ALCMC – Cleanup for Dinner

Hello Garden Friends,

This week at ALCMC I had lots of extra students that Mr. Herrmann sent my way. At the end of the year it seems that everyone needs to hurry up and complete their hours.

Anyhow, I introduced the 15-20 new students to my class by doing a chat about systems and the human role in organic gardening. Our job, I argued is to world with the natural world to create a landscape that provides our basic needs – Food, air, water, and shelter. Isn’t it beautiful that a fruit tree can provide all of these things? Anyhow, we talked about how organic means no pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. Instead, we achieve our goals by utilizing predatory insects, planting seedlings, and making compost. By creating a system that models nature, we encourage the growth of relationships between plants and animals that has natural checks and balances. Too many aphids – ladybugs intervene.. Low nitrogen values in the soil – Legumes and cover crops take over for a season or two. Smart planning saves a lot of work down the road.

Speaking of work! Let’s hit up the garden!

Clean, clean, clean.. harvest, harvest, harvest. After pulling out weeds and decomposing cardboard, we harvested beets, leeks, broccoli, and chard. Then we sautéed the chard with some cut up leeks to make a tasty green stir fry. Allowing the students to try their hand at cooking is one of my most cherished activities. After snacking on hot cheetos all day, I’m sure their bodies enjoy the much needed vitamins too 😉

Until next week!

-Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes is a garden designer and environmental educator working out of Woodland Hills, CA. A Los Angeles County Master Gardener and UC Davis Alumni, Jeff earned his B.S. in Environmental Resource Science in 2012 and has been growing edibles and natives for the past 6 years.

Jeff’s passion for plants and garden education has led him to school gardens from Los Angeles to Sacramento and all the way up to Portland, Oregon. Now familiar with ecosystems across the West Coast, Jeff has settled back home and works to bring people together over food and inspire the next generation of earth stewards to leave it better than they found it. When not writing about himself in the third person, Jeff enjoys singing with his guitar, going on camping and hiking excursions, and tossing a frisbee around with his friends.