Saturday, August 24, 2013

Organic Garden Workshop Saturday Sept. 7th

September is Planting Month for Your Best Winter & Spring Crops!

David King's ORGANIC GARDEN Workshop  "How To Grow Food in Southern California without chemicals."

              Saturday Sept 7
          10am - Noon.     $20.

Topic: Planting Winter Crops Now 

Join in as David demonstrates how to "Grow Good Soil" for Southern California's best winter/spring growing season. This starts with what we do now in September -  We'll actually be planting and transplanting our fall crops and finding out which ones are best for "your" own garden, no matter how big or how small . . . .  David has a few treats in store for those attending along with the usual fun stuff we do!  

Arrive early, we start at 10am

Do you have questions about particular plants in your garden?  Are they living next to good companion plants? Help nature be her finest, as you cultivate your garden with natural techniques. 

Are you experiencing plant issues in your garden? Bring a sample with you, so we can help you diagnose.

The Learning Garden, Venice High Campus, Entrance on Walgrove
Parking on Venice Blvd.

David King, Garden Master with over 50 years of farming & gardening experience will instruct and answer all your questions. Reserve your seat today. A single class is only $20. and a series of six is $100. (The series does not expire until you attend six classes)

For More Information 
& to Pay Online
You can also pay before class

Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog/Website Changes

Readers of the "Record of the Seed Library of Los Angeles" have seen some jarring changes in the past week and we hope you've not been put off by them - expect a few more tweaks and changes over the next couple of weeks.  

The impetus for the changes have come about as a by-product of a web page overhaul.  This blog appears in the SLOLA webpage and from the beginning we've had challenges with the way it showed up in the website. Often we would have several copies of the same blog post, frequently up to four copies in a row, and there seemed to be no way to make that go away.  The 'call' feature didn't work with any celerity and occasionally blog posts did not appear in a timely fashion; in at least one case, the blog post did not appear on the site until after the event was over.  

So.  To change all that and make it more workable, the web people decided to link the blog to the site rather import it to the site.  Now folks on the webpage click a link and come to Blogger (where it is written and housed) to read the blog.  This has many advantages and is a nice, neat solution.  It has one drawback in that the blog is not consistently branded with the SLOLA website and as the weeks wear on, we hope to tweak it to make it look more like the rest of the website.  

Any suggestions?  Let us know.  We'd like to make this an enjoyable read for everyone!  

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thanks to Water LA!

David King with Vandana Shiva

Sunday, August 18, SLOLA founder and chair, David King, represented SLOLA and urban ag at a screening of the film, Dirt, The Ecstatic Skin of The Earth and served on a panel afterwards with Dr. Vandana Shiva and Treepeople's Director of Programs Christyne Imhoff.

Dr. Shiva stressed the seriousness of farmer suicides in India following the failure of genetically modified rice that forced farmers into impossible debt.  Pointedly she observed that these men went to their fields to kill themselves, symbolic of their love of the land; these were good farmers who had the capital to venture into the promise of the new technology of GMOs.  When this new, untried technology failed them, they were ashamed and the shame of not providing for their families sent them on a final, fatal journey into their fields to die with the land they loved.

Modern agriculture, as practiced today, destroys not only the environment in which it is practiced and the lives and culture of those who adopt it, but is a recipe for the failure of our food supply.  King cautioned that the current agricultural model will, sooner or later, result in severe shortages of food and city dwellers must begin to learn to grow some of their own food today, the future could be as bleak for Americans of all professions as today has been for many Indian farmers.

From left to right:  Melanie Winter, panel moderator, Water LA, Dr.
Vandana Shiva, Navdanya, David King, SLOLA and Christyne
Imhoff, Treepeople speaking after the film, Dirt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Exciting Time To Be A Part of SLOLA

Our SLOLA world today is busier than ever before with good things brewing and in the news.  

By now you know this Saturday's meeting is special because we will not only have Nisha Vida as our speaker, but directly following our meeting is the launch of Seed Freedom LA, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. There will be music and silk screening of anti-GMO tee shirts and signs and interesting stuff - but the main reason to come is there will be several city council members as well as some really competent and passionate anti-GMO activists to hear.  The most important reason to be here, though, will be to show support of making LA a 'GMO Free Zone' - meaning that it will be illegal to grow or transport genetically modified plants within Los Angeles City limits.  Though largely symbolic, no GMO plants are planted or brought into the city already, it does set in motion an eventual ban in LA County and then perhaps the state.  And those are not symbolic.  We gotta start somewhere and this is where we are! 

And then there is the Heirloom Expo coming around the corner, September 10, 11 and 12.  Held in Luther Burbank's hometown of Santa Rosa (which is why all those plums are called Santa Rosa), the Heirloom Expo always features great speakers and lots to see and do - it's like Disneyland for seedheads!  And we all get to hang out and geek out on seeds together.  SLOLA has a booth there and traditionally on Wednesday afternoon/evening, all the seed libraries gather around for an informal mini-conference.  The price is reasonable and you're invited to come by our booth and say hi.  We'll be in Grace Hall.  

And Seed School Los Angeles!  SLOLA will host Bill McDorman and Belle Starr's seed school in February - don't hesitate, enroll now while there is still space - we anticipate a completely sold out offering.  You can enroll via Native Seeds/SEARCH at this link.

A Burbank Slicer Tomato, one of the F2 plants in our project.

I really sat down to write about our Burbank Slicer Tomato project - which probably is the one thing that is lifting my spirits about the tomato crop I have not gotten in 2013.  I think it was in November 2011, I was seated next a buyer for Seeds of Change and she told me the story of Burbank Slicer being discontinued because it had shrunk from the 3 inch tomato Luther introduced in about 1915 to a two bite cherry that most folks clearly did not want.  She gave me several packets of old seed which we distributed among our members and set about to breed the tomato back to it's 3 inch size.  

From those seeds we got two really nice sized 3 inch tomatoes and from them, I saved seed the seeds I planted this year.  This photo is from that  F2 (second generation), showing the tomatoes we will select for more Burbank Slicers as we work to get the larger sized tomato consistently.  

Which points to the fact that by being a seed saver, you are a plant breeder - you choose the qualities that will be tomorrow's crop.  As we all select seed from our summer crops, let's make sure we save seeds from the very best every time to continue to have those qualities in our plants.  

Remember, one of the biggest parts of this seed library deal:  you must return a portion of the seed from the plants you grow so that the library will have seed to loan next year!  

For me, selecting the plants from which I will save seed is one of the challenges of the seed saving year.  What makes a Yugoslavian Red Lettuce that variety?  Does this plant - these plants - have the qualities that make this variety distinctly different from another? Then from those plants, scouring to find the healthiest fruits available because the fruit chosen today is the fruit projected into generations to come. Your choices make a difference! 

Feeling powerful now?