14 February, 2019

First Time Offering: The SPRING Urban Food Production UCLA Extension Class!

It's been a year since I've taught at UCLA Extension, but now we have a course scheduled for this coming Spring Quarter! 

This is a new and different course with an old name. When I first began to teach Urban Food Production many years ago, it was a Fall Quarter class, but I envisioned the same class taught in Spring because that's how gardening rolls in the Mediterranean Climate of Los Angeles - we garden year round, the two big planting times are Fall and Spring. Finally, I now have the chance to teach that class - in Spring! I'm very excited about what we'll get to cover. 

Instructor with instructor's portable desk.

Students who have had Urban Food Production in Fall, will find very little overlap between the Spring and Fall classes - there will be some overlap, but on the whole this is a different course. We will do a light touch on soil - which was in the Fall class, but we'll show different aspects of soil science too. In Fall, we discussed chickens, so instead of chickens, we will look at some other livestock -  in keeping with our Urban Food Production concept.

The Spring planting palette is different and we'll use different techniques for these plants, plus we'll look beyond what we can do in a short class and find perennial truths that are guides for good gardening on through the years. 

You can enroll in Urban Food Production at this link.  I look forward to seeing you in class! You can respond to this post for more information if you wish. 


04 February, 2019

New Book on Soils For Gardeners

Understanding soils girds our work in the garden and is a part of a successful gardeners' ability to be successful. There are books out there on soil, I've mentioned a lot of them to my classes and I've probably said something here in the past. But most soils book are too heavily invested in "acres" while gardeners are planting "square feet," or they are so loaded with scientific words and concepts that an average, brain just melts under the onslaught. 

Written by Nancy Cipes and Gretchen Renshaw, 
Yet, we all know how important understanding our soil and how it works, accepting full well that this thing we call "soil" plays a major role in the creation and tenability of our creation. I have spent many years coming up with lectures that actually address what is going on in the soil with the roots of my plants and describing how that works to students without overwhelming them with science. What I have done for my students has been eclipsed by a book that does what I have tried to do, but does so by covering much more than my simple lectures have done. 

I heard about the book on line and immediately ordered it. When it arrived, the first chapter ran parallel to what is always my first words to each class on soil! I was so happy then to see that it went way beyond that first chapter, but stayed firmly in language that everyone can handle and included many of the same illustrations I have found to be useful. It covers a lot of ground and does so with simple elegance. I am ecstatic that there is now a book I can suggest for all my students that will give them a good grounding in these subjects. 

I am overjoyed to feature this book on my blog because it fills a niche that's been left untouched for far too many years. If you garden and you are not a soil scientist, get this book. You'll thank me sooner or later!  It's going to help you achieve your garden dreams.

Underground, A Gardeners Guide to Soil and Plant Nutrition
by Nancy Cipes and Gretchen Renshaw, 
Independently Published