How To Use This Blog

We have set up this blog as a way to share with the community what we are up to and so members can see what needs to be done in the garden week to week.

How to use this blog:
We will post the to-do's and you simply write in the comments what you will be taking care of so we know it's getting done.
  • After you have entered your comment, simply hit the arrow next to profile, select anonymous and make sure you write your name in the comments section so we know who you are!
  • To make sure you don't miss an update, please enter your email address in the "Get Alerts for New Posts" form on the right column of this blog.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cucumbers are Here!

Today I noticed one very large cucumber in one of our beds. I realized that there must be many many cucumbers ready to be picked, and sure enough.....
The corn and lima beans are coming along as well. It has made a huge difference to cover the beds and protect the veggies from the critters:

Today I planted the rest of the squares in our demonstration Square Foot Garden, in preparation for the workshop taking place on August 23d, 9:00 a.m. It's free, just sign up on the Recreation and Park's site. I will provide a link and a phone number soon. I also met with George, the master gardener who will be teaching victory gardening in our space starting September 14th. See you in the garden! Barb Linder

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This Week in the Garden

On this past Saturday, I was pleased to welcome a group from the Neighborhood Youth Association to the demonstration garden. We had a discussion about compost and built a small square foot garden. Tanya Jones is the program director and she wrote me the following lovely note and sent some great photos of their day in the garden:

"Thank you so much for helping organize and provide such a rich learning opportunity for our some of our C.A.R.E. kids as well as us adults this past weekend at the Greystone Demonstration Garden! We LOVED the experience! 

We are also very interested in learning more about the garden and plan to visit it throughout the year as well as take the learning outcomes from these experiences and enact them in our own gardens on our campuses."

Karah Gebhardt, Girl Scout gold medal candidate was also on hand Saturday, working hard to commence her big compost project:  she will be organizing a 3 stage compost system, with permanent signage to explain the process to visitors.

Today, Nancy Hunt-Coffey and associates (Juliette and Sean) were in the garden doing a business start-up: we are going to harvest and dry herbs to sell as a fund raiser for our brand new 4-H club: 
This coming Wednesday I will be in the garden working on the Square Foot Garden: I want to plant some vegetables to show people at our free workshop, coming up on Saturday, August 23d, 9 a.m. Learn how to grow vegetables in very limited spaces, save time, money, water and eat healthy all at the same time. 

Something to look forward to: Master Gardener George Pessin will be teaching Victory Gardening in our space starting Sunday, September 14th:
Grow LA Victory Garden Classes
The University of California Cooperative Extension is organizing workshops in various communities throughout Los Angeles County to teach residents how to grow their own vegetables.
Greystone Mansion & Park is proud to announce that we will be one of the hosting sites for the upcoming fall classes.
We will be hosting 4 Sunday classes (12 noon – 3 PM) beginning 9/14/14. Those who take all 4 classes will be given a certificate of completion.

Greystone Mansion & Park
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
List of topics includes:
Week 1 (Sunday Sept 14): planning, tools, seed starting, building raised beds, choosing containers, plant selection (what to grow and when to grow it)
Week 2 (Sunday, Sept 21): transplanting, soil structure, soil preparation, organic fertilizers, irrigation, mulching
Week 3 (Sunday Sept 28): composting, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), beneficial insects, organic pesticides
Week 4 (Sunday Oct 5): pollination, seed saving, fruit trees, harvesting, review, and graduation
The cost of these workshops is $15 for each class or $55.00 for all four.

Please make checks payable to: 
University of California Regents and mail to:
George Pessin
834 Huntley Dr #4
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Space is limited, Please RSVP with payment at your earliest convenience. You will be confirmed registration once payment is received.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Week in the Garden

O.K. the tomatoes are getting ridiculous. This is one day's harvest, in just one raised bed...
Kirsten and Jake with a few tomatoes.
Please join us this coming Wednesday the 23d around 10 a.m. as we continue covering the beds with wire fencing. The end of this project is finally within reach. I have cut wire for the rest of the beds, all we need to do is put on the tops. 

On Saturday the 26th, Karah will be in the garden starting up her Gold Medal girl scout project: calling all youngsters interested in learning how to establish a home composting system. At 2:00 I will be building a sample Square Foot Garden with some volunteers from All Saints Beverly Hills, and Nancy-Hunt Coffey will be doing an artful pot and seed project with the younger kids. Lots going on, please bring a compostable item from home, and join us in the garden! 

To enter our parking area, please look for the open gate on Doheny Road, just west of Loma Vista. Enter the gate, and turn left immediately:  you will see the greenhouse on the left. With love, Barb Linder

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Here's my Square Foot Garden

Hi All, I thought I would post a photo of my personal Square Foot Garden. It's not a great time to plant things as it's so hot, but I couldn't resist. I have to admit that I have a drip system, so I'm not worried about water.
In just 4 square feet I have planted: tomatoes, basil, marigolds, bush beans, carrots, beets, jalapeño pepper and scallions. I left a few square empty for kale and lettuce in the fall. On the outside borders I am planting herbs: thus far sage, parsley, tarragon and French sorrel. We will be holding a free Square Foot Garden workshop at Greystone in the middle of August. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tea and Tomatoes in the Garden

Last week we hung bunches of mint and lavender in the corn house to dry. Today I took them home, smashed them up in a bag, added some dried lemon peel, and it's the best tea! I would have taken a picture of my first cup but it's gone. The brand new Beverly Hills 4-H club plans to sell this tea as a fund raiser in the fall. Keep your eyes open!

Today I harvested pounds and pounds of really beautiful tomatoes: headed to the Monday Meal Program at All Saints.
Jake and Kirsten Iversen were on hand; they completed a wire cover for the demonstration square foot garden, and they planted non-gmo beet, savory, basil, mustard and chard seeds. We watered the seeds in, and covered them with light weight crop cover to conserve the surface moisture. This helps the seeds to germinate in hot weather.
 Kirsten, Jake and Ana Paludi, Master Gardener!

I was so pleased to meet Ana. She has been a Master Gardener for 15 years and has a wealth of information to share about all sorts of gardening issues. She is helping us with the squash crops which have come down with the usual leaf fungus, although you can see below that we have a beautiful pumpkin coming right along. Next Wednesday she will arrive with some organic first aid for the fungus condition. The lima beans and corn are growing very quickly. Please join us next Wednesday, around 10 a.m. We are teaching the Square Foot Garden method aimed at people with very limited growing spaces. Barb Linder

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July to all my gardeners

This past Wednesday there was a lot of activity in the garden. Skip Z., Lisa D. and I pruned all of the boysenberry vines to about 3 feet tall. Berry vines must be carefully controlled in a garden setting, otherwise they will rampantly cover every available surface. Also, when you prune the canes, this encourages the growth of the lateral fruiting shoots for the next year. Late this coming winter, we will cut back the fruiting shoots to about 1 foot, this maximizes fruit size and production.

We also harvested bags of turnip greens and garlic, which I plan to sauté and serve at the Monday Meal at All Saints. We picked and hung bunches of mint and lavender, which we're going to make into herbal tea. The tomatoes, corn and lima beans are going very well, see photos below.

I would like to welcome the Iversens to our garden: they are going to come up on Wednesdays to learn and help.  Plans for this coming Wednesday: I'm bringing my drill to attach a fastener to the corn house door; we need to complete the wire cover for the demonstration square foot garden bed (and maybe the Iversens will plant a few of their non-gmo seeds?) and I would like to start rooting the nice strawberry runners we are producing. Please join us, from 9:30 until around noon.

Monday, June 23, 2014


This weekend Eagle Candidate Sam Holland and Troop 110 completed the corn house project. We now have a very creative, walk-in solution to our squirrel problem. My congratulations to Sam for a job well done. I know it was a challenging project. It will serve the community for years to come.

So, join me in the garden this coming Wednesday, around 9:45 a.m. I will be sowing corn and lima beans (succotash garden if you please). I know it's a little late in the season, but I want to use the corn house immediately. I will cover the bed with a summer weight fabric to keep moisture in until the seeds germinate.

The tomatoes are really coming along. We should be able to harvest them in a few weeks. At that time I plan to also harvest the basil: we will be able to donate a great summer salad to our local lunch program at All Saints B.H. The tomatoes were a donation from Armstrong Garden Centers, and I would like to thank them again for their incredible generosity to our garden, and also Whole Foods B.H. for their ongoing commitment.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Square Foot Gardening Now Lives Here!

Today Jean Rosenblatt and I installed our first "Square Foot Garden" up at Greystone. SFG is a proven technique with which anyone (and I mean anyone, of any age or experience) can grow their own produce anywhere, for 50% of the cost, 20% of the space, 10% of the water, and 5% of the seeds used in traditional gardening methods. I am becoming a certified teacher of this method, and I will be teaching it up in the park starting July 26th (my first unsuspecting students will be from All Saints B.H. hehehe).

Following is a photo essay demonstrating how Jean and I built our 4 foot by 4 foot plot.
First you dig out your old soil, making a space 4'x4', 6" deep
 Then you make "Mel's Mix" (compost, vermiculite and peat moss)
 Always take time to greet and honor your wormie friends
Line the bottom of your 4'x4' by 6"deep bed with weed guard fabric
 Mix together 8 cu. feet of Mel's mix
 Moisten the mix as you fill your box
 Jean is very artistic
Lay out your grid on top of the box and you are ready to plant.
More on Square Foot Gardening as the summer progresses. Please join me up at the park any Wednesday morning around 10. Lots to be done, lots to learn and enjoy. Happy Father's Day to you all. With love, Garden Girl Lives Here.

Friday, June 6, 2014

I don't want to brag but....

I do want to show people some of the take-homes I have gained from learning about gardening and horticulture. The following photos are of produce I picked at my house this morning, also one of my box turtle babies and my at-home worm composting farm. You all can do this at home, believe me.

Meanwhile, our garden up at Greystone is proceeding apace. Sam Holland and Troop 110 are working on our "corn house", picture below, I'm sure it will be completed soon. On Saturday, July 26th, I will be building our first "square foot garden" with the gardening group from All Saints Beverly Hills.  Come fall, I may be teaching this invaluable gardening method through Recreation and Parks: look for me in their catalog. I am in the garden Wednesday mornings from 10. Or, feel free to contact me at <> should you desire to come up and work/visit at another time. Garden on! Barbara Linder

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I have to admit

I do enjoy visiting the worms. Did you know that we now have a thriving worm composting unit up at the garden? Thanks to Nancy Hunt-Coffey and the Sunday School program at All Saints B.H., we have some healthy worms in residence. Below I am posting a little tutorial on worms. Not starting from the beginning: if there is interest I can teach worms in the fall. Let me know.

I really am starting to have hopes for the garden after two years of a lot of struggling with the pest problems. It has been about a month now, maybe a little less and knock on wood, both of the trial bed covers are working. We have a nice group of tomatoes, also lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, beets and a few herbs coming along nicely. Don't forget to come up the next 2 Saturdays, 8 a.m. and following to help Troop 110 install 5 more covers in 2 designs.

Also, the garden is starting to feel like home. The city donated a nice umbrella, I brought up a couple of my old garden chairs, and today I bought an outdoor carpet and a couple of pillows. It makes such a huge difference to be able to sit down in the shade and rest while you're working up there. If anyone has some outdoor furniture they could donate please let me know. We need it.

The help that Armstrong Garden Center and Whole Foods Market has given me has been so motivational. It makes all the difference in the world to have a fence with a gate: we are able to leave things in the area with security.  We may be able to start teaching some classes in the fall through Parks and Recreation, with professional teachers. Stay tuned!



Sunday, May 11, 2014

May in the Demonstration Garden

This week we are gearing up for two great Eagle Scout projects to be completed by Max and Sam Holland on Saturday, May 17th, and Saturday, May 24th. Please plan to come on up and help Troop 110 build 3 pvc raised bed covers and one beautiful "corn house" (my own invention) over 2 other raised beds. I will be on hand and needing assistance in planting seeds in these 5 beds.  Here is my plan: we will have a soup bed, with all of the vegetables that you would need to make a vegan stock (such as rutabaga, turnip, beets, parsley, leeks, garlic). We will have a melon bed, and then I had an idea to grow the vegetables that would go into succotash, so a bed of bush lima beans, a bed of corn and a bed of spice plants such as jalapeño peppers, sage, onions. On the north side of the corn I will plant lettuces and kales, as the corn will shade them from the hot weather. I also have some pumpkin plants to stick in somewhere, and in all of these beds I will observe the Plant Companion Proprieties (look up companion planting on line).

Also, Nancy Hunt-Coffey and her group of young gardeners from All Saints have brought up a worm farm this weekend. I need someone to help me feed the worms by saving their kitchen leavings, such as old fruit, coffee grounds, old undressed salads, skins of fruits/vegetables. Please send me an email if you can help with this and we will make an arrangement.  No citrus or animal products please. <>

There is much to do in the garden this summer. I look forward to it, and to having old and new friends join me. I will have photos of the bed covers next time. Garden on!  GGLH

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's Too Hot....

But I've been working in the garden anyway. I decided to try to build a bed cover for the tomato plants, as we are starting to get tomatoes forming and I just know the ground squirrels are watching them. I have gotten a good start on a 3 foot tall cover for the back bed, not quite finished gluing things yet but it is (hopefully) functional and protecting the plants. Skip and Craig's 2 foot tall cover seems to be working for us, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

On May 17th, Max Holland will be building 3 more 2 foot tall covers for his Eagle Project, and the the following week, his brother Sam will undertake something I'm calling "The Corn House", which will be a very attractive wood and wire greenhouse sort of structure which will attach to one set of beds, it will have a door, and it will be tall enough to grow the shorter varieties of corn.

On the remaining beds, I am open to suggestion. Because this is a demonstration garden, I want there to be different sorts of covers, so people can see the possibilities for gardening under extremely challenging conditions, animal-wise. I am considering a cold frame design made out of wood that will have 2 hinged doors for access.....

Also, it is absolutely brutally sunny up there, so high on my list is some garden furniture and some sort of sun protection. I won't be around next week, so stay tuned. Lisa Davis will go up on Wednesday next to water the newer growth and weed. Please join her, around 10 a.m. Also, if anyone has contacts with our local public/private schools, we could really use some service learners who need community service credit, please have them contact me, Barbara Linder, at <> and garden on!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I've been quiet, but that's because I've been thinking....

We had a truly exciting and fabulous "ribbon cutting" in the garden on April 13th, with Mayor Bosse, Vice-Mayor Gold and Council Member Brien attending, I have attached photos below of the day. My niece Charlotte sold much of my candy and preserves, Armstrong Garden Center was there in force, conducting a plant class and a sale, and Whole Foods Market was very much on hand with lots of free food and samples. Thank you all for your unbelievable support.

And now on to the season. Unfortunately the squirrels are not honoring our gorgeous new fence, so I have been researching solutions. Starting May 10th, Troop 110 will be in the garden constructing covers for the beds. I have also started planting garlic cloves all along the borders of the beds. I am very determined to beat these adversaries.... I have purchased some mint plants which I'm going to plant right near our little fruit trees and vines. Squirrels hate garlic and mint.

This coming Saturday, April 26th, I will be in the garden by 10 a.m. Skip Zelenka and Craig Davis are building a prototype bed cover so that the scouts will have something to work off of. Lisa Davis and I will continue with the garlic and mint project, with the help of at least one service-learner. Please join us. Eagle candidates Max and Sam will be up figuring out their projects.
All photos by Jeannie Cohen
Debbie Frank, Julian Gold, Mayor Lili, me, and Ilona and Adam Sherman
 Soozie E., favorite documentarian
 Organic Fruit, anyone?
 Ellen and Albierto (Whole Foods), Lili and Julian
 Lili, me and Julian
Howard, Zach and Stanley: Troop 110

Friday, April 4, 2014

We Have August Company!

Ha! I just heard on the radio that Michelle Obama has installed a pollinator's garden at the White House. We have had our pollination garden for two years now, it was installed by Luke Zebrowski and Troop 33. Recently our pollination area received some loving attention from several volunteers, and we are planning a trip next week to the California Native Nursery in the L.A. Veteran's Center Complex. How's that for being on the cutting edge.

Here is a link to a very interesting overview of bees. There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world; they date from Cretaceous times, and only half of them (females) are even capable of stinging. Check out the link:

Please remember to Shop at the B.H. Whole Foods on Saturday, April 5th. 5% of their net profits for the day will benefit our little garden! Thank you Whole Foods. Also, don't forget to attend the ribbon cutting event on Sunday, April 13th, 2:00 p.m. The Mayor will be cutting the ribbon, lots of treats from Whole Foods, and guess what: my niece Charlotte will be selling my own kumquat marmalade and candy, 100% of the proceeds to be donated to the garden.

See you soon! Garden Girl Lives Here....
Our Pollination Garden

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are They Friends of Yours?

You know that as a gardener you are doing something right if you are greeted by a few of your friends while in the garden:
Above: baby praying mantis
Below: monarch butterfly caterpillar

Praying mantids are extremely carnivorous: they will eat almost anything insect-wise, good or bad. I recommend them highly if you don't spray with pesticides in your garden  and you have a bug problem. You can purchase egg cases to hatch in your garden at this time of  the year.  This is the season for monarch butterflies to move through our area. If you would like to assist these beautiful creatures during their 5 generation migration from Canada to Mexico, plant milkweeds in your garden: this is the only plant that the caterpillars feed on. If you would like some seeds, please come see me in the garden at Greystone next Wednesday, 10 a.m. Below: we have covered our baby plants with a "low hoop cover" system.  
We are all planting out our little baby veggies at this time of the year. If you have noticed (as I have in my home garden) that your young "starts" disappear over night due to snail/slug predation, try covering them with a homemade "cloche" made out of a recycled take out container:  
See you in the Garden! I am planning on being there next Wednesday, 10 a.m. Barb 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Troop 110 had a big day in the garden

On Saturday March 22d, Stanley Wu, with the assistance of his Boy Scout Troop 110 Beverly Hills, installed fruit trees and "intelligent" pest repelling shrubs around our brand new beautiful fence. The troop also helped me to complete the raised beds by hooking up some of the irrigation and topping off the beds with soil.

I continued working on my latest theory for keeping grasshoppers and birds away from the young vegetables: it's called a "low hoop house" and involves hanging pvc hoops over pieces of rebar, and then draping the pvc with lightweight crop cover fabric. This will remain in place (I hope there are no awful wind storms) until the vegetables have bloomed, then you need to roll back the fabric so that the flowers can be pollinated.

While the scouts worked on the fruit trees and shrubs, my group of faithful volunteers planted 6 beds with tomatoes, basil, marigolds, summer squash, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, radishes and beets. Thank you Steve, Jean, Skip, Christie, Lisa and Judy. The High School ecology club, including my niece Charlotte, planted 2 beds with a traditional American Indian combination: corn, beans and pumpkins. The corn stalks support the bean vines, the roots of the beans supply an extra source of nitrogen to the corn via their mycorrhizal exchange system, and the spiny leaves of a pumpkin vine discourage predators from raiding the corn!

Jessica from Armstrong Garden Centers was on hand to show the scouts how to properly plant the trees, which were a gift to us from Armstrong!  I will be in the garden on Wednesday morning around 10:00. Come up, you can help water the new plants.