Friday, August 28, 2009

Gardening 101: EatingLA gets some green-thumb help

a good-sized planter box
Tara demonstrates why it's best to start with a good-sized planter box instead of several smaller pots.

Every so often I mention my struggling patio garden, which yielded just one (admittedly delicious) heirloom tomato this year. I realized that even growing in just a few pots, it might be a good idea to actually learn something about what I was doing, so longtime friend Tara Kolla of Silver Lake Farms invited me to take one of her gardening workshops at the Franklin Hills Community Garden.
In just three hours, I learned a lot about what I was doing wrong. I have just one word for you: soil. Tara gave us her optimum soil recipe, the number of a guy in Pacoima who makes incredibly cheap redwood planter boxes and much more info from her hard-won experience.
planting seeds
We even got to take home seedlings to start.
I even learned how to knowledgeably throw around terms like cotyledon, worm castings and legume inoculation. I'm sure this is very elementary for more experienced gardeners, but I've been planting things for many years without really knowing what I'm doing, and this class made me finally feel like I'm on the path to a decent garden. Although I rushed out to buy soil amendments after finishing this class, I'm guessing I'll end up spending less in the longrun on failed planting experiments and gimmicks.


Anonymous said...

Cool!!!! I'm jealous. I may have to pick your brain for info.

99 Cent Chef said...

Photos are looking lush these days. Your new camera is nice!

bbeyes said...

Love it that she was using Seeds of Change seeds, btw.

I wrote Erik Knutzen (of Homegrown Evolution) an email the other day because I was getting so bummed out about my zucchini failures this summer. He said soil amendments etc were definitely in order. Echo Park dirt not the greatest.
Wanna start a worm farm?

Mr. Homegrown said...

It is indeed all about the soil--and Tara is a great source for learning how to compost and turn soil into food! I encourage everyone to sign up for one of her classes.

Anonymous said...

Tara is great. I had a private lesson with her a while back and would love to schedule another!

amp said...

This is great - I had just been researching classes last week p- thinking county,extension courses, etc. In same boat - or sandbox, perhaps - as you in terms of checkered gardening background. So, thanks for posting!