson leads highly interactive, non-talky, exercises to accelerate your Plant Communicator skills. The context is Kinship with All Life. We'll focus and practice on feeling safe again to hear our own Inner Communicator, the One who can harmonize with plants, animals and people.

We'll practice understanding plants on their terms and addressing plant disturbances with both strategy and tactics.

Gather with other plant communicators, increase your effectiveness solving garden problems with pests, soil conditions--anything to do with plants and trees.

We will do case studies and you can bring sick plants. Miracles not guaranteed while more understanding is!

Q: What are Best Practices in Plant Communication?
A: In general, healthy plants have a gentle upward flow of nutrients up from its roots, thru stems, and  up to the leaves. It's possible to feel and track this activity because we have it too. Stress interrupts this flow. It’s possible to measure this upward flow in your self. It's possible to play “20 questions” with the plant and learn what needs correcting.

Familiar with Findhorn, Jim Conroy’s Tree Whispering, or Machelle Small Wright's Perelandra Garden? This has similarities to all.
The main service we can perform for plants is: imagining plants’ optimal life flow, testing and tasting what disconnections exist, testing and tasting to discern disturbing causes, test again for solutions.
Bruce co-founded the Westside Holistic Chamber of Commerce and works as a Health Intuitive. He has 13 books on Amazon-Kindle on self-healing and Energy Detective topics. See 60 online articles on self-healing.

*Seed Library of Los Angeles

Already, 2013! Our Calendar for January

At the Learning Garden, all of us trust your holidays were everything you'd hoped for and look forward to a new year with all the expectation of a kitten who has just heard can opener sounds in the kitchen.  Our new year starts off much like the last, but we're looking at life in a whole new way; letting go of the past and excited about our eleventh year of greening this corner of Walgrove Avenue and Venice Blvd.  If you've not been out for a bit, come on by, we are happy with our progress in so many different ways.

So get out your schedule and synch up with us in January:  

30 December - 9:00AM to 2:00 PM (yes, it's for 2012, but it's a late add and hasn't been publicized here before), Gardenmaster David King will be at the Mar Vista Green Committee's Green Tent at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market answering all the questions he can about what's bugging your garden.  Don't expect the same old ho hum advice either.  What some folks call 'post modern Organic,' is a different way to approach insects in your garden.  The Green Tent is  in the center of the market - listen for the big laugh.

05 January - from 10 to noon, the Gardenmaster holds forth on Growing Food in Southern California, also called What To Do And When To Do It - only $20 at the gate, this workshop takes you through January in the garden.  We'll talk about choosing fruit trees for our area and some of the pests we face and how to deal with them.  As usual, we'll have some give away plants and there will be plenty of time for your questions.  An improvement for the new year:  if there is inclement weather, we have an unheated room in the shade house to stay out of blustery winds or rain!  You may sign up at the door or pay in advance - one class or purchase a series at a discount!

One Class or a Series

19 January - 10 AM -Noon  Health Intuitive Bruce Dickson leads highly interactive, non-talky, exercises to accelerate your Plant Communicator skills. The context is Kinship with All Life. Focusing and practicing on feeling safe  with our own Inner Communicator, the one who can harmonize with plants, animals and people, participants will practice understanding plants on their terms. We will address plant disturbances with both strategy and tactics. Registration 9:30 AM,$25 at the door, $15 in advance.

19 January - 2:30 to 4:30 PM - First meeting of the new year for the Seed Library of Los Angeles - program to be announced, but you can check out and return seeds.  The inventory of seeds you may check out is posted here.

20 January 1:30 to 4:30 PM - UCLA Extension offers "Plant Propagation for Gardeners" which meets for 11 Sundays in the Winter Quarter: "This course emphasizes both the science and art of plant propagation. Learn the science behind plant propagation and then apply that knowledge by propagating a wide variety of plants. Hands-on exercises cover a multitude of propagation methodologies and demonstrate different tools and techniques. Participants practice these techniques in class to assimilate the art of propagation. Held at The Learning Garden at Venice High School," taught by our Gardenmaster - who says this is most fun class he teaches.  That says a LOT!  

02 February - and we are back at the next Growing Food in SoCal class, and don't look now, but someone wants a Valentine's Day present - will you be ours?


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice At The Learning Garden

I have heard from friends in Australia this afternoon.  They are, of course, one day ahead of us in this hemisphere.  They report they are healthy and no evidence of the Apocalypse so it appears our annual Winter Solstice will be held as planned.*

We celebrate the Winter Solstice every year and this year our celebration is on the 21st at 6:30 PM.  Dress warmly, although we do have a fire, it is still one of the colder Decembers this year.  We will have End of The World (As We Know It - that song is running around in my head) Mayan Hot Chocolate - formerly known as Hot Chocolate That Kills or, as deemed by one of the Boy Scouts, "Adult Hot Chocolate."  Just to be clear, the 'adult' part was the spices, no booze involved then or now.  

We will say goodbye to the year that was and hello to the year that is arriving; for many and for us this is a renewing moment.  We have herbs you can burn and then we will sit around the fire and reflect on this not being the end of the world.  



* I watched a movie on Pearl Harbor the other night.  Produced in 1969, it flitted from the Japanese battle fleet to Pearl Harbor to other sites.  I was amazed at how ALL the clocks were synched to Honolulu time!  It was disconcerting as I felt like the film makers just had too little respect for a viewer's intelligence.