Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garden Showcase Celebration, May 5

Cinco de Green Garden Showcase Celebration

Ballona Institute President  & biologist
Roy van de Hoek leading
Feathers & Foliage of Mar Vista Nature Walk
This Sunday, the Mar Vista Farmers' Market is celebrating Cinco de Mayo and, at the Green Tent, we're celebrating the garden hosts and volunteers for the 5th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase. Without them, there would be no Green Garden Showcase.

Stop by and chat with some of garden hosts, docents and other volunteers. Get the scoop on some exciting innovations we're planning for next year's Showcase. Offer your suggestions. Find out about being a Garden Host and/or Garden Scout. Pick up a 2013 tour map and get some help on planning your own tour of front yards. 

Bill Rosendahl with our Showcase Central Garden Host
and some volunteers
The 6th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase will be April  26, 2014. Our goal is to have six sustainable gardens in a row. You have a whole year to get your garden ready! We have information to help you. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Master Gardeners, April 28

Heirloom Tomatoes, and lots more!

Please bring your empty six-packs

To keep bringing you those lovely little seedlings that they give away each month, the Master Gardeners plant new seasonal seeds each month. And they plant them in those little "six-packs" that you pick up at the nursery (not the liquor store!). Recycle by bringing them to the Master Gardeners and they'll put them to great re-use! If you've just done a bunch of spring planting, please bring your six packs - all year long - to them at the Green Tent (the fourth Sunday of each month). NOTE: Egg cartons are requested by Matthew Van Diepen - the seedling man at the Farmers' Market - not the Master Gardeners, though they do make great starter cups for seeds.

Meantime, at the Green Tent, they'll happily help you with any gardening questions. Plus: SPECIAL TREAT this month, thanks to their friends at TOMATOMANIA! They have about 30 heirloom and hybrid varieties of gorgeous, delicious tomatoes to give away.

As usual, they'll have free packets of seeds and many spring seedlings...including the last of the Red Russian Kale, some new lettuces, whatever tomatoes they've been able to coax out of the ground, lots of wasabi arugula, some beans if we're lucky, and possibly some scallions. There may be some other surprises (loofa, they hope!), depending on how well their little seeds have performed.

Here's a note from Yvonne Savio, the LA County Master Gardener director:

"For a handy monthly guide to gardening in LA County, you can access my extended monthly information on our University of California Cooperative Extension Los Angeles County Common Ground Garden Program website, http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/Common_Ground_Garden_Program under Monthly Garden Tips!"

You'll also find her comprehensive Spring/Summer Gardening Basics, Fall/Winter Gardening Basics and checklists, by month, of what to do in your garden. It's a terrific resource.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Farmhouse Kitchen, April 21

Lemonade and More

CicLAvia is coming to the Mar VIsta Farmers' Market. this Sunday. Farmhouse Kitchen is taking over the Green Tent space, selling refreshing drinks to thirsty CicLAvians - organic lemonade made with Harry's Honey and iced teas. They may also have Kippy's Organic sorbets.

CicLAvia – To the Sea will transform Venice Boulevard and downtown Los Angeles streets into a car-free, linear park for strolling, biking, playing, and exploring the city from a new perspective. Since it began in 2010, CicLAvia has quickly become Los Angeles County’s most popular public event, consistently attracting more than 100,000 participants. CicLAvia is free of charge and open to everyone, from lifelong Angelenos to first-time visitors from around the globe. Leave the motorized transportation methods behind and claim the streets as your own.

CicLAvia – To the Sea is CicLAvia’s longest route to date, spanning more than 15 miles and connecting the city’s historic center at El Pueblo de Los Angeles and the bustling boardwalk of Venice Beach. It offers a rich tour of the city’s history, vibrant neighborhoods, and majestic views of the Pacific Ocean. Our Mar VIsta Farmers' Market is one of several hubs along the route.

The Green Tent will be back Sunday, April 28 with the UCCE Master Gardeners. Please bring them your empty 6-pack plant containers.

Remember...Saturday, April 20 is the 5th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase.

Friday, April 12, 2013

LA Native, April 14

LA Native RIdes the MTA

LA Native is a coalition of local and national organizations committed to convincing the MTA and Expo Authority to use California native plants for landscaping light rail stations, starting with phase two of the Expo Line.

The stations for Expo Line Phase 2 present a perfect opportunity to create multiple
pockets of native landscaping that will 

  • reduce water and fertilizer use
  • create vital islands of native habitat for birds, butterflies, and other species
  • serve as public educational showcases of our native plant varieties, encouraging our citizenry to make better, sustainable choices for landscaping
Stop by and learn how they're doing and why planting CA natives is so important.

The Theodore Payne Foundation (an LA Native member), provides some startling facts: 

  1. California uses 20% of its energy consumption to move and treat water. 
  2. Up to 70% of residential water goes to watering landscaping in our county—landscaping we've filled with non-native tropicals and invasive species that consume on average seven times more water than our native plants. 
  3. Unlike the indigenous plants that evolved in our nitrogen poor soil, non-natives need fertilizers. The abundant use of such fertilizers has become a huge source of runoff pollution in Santa Monica Bay. 
  4. Landscaping with native plants does not cost more, and in some cases reduces maintenance costs. 
  5. We've lost 90% of our native songbird and butterfly populations in the last fifty years. This is no coincidence. A primary food source for baby birds is butterfly caterpillars. Nearly all the native butterfly populations can only eat the native plants. By filling the Los Angeles area with non-native ornamentals, we've created a cascade effect of damage.
One more startling fact: California native gardens are beautiful. You'll see many examples at the 5th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on April 20. Preview some of them at the Green Tent.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rain Water Capture, April 7

Capturing rainwater...how and why

Rainwater flows off our roofs and across the hard surfaces, picking up oil, pesticides, animal waste and trash. It then rushes off the streets into storm drains and concrete channelized rivers that lead to the ocean. As a result, our precious rainfall–a natural resource that could be used to supplement local water supplies–is mostly squandered, while our rivers, streams, bays and ocean get polluted.

This week at the Green Tent we'll be talking about rain water capture and, of course the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase. What is a rain garden - is it the same as a bioswale? What are some simple things you can do to keep irrigation and rain water out of our sewers? Stop by the Green Tent and find out.