Sunday, July 3, 2011

Last weekend I drove up north to attend four seminars offered at the Monterey Bay Master Gardeners Boot Camp. It was an incredible day from start to finish.  My first class was all about Integrated Pest Management.  All the classes were interesting and packed with information but I think this one may have been my favorite.  It's fascinating to consider the food chain when thinking about garden pests, from the tiniest green worm to the owl outside my bedroom window.  There is so much to know and there was no way this class could do any more than scratch the surface.   There's just so much we can do to deal with garden pests before we pull out the bottle of spray.  I guarantee you this is a topic I will revisit.

My next class was all about Soil.  There's nothing more important to a successful garden than the quality and health of the soil that we plant in.  While I knew that going in, I still learned more. I left that class with a concise list of six steps to healthy soil along with  a wealth of resources and links to refer to.

Next, I took something a little different - Chicks in the City!  I am strongly considering raising chickens - we use so many eggs here, it's really ridiculous not to!  I just have to work on the logistics before making the commitment. There's a lot to consider for chickens - I always loved doll houses so I have to remind myself there's more than just an adorable chicken coop! I'll keep you posted about what I decide.

My last class was also about Soil, but this time it was specific to soil inoculants and keeping the soil healthy when something goes amiss.

The most impressive thing about the day was the attendance - well over 100 people showed up to spend the entire day, from 9 until 4 in classes about gardening. While the reasons for attending and the motivation for gardening  were as unique as the people attending, these people were all committed to being responsible for what goes into their food and making it a priority to grow their own.

I had to wonder - where are the people like this in Los Angeles? The San Fernando Valley has the perfect climate for growing vegetables and fruit and it's full of families with young children to keep healthy.  I know a lot of people who use words like non-GMO and organic, but where is the community of people taking action and doing more than using a few buzz words?

I left the event energized and excited to get back to my garden. It was a long drive back home and I had plenty of time to consider what I want to do with all that I had learned that day and how I want to share it with all of you.  I love growing and I love teaching.  Here, at my homestead is where it all comes together.This is where that community can take shape. The classes that I offer in gardening and cooking are designed to inspire and encourage people like you to take the steps to a more authentic, healthy and fulfilled  life. For me, growing vegetables, cooking and sharing meals are ways of bringing people together and keeping them connected. Your motivation for growing your own food may be different than mine.  No matter the reasons or where home is, no matter how much space you have, let's bring the bliss back home.

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