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26 July, 2013

Rats

OK... Get over it – everywhere there is civilization, there are rats. They live in our trash, on our refuse and they proliferate everywhere humans congregate.
Evidence of rodents feeding on corn 

They are pests of the garden and now they have come to feast on my corn – my very valuable Glass Gem Popcorn and they are going to take the whole crop unless I can find a way to stop them.

But before we get to that... It's my fault. There are two stands of corn in the garden. The other stand will come to fruition with very little predation while the valuable Glass Gem stands very little chance of producing anything at all for me. It's in the wrong place.

The Glass Gem was placed in an area of convenience for me – near the composting site of the garden. This is the wrong place to put anything that rodents may want to eat because compost piles are natural habitat for rodents plus they can venture out from the compost area under some good weed cover and get into my corn unobserved. This foils my number one anti-rodent defense: my local hawk.

Some areas of the garden are never predated upon by rodents because the rodents must cross ample open ground to feast on whatever is planted and in that crossing, they are easy prey for the hawk. I did not think of that when I selected this spot for the Glass Gem corn. The rats or mice have only a few feet to cross and those few feet have plants that can cover them – besides a hawk is not going to place himself in a human made culvert between compost bins and tall corn for any little morsel; there isn't enough take off/landing space to protect him.

Now I've got to play catch up – in desperation, I posted my dilemma on Facebook and I got all kinds of answers. I want to look at each one here and try to solve my problem in front of God and everyone.

Traps
Probably the most recommended in the answers. Traps do a fair job of targeting the pest species, which is vitally important to me. While I have no problem killing insects, for example, I will not spray because of the collateral damage caused by sprays – not only do I kill the species I aim at, but most organic sprays are indiscriminate in what they kill. Spray for aphids and you wipe out the lady bug eggs that were laid nearby to feast on those same aphids – and instead of solving my problem, I've only postponed it because ants will bring more aphids back to recolonize the area and there will be no lady bugs to oppose them.

I have seen squirrels get bit by rat traps. The squirrel is not killed, but the trap is attached to his leg and he will wear it until he dies. Which one prays is soon, because the suffering must be immense. I do NOT like squirrels one little bit, but I struggle with inflicting that kind of suffering on any living thing. And if a squirrel can be caught by one, why wouldn't a dog? Or a cat?

Traps are out.

Cat
Speaking of cats, they were the second most popular suggestion – they also elicited the most responses and controversy. On one side, the indignant cat rescuers and on the other, people who wrote me long emails about the 'misguided' opposition to rodent-catching cats.

I am from a farm. I grew up on a farm with many cats, all of whom got very little food from humans – they were on their own to police the barn and granaries. One of them lived to be thirteen (I was told, certainly she was older than I was!), but that was the exception – most had much shorter lifespans. Still, they were a part of the working life of a farm.

However, on Unified School District property it is out of the question – it's against school policy. I don't get to vote.

Dog
Less effective than cats, dogs were also mentioned. My experience makes me think they are worthless; the one's I know think of rats running around as a kind of free TV.

Poisons
Absolutely a non-starter with me. Too many chances for non-target species to be hurt.

That pretty much shoots the whole lot of 'em down, doesn't it?

Except, for me taking responsibility for a poor location and doing something about it. Sixteen human hours late, the compost pile has been relocated to a space not far from where it was before, but there is 15 feet of clear ground they will have to cross before they reach the corn. Already, this morning, remnants of rodent were found adjacent to the corn field.

This will not result in 100% effectiveness. I don't need that. I am willing to take some losses – I am NOT willing to lose everything however. I am also going to cage some of the biggest and best ears in hardware cloth to prevent those specific ears from being eaten.

david 




06 July, 2013

The Southern California Cheat Sheet: A Month by Month List of What To Plant and When

Here is a revised 'cheat sheet.'  

These are all generalizations and they apply to The Learning Garden, located in Sunset Zone 24, less than 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean in an alluvial plain that is barely above sea level. Cold air from the surrounding higher elevations drains into our area and we are reliably cooler than much of the surrounding areas.

If you are growing inland from us, your temperatures will fluctuate more than ours. The further from the ocean a person gardens, the temperatures become less moderate and the effects of heat and cold are more pronounced. While we can grow some cool season crops year round (kale and chard for example), this becomes more difficult without the ocean's pronounced influence.

JANUARY
Plant in the ground: lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac, radishes, spinach,
Plant in containers: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, (these last two can be started now, but they would have been better started earlier – their production will be reduced by the coming warmer weather), peas, fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans
Otherwise: You are looking in seed catalogs and reading books to figure out which tomatoes, peppers, beans and other summer crops you will be planting. You will order too many seeds despite promises to yourself to not do it this year.

FEBRUARY
Plant in the ground: lettuce (and other salad greens), carrots, beets parsnips, radishes, spinach, purple beans,
Plant in containers: early tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, summer squash
Otherwise: If you haven't over-ordered your seeds for summer yet, get busy. You're not playing by the rules.

MARCH
Plant in the ground: purple beans, lettuce, radishes, purple beans, beets, radishes, spinach, set out plants of basil, early tomatoes, later in the month, sow early sweet corn,
Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, all squash,

APRIL
Plant in the ground: beans of all colors, lettuce, radishes, beets, spinach, set out plants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, you can start planting all corn now
Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons & squash, okra,

MAY
Plant in the ground: all basil, eggplant, all melons and all squash (including cucumbers, set out plants of same and all tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) green and yellow beans and all the dried beans; corn too, if you have room
Plant in containers: As in April, but it's getting late – peppers, eggplants and basil are still OK to start, but it's getting late, did I say it was getting late?


JUNE
Plant in the ground: all the above, but it's getting late... you can still get a crop, but it will be cut shorter by any early cool weather; the last of the corn can go in early in the month
Plant in containers: after starting pumpkin seeds, take a nap

JULY
Plant in the ground only out of necessity – extreme necessity
Plant in containers: continue napping
Otherwise: You can begin to think about your cool season seeds now. Get out them catalogs and prepare to over-order those!

AUGUST
Plant in the ground: nothing if you can avoid it
Plant in containers: towards the end of the month, in a shaded location, the first of the winter veggies can be started, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, fava beans, leeks, shallots, onions...
Otherwise: You DO have your cool season seeds ordered, yes?

SEPTEMBER
Plant in the ground: nothing, until late in the month, start sowing turnips, parsnips, radishes, beets and carrots – keep seeds moist! Peas, lentils and garbanzo beans can be sown...
Plant in containers: Cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, favas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,
Otherwise: Get your garlic bulbs, shallot bulbs and onion sets ordered – don't wait – they sell out!

OCTOBER
Plant in the ground: by now you can begin to set out some of your cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, chard and so on. Continue with seeds as above... you can also direct sow favas if you want. Potatoes can usually be found about now as well as sets or seed bulbs of onions, garlic and shallots and they all should be planted from now until late November.
Plant in containers: More Cruciferae and favas, celery and celeriac,

NOVEMBER
Plant in the ground: More of September's plants can be sown – you still have time for all of them except onions, this will be the last month to plant peas, lentils, garbanzos, shallots, garlic and fava beans. Their growing season is too long to get the harvest you would want. Although the legumes can be planted if you are willing to take a lesser harvest or are using them as a cover (green manure) crop.
Plant in containers: I'm still sowing cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower, but Brussels sprouts are a longer season item so they're not a part of my efforts until next season's planting begins.

DECEMBER
Plant in the ground: Too little light and too many parties make it difficult to find garden time – but if you have some things left over from November, try to get that done.
Plant in containers: The same story, if you have time, do more of all that's listed from November.


There are two big shifts in Southern Californian gardening: At the end of September, start of October it's all about the winter crops. At the end of February, start of March, the focus all shifts to summer and the heat lovers. Seeds are started before then (if you have the right conditions, up to six weeks). 

July

Corn standing tall in the garden promises good eating right around the corner. As a boy in Kansas, I knew my grandfather's goal every year was to harvest sweet ears by July 4th. He and his neighbors might bet hard earned money on who would harvest their crop first.  Most years he was the surely the winner! Since corn takes a lot of room, many Los Angelenos will need to purchase this treat at their local farmers' markets.

July brings hot weather. Finally. Now is the time to get a cool drink
and say hello to summer in our Southern California gardens.

For this reason alone, I insist that no garden should be created without seating for the gardener to glory in the work that has been done. This is not the month to do a lot of planting, if you can help it at all. Water is what your garden wants along with some weeding and harvesting. Don’t just pour water on your garden without exercising your noggin! Monitor the soil moisture and apply water as needed – but before plants begin to wilt. Try to water when less will be lost to evaporation – early in the day or late in the day, even under the full moon, listening to the owls. Stick a finger in the soil up to the first knuckle. Better yet, turn over a small spot of soil with your trowel. It should be slightly moist down about an inch or so. The surface of the soil can be quite dry and that's fine. A gardener is more concerned with the moisture level in that part of the soil where roots live.

It is most important to have water at the roots of plants – spraying water into the air to fall on the soil, is not very efficient. A lot of that water can be blown away from your plants (on to the neighbors!) and a lot evaporates off into the air. It is not very efficient at all. But there are other ways to to water that are better. All these other ways involve putting the water close to the root zone. The two ways to do this include some of the newest technology and some of the oldest technology. The newest technology is drip irrigation; the oldest is called an 'olla' – pronounced OYE-ya. Variations of ollas are found in several different ancient cultures and there is a move to put them back into gardens today.

But before we get to that, we need to know some things about water and how it moves in the soil. First of all, water 'sticks' to itself. If you over fill a glass of water to where it is actually higher than the edge of the glass, it often can hold together and not run down the side of the glass. The tendency of water to stick together is one of the qualities that make water so valuable a part of our world. So as water moves, it pulls other water along behind it.

Water moves down in the soil because of gravity. Water moves up and out of the soil into the atmosphere because of evaporation. Water moves sideways in the soil when pulled along by plant roots pulling water molecules out of the soil, which drags other molecules along behind. Water fans out from the point it drips into the soil to a more narrow or wider 'fan' depending on the composition of the soil; sandy soil, with it's large pore space allows the water to move more downward than outward. Clay soil, on the other hand, with small particles tightly packed causes water to expand outward much more dramatically than sandy soil.

Now, on to getting water to your plants' roots!

Drip irrigation has gotten a lot of attention over the last twenty years. A number of people who have played with drip, myself included, have come to feel it is less than 'as advertised.' In the first place, drip irrigation is a lot of plastic parts. On the other hand, compared to an underground irrigation system that are very expensive and difficult to install, drip systems are cheap and easy!

But back on the first hand, they are also relatively impermanent. Plastic can be easily broken – and therein lies the tale of drip. The plastic seems to develop a magnetic attraction for shovels and other sharp instruments, which means it must be repaired constantly. Wild animals also find the plastic tubing an easy source for water – just make the hole a little larger and there is another repair awaiting your attention. Anyone who depends on a drip system, soon learns to observe the entire system while it's running at least once a month. The observation, done more with one's ears than one's because you can hear the water making noises that it would not make if the system was still working properly. Furthermore, the pattern of wetness in the soil made by drip is not ideal for a number of plants. Plants did not evolve to gather water from a single spot with no water before or after that spot. For some plants, this is a problem – especially the 'drought-resistant' plants.

Part of their strategy is to find water over a much wider range than less drought tolerant plants. As a consequence for a lot of the drought resistant plants, drip irrigation is a problem more than a solution. This is particularly difficult for the California Native plant palette than it is for plants that have been in the care of humans over the past hundreds of years. California Native plants tend to not do so well with drip irrigation.

Finally, every replanting of a food crop, requires the drip lines to be rolled up to facilitate preparing the bed and planting. This is a cumbersome project at best and is a disaster for the drip system at worst.

Drip has a lot of drawbacks although it does deliver water to the roots with relatively little loss of water to the atmosphere and does reduce water waste. There is one other recent change that updates drip to what is called a 'leaky pipe or hose.' This technology has most of the good qualities of drip but is easily to deal with and the leaky hose sweats water all along its length which means there is a zone of wetness in the soil, more closely approximating natural conditions and the hose is less of a hassle to repair or move. It's not perfect but this is a reasonable choice for non-permanent plantings.

Ollas on the other hand, are a lot more permanent and are not made of plastic. Made of clay, an olla (Spanish for 'pot,' as in 'soup pot.' ) is porous and water 'leaks' out. The olla is buried in the soil, then filled with water which seeps into the soil, spreading out to water nearby plants. How far the water moves in the soil is different according to the soil's texture, and needs to be tested for some accurate figures, but one can make some educated guesses in short order. Ollas are not a good candidate for trees and perennials with woody roots. They are also somewhat fragile, but not as much as drip parts and they are not made from oil like plastic. Ollas do not have to be moved to plant a bed, as long as you are not tilling the soil in any way, and, of course, in my style of gardening, that isn't done. Ollas are absolutely fabulous in planted containers.

Olla with a tomato plant in a ceramic planter- a good use of an olla that shows off all their good qualities perfectly.
But do take steps to find ways to control the amount of water that is put in your garden – and no matter how you get water to the roots, make sure you mulch the beds thoroughly and save the water you do put down from evaporating off into the atmosphere. 

Check the mulch level this month; insure it is deep enough to keep roots cool and prevent evaporation of the precious water you are putting down. I don't use fertilizer, which means my plants are never over-fertilized and with the constant use of compost and mulch, they are well supplied with all they really need to thrive. 
I am cautious about using really good compost that might have a lot of nitrogen in it on tomatoes. They tend to use up all the nitrogen you give them by growing very large and healthy-looking plants and not setting fruit. For our climate, this isn't a disaster, you just have fresh tomatoes in September and October. But if you don't want to wait that long for tomato season to start, skip fertilizer or so-called 'hot' compost. Save it for corn which is a notoriously heavy feeder.

I mentioned this isn't a good planting month. There was that huge list of all I was supposed to get all done last month, remember? I probably didn't and you might have a few things to wrap up too.
With care, it is still possible to sow beans and, for those of us with the room, corn. It's also possible to sow another planting of summer squash and if the pickle gods smile on you, more cucumbers. Some of the real heat loving veggies can be set out, like more peppers or tomato plants. If you enjoy eggplant, you might set out another plant or two at this time, they will extend your harvest. But remember these late plantings will need extra water (try to plant them in the late afternoon – and try very hard to minimize root damage when you transplant them). The problem with planting now is that the leaves can easily transpire much more water than the small root system can take up. If these plants have been growing in the same amount of sunlight that they will get in the ground, they stand a much better chance of survival. But wilted leaves the following afternoon suggest the root system is not keeping pace with the lost moisture. Unless your little darlings put on enough roots quickly, or you can do some judicious, temporary shading, your crop might not make it to a productive adulthood. With tomatoes, a little pruning of leaves from the plant will cut down on the water loss and the plant will put the leaves back on as soon as its root system can handle it.

Unless the weather cooperates and you are lucky beyond all expectation, I would suggest that getting summer plants in the ground after the Summer Solstice is more likely than not, a waste of time. I have done it and won. I have done it and lost. But before you begin to plant a lot of summer stuff after June 21
st or so, you might want to consider holding off for a couple of months and starting with a winter garden.

In our climate, especially in that part of the west coast that gets a lot of Pacific Ocean influence, growing the cucurbits can be a challenge because the moisture in the air allows mildew to grow and kill these plants. The cucurbits are cucumbers, squashes, melons and pumpkins (which are really a squash) and they are particularly susceptible to getting mildew. It can be hard, in some years with heavy 'June Gloom' to get a good crop. There are some remedies for mildew but I haven't tried any yet. Perhaps this is year I’ll actually try a baking soda and water mixture on mildew and report back to you later. Up to now, I've simply gotten rid of the infected plant and grown another. It's usually only a hassle with winter squash which take longer to ripen, summer squash, the yellow crooknecks and zucchinis produce a lot of food quickly, so a replant will keep you up to your ears in zukes, if you don't get enough from the first harvest.

Summer squash is called that because you eat it in summer. This includes all those zucchini, patty pans, crooknecks, and the squashes the British call 'marrow' and 'courgettes.' They are characterized by soft skin and will rot if you keep them around too long without refrigeration. Winter squash, on the other hand, which includes pumpkins, are so named because they can keep for many months and provide food over the winter months. It is their hard outer shell that allows them to be a
part of a winter diet in a world without refrigeration and be transported easily over thousands of miles. Our ancestors relied on the keeping ability of winter squashes to hold starvation at bay. Keeping winter squashes edible for a long period of time in Southern California is a challenge because we don't have root cellars to store them in a cool and dry place. Gardeners with small gardens have trouble with most winter squashes because of the space they take up.

The avalanche of ripe harvest should begin to worry you before July is halfway through. Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans, corn, zucchini, stone fruits and others will begin to overwhelm a gardener. Keep the harvest coming by picking when ripe promptly and finding ways to keep the produce for later or share your abundance with neighbors, friends or send it off to a local food bank – there are many who can't grow their own food and can't feed themselves and their families good, clean (sans pesticides) nutritious meals. No one should be forced to consume 'instant' food just because they are poor.

Zucchini and summer squashes are a special concern.  A four inch squash on Tuesday will resemble a caveman's club by Friday and won't be as tasty and tender.  Any summer squash will do that.; only neophyte gardeners will brag about how big their zucchinis get, they get that big whenever you don't pick them in time – it's not something to brag about, but something to be embarrassed about!
The ones we call 'zucchini' are the quickest to grow to laughable sizes.  It's the reason for a million recipes for Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Casserole, Zucchini Lasagna.  (I have even eaten a Zucchini Crumble, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, which was pretty good as long I avoided the bites with zucchini pieces.)  Once zucchini get much beyond the four to six inch size, they aren't all that tasty and begin to get woody. Harvest them early and often. Like voting in Chicago!

Melons are a challenge for those of us on the coast. Cantaloupe and honeydew melons should have a wilted tendril at the stem end of the fruit and should smell ripe (read as “mouth waters when smelling”). Watermelons are much more difficult to tell; when I was twelve, one infamous melon outsmarted me, my grandfather and the judges at a county fair by winning a blue ribbon and being as green as the proverbial Martian. I only know to thump them-- listening for an almost hollow sound, to determine ripeness, and despite that aforementioned melon, I have been really good at since I was eight. One miss in almost fifty years of thumping is a better record than any baseball pitcher you can name.

Cucumbers are not so much a challenge – as soon a cucumber is big enough for you, snag it. There are many different varieties of cucumber and it would be impossible to list each and every one because they
come in different sizes and shapes. Suffice it to say that Japanese cucumbers and Armenian cukes are able to get quite large and still be delicious! Not so with other varieties. I know a lot of folks get goo-goo eyed about 'Lemon' cucumbers, but I don't share the love. Some say you have to wait until they turn yellow before they are good to eat. I think they are never that good no matter when you pick them and they are stupendously big and rangy plants. In addition, the smaller the fruit you have to peel, the more work it is to get it on the table. I'll go with the Japanese or Armenian cucumbers – highly productive and delicious!

The harvesting of corn is another that begs a few words. The first time I saw folks in Los Angeles trying to choose ripe corn in the market, I was completely blown away! I had never seen people pull back the Check (the leaves covering the ear) to see if the corn had filled out the cob or to see how large the kernels were. Although, I suppose if you hadn't picked it yourself, these points might be suspect. As a child on a farm that sold sweet corn all summer long, I learned to merely feel through the leaves to 'see' what was underneath. Corn sold in markets – even farmers' markets – is usually picked after it's past the optimum stage – and non-gardeners are likely to prefer it. It is a 'more = better' kind of thinking. But corn kernels that have gotten big and fat are not as juicy and not nearly as tender.
Smaller, as is often the case with vegetables, is better.

The tassel on a corn plant are the 'boy flowers' and the silks are the 'girl flowers.' The pollen falls from the tassel onto the silks and that causes the kernels – really the seed of the next crop of corn – to grow. Each kernel has its own silk. 
If you find a cob with a 'vacancy,' no kernel where there should be, that is where one silk that did not get pollinated.


If you experience worms in your corn, or you fear you will although I don't know how you can see into the future, as soon as you can see silks, put a couple of drops of mineral oil in the spot where they emerge from the shuck. The worms will find that an impassible barrier and you'll have worm free corn. To harvest, feel the ear. It may take some training, but after a time, your tactile explorations will enable you to feel the ripe (and full ear).  Leave the underdeveloped still on the plant. Grab the ear firmly and pull slightly out and down in one compelling motion to liberate it from the plant. The top and bottom ends will need trimming to find the actual ear in all that you have in your hand. As above, you can find it by careful touch.

In this season of heat, don't neglect yourself when you are in the garden. The sun we experience today is not the same sun our grandparents faced. With ozone depletion, it is much easier to
contract skin cancer, so take steps to avoid having to deal with that. I know the popular method to avoid overexposure is to slather on lots of sun screen, but I don't find that a realistic alternative for a person in the sun almost every day. In the first place, I'm concerned that all that goop eventually gets washed off our bodies and goes into the waste stream where there is no provision to deal with. It isn't one of the substances ameliorated by city sewage treatment and so flows out into nature where we don't have a clue what it does. It's just another human pollutant and no one has bothered to investigate to determine it's harmful or benign. In my world, I prefer to deal with our environment, by always assuming the safest course of action and take exceeding care not to damage the only world we have.

I continue to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts even on hot days. I have several that are quite light and let the breeze flow through. It is one way to avoid harmful rays
. I am as comfortable – or as uncomfortable – as the next person. Of course, I strongly suggest a hat which you see me wear daily, not only for the interdiction of the sun, but as a way of shielding my eyes and keeping cooler. Besides, a hat is the epitome of fashion! Almost all good gardeners wear them!

And while we are on this tangent, consider your number one tool set in the garden: your hands. This is one set of tools you cannot replace or upgrade so it's best to take good care of them at all times. For gardeners, the feel of earth in their fingers is one of the true joys – and feeling of connection –
one can experience. However, the hands can also get injured easily in a garden so take a few steps back and consider how to protect them. When doing repetitive tasks that abrade your skin, wear gloves. Have more than one pair: one for moist work that has a moisture barrier of some kind, one for light work (goatskin gloves are marvelous to the touch – they contain a lanolin that works wonders on your hand while you work) and a heavy leather pair for hard work. The goatskin and heavy leather gloves can now be replaced by some non-animal products that are almost as protective. You will find good selections of gloves from your local nursery and your local big box store,  Mail order gardening companies' catalogs display the full range of gloves that are available. Never buy a glove you find uncomfortable. It will discourage you from wearing that pair as often as you might need to. Keep your gloves pinned together when not wearing them or you'll end up with a glove for one hand and another glove for the other hand, or worse, all the same hand will be missing! I use a an electric cable 'alligator' clip to which I have attached a piece of wire in a hook shape to slip in my belt loop – other friends use a simple clip clothespin. Find out what works for you, but have your gloves on hand (sorry) for your gardening adventures.
Is your tetanus shot up to date? Talk to your doctor – this shot should be renewed every 5-10 years and you should strive to remain currentRecommendations about this, change over the years, like most other medical advice, so talk it over with your doctor to see what course of action you should take. You don't have to garden on a former dump site to be surprised by a nail or broken piece of glass. So while soil is one of the safer substances in its natural state (penicillin was concocted from a soil mold), soils in the city are often troublesome.

In the evening, grab some lemonade and contemplate your garden. You are awesome – you are growing food you can eat. Aren't you glad you put a seat in your garden? When you are done with your reverie, go inside and write me an email about how happy you are. Enclose a donation...

Look at June if you want to try to plant anything, but my advice? Try to avoid planting in July if you can.

Lavender Honey Ice Cream


It's time to cool down! At the Learning Garden we have a 4th of July Ice Cream Social and this is one of our annual favorites – I can't wait to supply the honey for this ice cream from one of my hives!

INGREDIENTS (for 2 quarts):
1½ cup honey
2 sprigs of fresh lavender
2 cups half and half
4 cups of whipping cream
6 egg yolks

DIRECTIONS:

Warm the honey with the lavender in a non-corroding saucepan. Taste after five minutes to check the strength of the lavender flavor and leave a little longer if necessary, until the flavor pleases you.

Heat the half and half and cream in a non-corroding saucepan and whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until they are just broken up. Whisk in some of the hot cream and return to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the spoon. Strain into a container and stir in the flavored honey. Chill thoroughly.

When you are ready to freeze the mixture, remove the vanilla bean pods. Freeze according to the instructions of your ice cream maker.

david 


05 July, 2013

David King's Upcoming Speaking Schedule


Thanks to Lucia for this great PR shot in front of
the SLOLA banner no less!
Sometimes I get so damn busy, I have to make a list for myself to figure it out – so why not share it with you. If you aren't tired of hearing me yet, add these events to your calendar:

06 July – Growing Food In Southern California This is my monthly what to do and when to do it class at The Learning Garden. From 10 AM to noon, the first Saturday of every month, I hold forth on your monthly chores in the garden – and answer your gardening questions. It's $20 at the gate. This month, will be a special lecture that covers the entire year as far as crop rotation, harvesting and when and what to plant to maximize your yields in Southern California. A special lecture with some special give aways.

07 July The Seed Library of Los Angeles presents at the Green Tent at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market from 9 AM to 2 PM. Here is their blog post on the event:

SAFEGUARDING OUR SEEDS

The Seed Library of Los Angeles facilitates growing open-pollinated seeds among Los Angeles residents. It is building a library of these seeds and educating all gardeners how to save seeds while creating a community of seed-saving gardeners.

Purple Maize
In doing this, it is preserving a genetic treasure, traditionally passed from generation to generation, and ensuring that multinational corporations do not gain a monopoly on our food supply and destroy this vital resource against hunger. It is safeguarding these seeds as viable alternatives against genetically engineered food, making certain that a portion of our food supply is wholesome and GMO free.
  
The Seed Library is the continuation of the sacred trust passed from parent to child to grandchild of these seeds and its members understand their role in this pan-generational dance. Learn how to be a part of this wonderful and vital enterprise that allows an individual to fight back against the untested technology of GMOs.

Corn Pollination
David King is the Founding Chair of the Seed Library of Los Angeles, a three year old organization that already has over 600 members and a library of over 300 varieties of seed and is the Gardenmaster of The Learning Garden on the grounds of Venice High School, one of our neighborhood's best sources for horticultural information.

12 and 13 July God's Green Earth Festival at Venice Beach, CA From their promo materials:  Based in the heart of Venice Beach, at Windward Plaza, God’s Green Earth Festival promises to be an exciting event for all! Venice Parks and Recreation confirms that Venice Beach will see more than 100,000  visitors over the course of the weekend we are there. As attractions to those crowds, we will be featuring 2 solar-powered sound stages, environmental speakers, professional skateboarding, and “green” Exhibitor booths to attract visitors from the boardwalk and bike path.

Times for SLOLA speakers, including myself, to be announced

20 July is the actual meeting day of the Seed Library of Los Angeles – Featured Speaker is Claudia Laufer, L.Ac. on locally grown food versus food that is imported from non-local souces. Learn of the health benefits and importance of heirlooms vs. regular plants based on nutritional content, the importance of eating seasonal and the effects of factory farming on health vs. your own "medicinal" food garden.  I chair the meeting and we will have some announcements about several upcoming events you won't want to have to hear second hand!  

I'll post more as the details become more clear. Your support in all this is greatly appreciated!


david