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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have you seen This Butterfly (and a contest)

I saw this butterfly in my back yard a couple of days ago.

It is called a Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hacabe) and is native in South America, Australia and Asia. My theory is that it arrived in So.Cal. as an egg on some imported produce and I'm worried because it's winter here. If you see one of these, take a picture and I'll post it here.

Announcing our first ever contest: If you are currently growing ten different edibles in your home garden, send me a list and a photo. All winners are invited to a tea party in the Greystone Demonstration Garden, with cookies baked by me. Signed, Barb Linder (aka Garden Girl Lives Here)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rain out for today, December 29th

Well, considering that it is currently thundering and lightening out there, let's try again on Wednesday Jan.2, in the new year!! Hint for all you patio gardeners: push your pots out where they will get some rain. This is good for cleansing the soil in the pots. Also, I hope everyone has turned off their sprinkler systems for the week!

Happy new year to all my helpers. Barb Linder

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Saturday in the Garden: December 29th

Due to being rained out yesterday morning, I will be in the garden on Saturday around 10:30 a.m. picking kale and radishes and feeding the worm farm. Please join me with your compost. The rain should have brought our veggies along at a rapid clip. Barb L.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This week in the Greystone Demonstration Garden

As you can see, our winter radishes and greens are doing really well. Thanks to Jeannie Cohen for the great photos. The food program that our produce has been going to will be closed for the next couple of weeks. So, if you go up to the garden, please take home some kale leaves, radishes and herbs for your own holiday meals!

Tasks that can be performed: Check the beds for weeds. Please feed the worms: bring up some kitchen clippings such as apple skins, coffee grounds, wilted leaves. The worm bin is blue and is next to our shed; please close the bin after feeding the worms. Open the shed (combo is 0070), get out the mister and give the worms a little water. Also, very important, bring up a container of CAYENNE PEPPER and sprinkle it around the 2 new beds: I think a squirrel is digging some holes.

Thanks, and I look forward to working with all of you in 2013!! I will be in the garden on Wednesday, December 26th, around 10:30.  Barbara Linder

Saturday, December 15, 2012

radishes in the garden

Join me Wednesday to plant some vegetable seeds:  10:30 a.m.

Today we harvested radishes, kale, lettuce and a variety of herbs including marjoram, thyme, sage and parsley. The goodies will go to the Monday program at All Saints Beverly Hills. High school volunteer Charlotte Frank dealt with the radishes, Helen and I moved our shed, and fed the worm farm and Skip harvested lettuce.

I wanted everyone to see my "Beneficials Hotel", established today in my home garden. I am hoping to welcome butterflies, solitary bees, predacious wasps, lacewings and ladybugs:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saturday December 15th in the Greystone Garden

Please join in on Saturday, 10 a.m. ! We will be monitoring our "pets" the monarch butterfly larvae and the compost worms. We will also move our storage shed to its new location, inaugurate our new composter and harvest some kale, lettuce and radishes. To access the demonstration garden, enter the open gate on Doheny Road, go left and park near the greenhouse. Come learn to garden! Questions? Contact Barbara  <>

Friday, December 7, 2012

This Week in the Garden

This past Wednesday, Don Smith came to inspect our worm farm, which he says is doing well. We took a good look at the butterfly garden, and got a great photo of one of our solitary bee visitors having a snack. Lisa Davis planted some California Native plant seeds for spring.

For anyone visiting the demonstration garden this coming Saturday, the worm farm is in a blue bin in the north-western corner of the area: take a look inside to make sure that the medium looks moist. Bring up a bottle of water with you, and if it looks or feels dry, just sprinkle in a bit of water, not a lot.

There are some radishes and kale leaves that can be picked: you can keep them, or bring them by my house (Barb Linder) and I will take them to the food program at All Saints on Monday morning. Be aware that I have monitors in the beds that make a high pitched sound to scare the critters away.

Lisa Davis will be bringing up her old compost system for us, and next Saturday, December 15th, I will be relocating our storage shed. I am starting to look into grant opportunities for reviving the greenhouse: if anyone has any leads, please let me know!
Thanks, Barbara Linder

Monday, December 3, 2012

"How to Keep a Worm Farm" and other questions you were afraid to ask.

On Saturday, December 1st those of us who braved the uncertain but totally glorious weather were treated to a hands on lecture by Don Smith concerning how to keep worms as pets (not kidding).  He brought us his tools of the trade, and they were so interesting. Everyone took notes, and had many questions, and thanks to Jeannie Cohen, we have a pictorial essay. Worm farming is so clean that you can keep your container of working worms in your apartment, and the product, worm casings, is the most fantastic fertilizer on the planet.

Don Smith

This is called a "worm inn"

Our pet worms.

We now have a small colony established in a very attractive Rubbermaid container; we will feed them and in six months we can start to harvest our casings. If you have questions about worms or compost, Don says to email him at <>  If you want to come up to our garden and see our set up, let me know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Look at our Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars!

This morning a group of vols. were up in the garden weeding and watering. Much to our delight, we discovered a host of gorgeously healthy looking monarch pillars munching on the milkweed we planted in the butterfly garden. Did you know that mother monarchs taste a leaf with their feet before deciding to lay her eggs on it? Did you know that it takes five generations of monarchs to make the migratory journey from Mexico to Canada? We are so proud to be hosting this truly amazing creature in our demonstration garden.

Remember to join us this Saturday, December 1st, 10 a.m. to learn how to keep a worm farm.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wednesday, November 28th in the Garden

Join me tomorrow morning around 10:30 a.m. Steve Hough has cleared an area next to the ranger's offices for a little fruit orchard, and he would like to have input from our group. So far the suggestions are tangelo minneolas, satsuma tangerines, meyer lemons, oranges, avocados, pomegranates, fuyu persimmons. Please join me to take a look at the area.

I will also be bringing up a worm nursery container for Saturday's big worm farm event and checking out our fall crops to see if any maintenance is needed. Barb Linder

Friday, November 23, 2012

Boy Scout Troop 100 in the Garden, November 18

Today, we were joined by Troop 100 and their parents. The boys raked over the soil in our two new raised beds, dug holes and watered in a couple of hundred worms, made beautiful straight furrows and planted a variety of lettuce and broccoli seeds in the demonstration garden.

We tended to the compost pile, and I was very impressed by their knowledge concerning why we should compost and why worms are good for the soil. Troop 100 were very good workers and they did a fantastic job.

They are going to return to the garden in a couple of months to make a salad and eat it in the garden!!

It's All About the Worms.....

Please join us on Saturday, December 1st, 10:00 a.m. in the demonstration garden to meet soil expert DON SMITH. He will be teaching us how to build and maintain a "worm farm" and will be able to answer any questions you might have about compost and soil. If you have a compost system set up in your garden, please dig up some red compost worms and bring them up to help us start our farm.

Note: Tomorrow, Saturday November 24th, the rangers won't be opening our Doheny Road gate until 10 a.m.  Following is a brief bio of Don Smith:

Don Smith wears many hats. During the day he can be an independent software consultant, teaching cutting edge Enterprise Resource Planning software to midsize project-centric professional service firms, like Architects and Engineers. Or he might be designing a school garden in Sketchup, or building a greenhouse, or making compost piles. He has received a Permaculture Design Certificate from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Northern California. He is a Soil Food Web Advisor, which is a biological approach to creating healthy soil based on Dr. Elaine Ingham’s life-long research. And he is also a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener. He is a member of LA Green Grounds, the Los Angles Mycological Society, the Microscopical Society of Southern California, and Toastmasters. He gives lectures and consults on a variety of topics from aquaponics to vermicomposting. If you are curious about compost, freaked out by fungi, or wondering about worms, he can help. He is a true systems thinker and is passionate about promoting eco-literacy. On top of all that, he has been known to climb rocks, walk on slacklines, ride a mountain unicycle, and juggle, although not all at the same time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunday, November 18th in the garden, and other fun stuff

Come to the demonstration garden this coming Sunday November 18th, 2-4, and help Cub Scout Troop 100 plant our two new beds!! Special Sunday event!

Notice: The garden will not be open today, Wednesday November 14th, due to a police dog training day set for today in the park.

Last night Soozie Eastman, Helen MacDonald, Jeannie Cohen and myself went to the Beverly Hills City Council to thank them for allowing us to establish our garden and to ask the City to start thinking about bringing that whole area back to life so the community can enjoy and use it. We presented the Mayor with a basket of our Zebra tomatoes, and he stated that he was not going to share them with his fellow council members.....

This past Saturday, Girl Scout Troop 10885 was in the garden moving soil into our two new beds and neatening up the butterfly garden for the winter season.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Troop 33 in the Garden

On Saturday November 3d, Eagle Scout candidate Chanan Batra, his family and friends, and Troop 33 installed our 5th and 6th raised beds, with assistance from local luminaries such as Charlotte Frank (B.H.H.S. Earthlings Club) and her mom Deborah, Martha Galvan, her scout daughter and hubby, intrepid nature photographer Jeannie Cohen (see grub shot below), fellow UCLA horticulture student Helen MacDonald, Chief Leveler Skip Zelenka, new volunteer Gerry Nettleton, the ever-faithful Dick Motika, and others.

Special thanks go to Whole Foods and Ellen Prager, both for the free food and the gardening assistance, and also to Steve Hough, city grounds supervisor extrordinaire. Thanks also to James Greenway, friend of the Batra family, for all the construction know how. Thanks to Shirley Smith for her help on Saturday, and also for arranging for a great donation of compost from Santa Monica Community College (by the way, their compost is donated by Whole Foods!)

If anyone would like to join me, I am planning on presenting the Mayor with a basket of our Zebra Tomatoes this coming Tuesday evening (November 14th) at 7:00, city council chambers. I'm going to briefly explain what we've been doing up at Greystone, and I'm going to ask the City to think about bringing that area back to life.

Also, mark your calendars for December 1, 10:00 a.m. Mr. Don Smith, soil specialist and teacher at SMCC, is going come up and show us how to start and maintain a worm farm!!

 The above grub is the larva of the fig beetle. He is a great compost helper!

We Need Some Soil!!!

This past Saturday, Eagle Scout Chanan Batra and a great crew of volunteers (more on that later today) installed Raised Beds Numbers 5 and 6 up at Greystone Community Demonstration Garden. I've got some great photos which I will post in a bit.

We need all of you reading this post to bring up all your bags of garden soil that may be laying about in your garage, as one of the beds needs to be filled before we can plant it. If you don't have an extra bag lying about, please go to any garden or hardware outlet, or even your local supermarket and purchase a bag or two (2 cubic feet please) of any sort of garden soil.

Bring up your soil on Saturday, November 10th, Wednesday the 14th or Saturday the 17th. On Sunday, November 18th, we have a cub scout troop coming up to seed the 2 new beds, so I really need the dirt!  On Saturday the 10th, Girl Scout Troop 10885 will be in the garden and they will help you with your dirt.

Look tomorrow for my post about our bed building day! Love, Barb Linder

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Whole Foods Will Be There!

Announcement! Whole Foods will again be providing sustenance as we labor on our raised bed project. The fabulous Ellen Prager and her team will be on hand, so bring your shovel and join us on Saturday, 8 till noon.  Please also bring ideas for Steve Hough and his planned fruit orchard. I would appreciate some researched ideas on what kinds of fruit trees do well in our climate zone.

Remember to bring your coffee grounds and egg shells for our compost pile. Also, if you have any spare bags of compost or dirt at home, please bring them for the raised beds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Saturday is Bed Building Day

Please join Chanan Batra and Boy Scout Troop 33 this Saturday, November 3d, 8 a.m. until we're done. We will be installing our new set of raised beds.

Very exciting news!! The City of Beverly Hills is going to install a small fruit orchard a little ways up the hill towards the mansion, and they are asking for our input as to what trees to choose. So, come on Saturday prepared to discuss your choices. Steve Hough will be on hand to "take notes" for the City. We will help to maintain the orchard: it will be a great learning experience.

NOTICE: Do not come to the garden on Wednesday, November 7th:  the police canine unit will be holding a training session all over the park. We need to stay out of the way.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Please come to the garden on Saturday, October 27th!

Please come help us on Saturday October 27th between 8 and noon:  As you can see, we have some tomato hornworm visitors in beds 1 and 2: please bring some zip lock bags, deposit any and all worms and dispose...I know it's yucky but it's the only organic method of controlling them.

There may be ripe tomatoes: feel them to see if they give a little. If ripe, please pick them. If the girl scouts are up, give them to the girl scouts. Otherwise, someone please take them to the kitchen at All Saints on Sunday morning, or drop them off at my house (Barb Linder 278-2987).

Please bring a cultivating tool, and do some weeding on our back hill: Steve Hough will continue to provide additional irrigation for us there, and I think we will plant pumpkin seeds there in the spring!!  Steve will be there Saturday morning setting up irrigation for our new raised beds.  If you would like to donate a tool, put it in our little shed: the combination for the lock is 0070. Feel free to use anything in there, return tools and lock the shed when you're all done.


Our fall crops are starting to come in: below are the pea vines.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Worms Are In!!!

Wednesday, October 17. 

Today, due to a generous donation by Whole Foods Beverly Hills and Organic Control, more than 1000 earthworms were given a home in our garden. Volunteers Jeannie Cohen (intrepid nature photographer), Ilona Sherman (Chair of the Human Relations Commission), Helen MacDonald (Future horticulturist and Information Sciences Major), Kevin Artofer (engineer), Jessica Emmerson, Cindy Brynan (both City staffers) and Barbara Linder (always hanging around) dug holes all around the garden, filled them with water and gently lowered in the new inhabitants.

They will now go to work aerating our soil and adding valuable nutrients Go worms! We put some in the compost heap to help that project along. We also were privileged to witness a frightening encounter between a huge orange garden spider who has a web in the vegetable patch and a bug (bug lost).

Next Wednesday, October 24th, Barbara will be in the garden at around 10:30 checking on tomato ripeness. Please join me! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yesterday in the Garden (Oct. 11)

Wednesday, October 10th

Today we planted pea seeds in the 4th bed: First we went to the City compost heap and rescued some very attractive pruned tree branches. We then made the artistic arrangement you see here. When the pea vines start to grow, they will be supported by the dead branches. After harvesting our peas, we will cut off the roots, leaving them in our bed to add nitrogen to the soil (legumes have a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria that "fixes" nitrogen for use by future roots), then we can add the spent pea vines and the branches to our beautiful compost bin. 

We also assembled a very compact storage unit next to the fourth bed, donated to the garden by BHHS student Charlotte Frank, on behalf of the high school ecology club. Charlotte also donated 3 shovels, which are in the storage unit for all of you to use, and the collards, kale and lettuce seeds that we planted today in the 3d bed. Now, if you would like to loan or donate tools to the garden, we have a secure, locked area for them!!! There is a combination lock on the unit, the code is 0070, please feel free to use the tools, but return them to the shed and lock it when you're done.

I would like to welcome Helen and Kevin to our garden: two wonderful new volunteers I have met through my horticulture classes at UCLA. We are cooking up some great hopes for the future of the garden area.

 I wanted everyone to see the beautiful bench we have at the garden, designed, executed and donated by Tanya Latta.

 People want to know what this interesting mesh bag is:  It contains hair (either human or dog works), a dryer sheet and a bar of very strong soap(Zest is good). The smells are supposed to keep  vermin away from the produce (squirrels, raccoons, deer).

This week in the garden (Wed. Oct. 17th)

This week in the garden (Wednesday, October 17th)

On Wednesday Oct. 17th, at around 10 a.m. we will be having the "great worm release".  Organic Control, by way of Whole Foods B.H., will be shipping us containers of our best friends: the earthworms. Anyone who is interested in watching or participating should come up!!  Oh come on, don't be afraid of the worms. They are very cute.

Monday, October 8, 2012

This past Saturday - The fun you missed!

This past Saturday, October 6th, Wendy, Shirley, Tom and Martha and her Girl Scouts met at the garden to do a little maintenance before the fall planting starts.

We turned the compost pile, added some of the beautiful compost to the beds, added shredded newspaper, turned the soil and lastly, and thanks to a donation by the Girl Scouts (their favorite part), we added baby earth worms to the beds. When we were turning the earth, we were excited to see a bunch of large worms already making our beds their home!

Learn more about the benefits of newspaper and worms in your garden.

 Shirley turning the shredded newspaper into the soil.

 Checking out the new wiggly additions.

 "Are you sure we have to do this?!"

And just like that, the little guys were settling into their new home.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Seed Note

If you are coming up any time during this next 7 days, please bring a packet of sugar snap peas, or any kind of leafy green such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach etc. We will plant the seeds next Wednesday Oct. 10th. Please put the packet in a closed zip lock bag and leave it on our tile bench. Thank you.

Saturday, October 6th and Wednesday, Oct. 10th

Please sign up in the comments if you would like to join Soozie Eastman and company on Saturday the 6th, around 10 a.m. They will be:

  • filling the butterfly bath and watering the butterfly garden (the roots are not yet fully established and it has been very hot)
  • checking irrigation levels in the 2 cleared beds (we were getting too much water and Steve Hough has turned down the volume) by digging down 6 inches: let me know if the soil is still soggy.
  • WORMS:  can someone bring up some earthworms, either from your own garden or you can buy a container at your local nursery, and please release them in all 4 beds. Also, we need 2 more bags of either cottonseed, bone or blood meal (all are available at Anawalt). Leave the bags in between the beds for now.
  • please bring up coffee grounds and egg shells to put in the compost heap.
  • we need some supports for peas: if you have any pruned tree branches, please bring them and leave them on the last bed. Tree branches are a great support system for peas.
  • Check the tomatoes; I suspect that they may not be quite ripe. Note that some are green zebras, press one gently to see if it gives. Soozie, let me know if you've harvested: we will need to get it over to All Saints for the Monday meal. 
Wednesday, October 10th:  meet me in the garden at 10 a.m. Jean R. and I will be seeding the 2 empty beds, and possibly harvesting tomatoes for the All Saints Monday Meal. Sign up in the comments and I'll see you in the garden!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Saturday in the garden: Look What We Did!

This past Saturday, the 29th, was very productive in our Greystone Garden. Volunteers Jean Rosenblatt, Lisa Davis, Barbara Linder, and Kevin and Vivian Schroder worked hard harvesting corn and clearing two of our beds to make way for fall crops.  Kevin learned how to turn the soil over with a pitchfork, he amended the soil with blood and bone meal and we even incorporated some ripe compost from our own little factory!! We also celebrated the addition of a couple of very handsome worms from the compost heap.

We added the detritus from the corn to our compost, thus completing our first sustainable season in the garden (from seed, to harvest, to compost, and then eventually back to the garden as that all important actor, Mr. Organic Matter).

Next up:  We should have many ripe tomatoes within the next week or so. I will let you know a harvest date. On Wednesday, October 10th, Barbara and Jean R. plan to seed the 2 cleared beds with peas and greens, starting at 10 a.m. If you would like to help, please join us.

Before the Clearing                                       Ready for Fall Crops!

 The Harvest

 Our Beautiful Compost Pile