Abundant Harvests - garden info, Community Garden at Holy Nativity

forestgarden dec2015A forest garden is a garden of perennial plants that produce food.  It is often designed to look “forest-like,” with trees forming a canopy above, and smaller plants creating a “forest floor” effect underneath.

As part of the Westchester Community Oven project, we had always intended to try adding a food forest garden to the Community Garden at Holy Nativity.

Since the spot chosen was under an asphalt parking lot for at least 30 years, the first step was some soil remediation. Continue Reading

Community Garden at Holy Nativity, Environmental Change-Makers community, Community events in Westchester

opuntia juiceI’m “cooking up” a batch of Opuntia juice preservative.  It is a traditional weather coating used on adobe and cob structures.  We will be adding it to the final coat on the Westchester Community Oven when we re-surface it next weekend.

I had to post this because it is absolutely a frightful color of green.  No filters in that photo!

To make the preservative, you finely mince or puree cactus pads (Opuntia species, better known as prickly pear, or “nopales”), which yields a goopey green glop.  Then you pour this into a 5-gallon bucket of water, at which point it doesn’t mix with water right away, so it really looks like Shrek had a horrible head-cold.    Continue Reading

Community Garden at Holy Nativity, Environmental Change-Makers community, Community events in Westchester

CGHN 03 2014 -500Want to learn about all the fun stuff that goes on at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, and the Holy Nativity campus?

On Saturday, June 20, there will be a Summer Solstice Open House across the entire campus.

It will feature garden tours, an explanation of the Westchester Community Oven (the oven mud will be drying at that point), highlights from other campus organizations like Teri Roseman’s LiveYoga Wellness, Patricia Rose’s Fresh-food-in-a-flash cooking classes, the Food Forward gleaning program, art tours by Steve O’Laughlin, and much more.  Come join us and see the new oven!

Summer Solstice Open House
Sat Jun 20, 9am-1pm
Community Garden at Holy Nativity
6700 W. 83rd, Los Angeles, 90045
RSVP helpful

Abundant Harvests - garden info, Community Garden at Holy Nativity

someone else’s photo, that looks like what we saw

Yesterday in the Community Garden, we discovered that we are experiencing an attack of Root Knot Nematodes.  The beets we pulled up had failure to thrive, failed to form a beet root, and had tons of tumor-like growths on the hair roots.  Yuck.

The excess of one organism — to the point that we call them a “pest” — is a system imbalance.  It’s probably due to something lacking in the overall micro-ecosystem.

I’m sure our beets this year were weakened from lack of proper rain, and from excess high temperatures this season, so they were particularly succeptible.  My guess is that we probably have had low levels of root knot nematode everywhere for years, but thus far the soil ecosystem had kept them from flourishing and becoming an out-of-balance pest.

We grow organically, so that streamlines our treatment choices.  The goal is to regain the soil-ecosystem balance. Continue Reading

Abundant Harvests - garden info, Community Garden at Holy Nativity, My home garden

VCRW front 100 It’s autumn in Southern California.  Or is it?  The weather has changed.  Wait, it’s changed back again…

Contrary to what East Coast people say, Southern California does have its seasons.  But there’s rarely a clear “cutoff” date.  Add climate-change-driven Weather Weirdness to the mix and it can be totally confusing, even for veteran gardeners.

How do you tell when it’s time to change crops in your rotation?

Continue Reading

Abundant Harvests - garden info, Community Garden at Holy Nativity, Environmental Change-Makers community

Water.  Our gardens are aching for it.  And as toasty spring lengthens into official summertime, water needs will only increase.

Meanwhile, we’re completely overlooking a rather abundant water resource.  Greywater.  That’s water which has been used once before but doesn’t have anything nasty in it.

And since garden soil has enormous power to filter and cleanse a lot of what’s in that water, it seems like greywater and gardens should be a perfect fit. Continue Reading