Abundant Harvests - garden info

Many popular garden books promote methods such as the “Lasagna method”: You layer materials such as cardboard, black plastic, compost, mulch, etc., on top of grass and create a garden. In Southern California we must evaluate such recommendations carefully:

  • Does the person who is telling of great Lasagna success live in a year-round growing season, or do they have the benefit of a frost to help eradicate weeds and pests?

  • Does the storyteller have Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon)?

  • Are they speaking of long-term success: Have their observations endured beyond Bermuda’s regrowth timespan or were those Lasagna layers very recently applied?

Here in Southern California, without frost of any significance and with nearly every backyard being populated with Bermuda grass, in my experience there is only one long-term viable solution: Continue Reading

Cityscape Seeds

aldermanIf the only peas you’ve ever tasted are those chalky greyish marbles from the grocery store’s freezr section, you’re really missing out!

Alderman peas are sweet, tender, and delicious.  They’ve got a depth of flavor, a “greenness,” that gives them flavor dimension.  Your body aches for something that tastes this fresh and healthy and good. Continue Reading

Community events in Westchester

lemontreeA late summer pruning can really help shape your fruit trees.  That’s why we’re inviting veteran arborist Peiter Severynen to the Community Garden.  Pieter is a font of wisdom, so if you have a fruit tree, you won’t want to miss this!

You’ll learn that different kinds of fruit trees need different types of shaping to encourage production.  You’ll learn how to make decisions about what to cut, and how to make the cuts themselves. Continue Reading

Community events in Westchester

sunflowerseedharvestSave the date for our “Urban Seed Saving” workshop.

This full-day workshop will prepare you to join the efforts to conserve heirloom vegetable seeds, or to create your own vegetable varieties.


This hands-on workshop covers plant reproduction for the major vegetable plant families, cross-pollination, preserving varietal purity, seed storage, and cleaning seed … and how to maximize the benefits of our urban conditions to get the very best seeds.

Presenters include David King (Seed Library of Los Angeles, UCLA Extension, and The Learning Garden), Azita Jolei (Seed Library of Los Angeles and Homegrown Gardens), and Joanne Poyourow (Environmental Change-Makers, Community Garden at Holy Nativity, and Cityscape Seeds).

Plus … for lunch you can bake your own pizza in the wood-fired Westchester Community Oven (bring pizza dough and toppings to share potluck-style) or bring a salad to share.

Urban Seed Saving
Saturday October 8, 2016
8:00am arrival and sign-in; 8:30am start time
Completion at 5:00pm
Community Garden at Holy Nativity, 6700 West 83rd, LA 90045
Early-bird Tuition $85 basic tution, $160 couple, $70 student/senior discounted price
pre-registration is necessary at www.SLOLA.org

Prices increase on Sept 30th, so save your spot today!

See the flyer here.

Offered in conjunction with the Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA).


WCO gf pizza 4It’s no secret that we built a community-scale wood-fired bread-and-pizza oven here in Los Angeles.  And that we hold monthly Community Bake events in conjunction with Los Angeles Bread Bakers so that anyone can try their hand at baking in it.

But … what if you’re gluten-free?  Does that count you out?

After years of serious gluten-free living, I eased up a bit (and the monthly presence of totally-awesome artisan baked goods in my life has certainly had a lot to do with it), but I really want to get back to it.  Or at least closer.  Meanwhile we have these monthly baking events and I can’t bear to not participate.

I hopped on the ole Google and learned that there are plenty of people out there trying gluten-free pizza crusts.  Not that many are using a wood-fired oven, but a few are using an outdoor grill.  Thus begins the challenge, which will likely take me all summer to resolve:

How do you make a totally awesome gluten-free pizza in a wood-fired oven? – not just any pizza, but one that’s so awesome that artisan bakers are impressed by it… Continue Reading

Abundant Harvests - garden info

It’s easy to get seed from your vegetables.  Just let Nature do her thing.

It’s a little bit more challenging to be sure that you’re getting the kinds of seeds you want.  Plants (kinda like outdoor cats) make offspring quite willingly, with any other plant that will participate.

In a small garden, one really easy simple trick is to grow one variety of each species.  You’ll get lots of diversity in your food and nutrition, and you’ll get a much greater assurance of growing good seeds.

Here’s the “Seedsaving without worries” handout (pdf) that I wrote for this weekend’s talk at the Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA).  It has slightly different content than this post. Continue Reading

Community events in Westchester

beneficial_insect_attracting_flowers2Water is an issue in our Southern California gardens, this year like so many others.

While many people will continue to debate “which takes more water, a lawn or a vegetable garden?” in today’s world we need vegetable gardens for many other reasons.

Your vegetable garden can yield abundant organic veggies, shade your home with productive fruit trees, provide homes for pollinating insects, sequester CO2, beautify your home, and provide countless hours of satisfaction and contentment … all while making the most of every drop of water.  A vegetable garden that is designed for Water Wisdom will certainly save water over a wasteful, evaporative lawn. Continue Reading