Jul 10

So you want to grow your own food (Part 2)

Your soil is prepped and you have a rough sketch of your water needs, as mentioned in Part 1, but now it’s time for the best part: picking your plants.

Choosing Your Plants

Find Your Zone

I love growing vegetables, even the ones I won’t particularly eat. I often grow extra produce so that I can trade with neighbors or use in my compost pile. Most people start off with tomatoes. Tomatoes are easy to grow and aren’t too tempermental. Best of all, they only need minimum watering. If you live in Southern California, you can actually grow some tomatoes year round if you let them go to seed. Ideally though, they need warm weather to get sweet and ripe.

Depending on your growing zone, you may be able to grow many different kinds of plants. For example, I’m in Sunset Zones 19, 20, 21. I would love to grow apples or pears for eating, but it will be a toss up as to if I’d get fruit at all. Sunset  Zone 22 can grow edible pomes.

You’ll notice that I listed 3 zones above. That’s because my tiny backyard ans 3 different microclimates. In fact, even the temperature will vary 3 -5 degrees depending on location. Some areas are in full sun year round. Others get only 3 – 5 hours of sun during the summer months and are in shade the rest of the year. I highly suggest checking out Sunset’s Western Garden book for Southern California gardeners.

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Jul 10

So you want to grow your own food (Part 1)

Recently, I’ve been asked about how to grow food at home. This is something I get rather excited about, not only because I love gardening, but I love seeing people talk about how they use the food they grow in their meals. Let’s face it, this economy has us all re-evaluating out food choices. When you go to a large grocers and see sad produce at exorbitant prices, it gives you pause.

I hope to be able to get you started on growing your own food, but this is especially geared toward people who live in the city. I grew up in the suburbs. We also had herbs growing in pots and grew a few vegetables, but most of our plants were indoors. When I moved to Hollywood in ’98, we lived in a courtyard apartment. The courtyard was very shaded and cool. Had I wanted to grow lettuce year round, I could have. Behind our apartment was a 6′ strip of concrete that was sunny year round. Trial and error taught me what I could grow and where. All of my produce and herbs were grown in pots and buckets. In 2006, we moved to El Sereno. I took my back yard from looking barren to a complete jungle in just a couple of years. (Side note: Those pots you see in the second photo are the same ones I used to grow veggies in, back in Hollywood.)

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Mar 10

It’s no secret that I prefer, no, love summer. I like the heat. I adore days that seemingly last forever.  There is a reason I’d never move any place where it snows more than one day a winter. Somehow, this winter seems longer than others and I’m not too happy about that. I could blame the weird, cooler weather in fall on the nearby fires. It feels like it’s been raining every week since December. There was that bright spot in the middle of February when it hit 81 degrees for 3 days in a row.

I want that back.

I need the sun kissing my skin.


Sep 09

Moon Sept. 1, 2009

Apr 08

Los Angeles “officially” welcomes Spring

Well, you know it’s time to see half-naked people in the City of Angeles just based on the events happening. This weekend is the unofficial kickoff to Spring in LA. So many things to do, I’m wondering how I’ll sleep this weekend. The best part: Most of them are free.

Obviously, we’ll be at LACMA celebrating opening night of Jazz on Friday night. I heard that Les Claypool is also playing tomorrow night. Who knew he was still around?

Oh and the Getty’s Friday off the 405 series also starts on Friday night.  Since my idea of fun doesn’t include being anywhere near the 405 on a Friday night, I won’t be here, but I’ll try to make it one day.  It’ll be like me cheating on LACMA.

The Brewery kicks off their spring ArtWalk on Saturday, April 5th. If you haven’t been, you’re missing out on some kind of wonderful. The restaurant onsite is overprice, but the last times we went they also had someone grilling burgers.  We’ll be doing this on April 6th and grilling afterwards.  We live nearby, so if you’re willing, come on by.

The Brewery ArtWalk is a twice annual open studio weekend at the worlds largest art colony. Each artwalk, over 100 resident artists participate. During this event, you will have the opportunity to see new works, discover new favorites, speak with the artists and purchase artworks directly from the artists at studio prices.

The Brewery Art Walk takes place:
April 5th and 6th, from
11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission is free and so is parking. Come support LA’s finest artists, take home some great works and and dine at the onsite restaurant. If you have questions or require more information, please contact us via email (click here)

The Brewery is home to over 100 artist-residents and the art you see is usually for sale.  So if you see something you like, feel free to ask a price.

Over in Little Tokyo is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  It’s going on all weekend too.  Parking stinks so plan ahead.  The event is free to enter.  We caught the tailend of this a few years ago and have sworn we’d go back to see the event.

Descanso Gardens is having A World of Good Weekend.  It’s $7 for adults, $5 for kids 5+.  You get to enjoy all the festival happenings and the gardens.  The happenings:

This is your personal invitation to enjoy acres and acres of spectacular
Gardens, health-conscious salad-making demos, kid’s crafts, world music and fun
for everyone.

Salad Days: Salad Making Demonstrations
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 – 11 a.m. to noon
Magnolia Lawn
Chef de Cuisine Tiana Driggins tosses in her knowledge and celebrates Descanso’s 2008 Center Circle Edible Estates Demonstration Garden with a delicious and interesting salad demonstration.

Kids’ Veggie People Craft Table
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 – noon to 3 – Main Lawn

Music: Robby Longley
Saturday, April 5 only – 1 to 3 p.m. – Under the Oaks Theater
A beautifully orchestrated fusion of neo-classical/flamenco world music will be here for your enjoyment.

Music: Banshee in the Kitchen
Sunday, April 6 only – 1 to 3 p.m. – Under the Oaks Theater
Don’t miss the combination of traditional Celtic music, spiced jazz and rock.

That’s just a few of the big and interesting-to-me things going on.  If you’re in LA, I hope you can make it even just one of these events.  Otherwise, stay tuned because you know I’ll have pictures galore!

Feb 08

Audubon Society @ Ernest Debs Park



The Audubon Society’s center at Ernest Debs Park is cool. 100% built green and completely off the grid, it’s the sort of place we need more of, not only in LA but all over the place.

Talk about a flashback, driving up to the parking lot reminded me of the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.

There isn’t much to say that isn’t already posted on their website. The kids loved the place. We took the butterfly path and it was easy to walk, even muddy. Since none of us were dressed for the walk though we did have to turn around. I couldn’t tell if the plants overgrowing the walkway were poison oak or not and we were all wearing shorts.

This huge rock in the courtyard of the place. It’s a very nice courtyard, one I wish my front yard looked like. To the kid’s left is a nice pond and to their right is another pond.

I was taking a picture of that fencing. What do you think? I’m thinking about doing something like in my front yard. I like how some rails don’t have angles on them. The walk path is also close to what’s in my front yard. Mine’s a little more gravel-y though.

This is kids were learning about butterflies. See those benches? They’re made with 100% recycled materials.

They make a little cave and there’s two stumps inside to sit on. Ilia said, “No Mr. Don’t go in there. There could be spiders.”"Spiders?”, Alton asked?

Ilia nodded, “Yeah and it’s dark,”

I jumped in, “Ilia just because you’re scared of spiders and the dark doesn’t mean that he can’t go in there.

“I’m just thinking about him, mama!”, she cried.

“I scared.”, said the little boy, shivering and holding onto my leg.

There was a lot of hands on things up there. There was a little shed with toys for the kids to play with, a water pump, seating all over on the campus and lots of places to climb. One of the most spectacular things is just being able to see 20 miles north to south.

Needless to say, I took a lot of photos of plants and stuff, but I’m not interested in posting them. I also found out that I can reach the lake we visited last week from the different trails that originate at the Audubon Center. The Center’s parking lot was full (it only holds like 20 cars) so we had to park on Griffin Ave. There’s a foot path from the street on up to the top. Walking up there, you can see Downtown Los Angeles and Dodgers Stadium. You also got a great view of the Arroyo from up there and that angle also made that section of the 110 freeway look even more psychotic and hair-raising than it is in real life.

Speaking of getting on the freeway, driving down Griffin, just before I got on the freeway, I saw this:

LOL…in someone’s front yard, they have this huge metal dragonfly! WTF? The eyes, behind the metal caging are two discoballs. I’ve got drive back over there.

Oct 07

Wild Parrots

They were cute when I first saw them. Back in May, I was astounded to see a flock of parrots just flying around. Never really saw them again until a couple of weeks ago in South Pasadena. Around Mission St. and Fremont Ave., there were 3 different flocks of these birds. CUTE!

The past week, you can hear these birds chirping up a storm. All they do is make noise. I mean, scary-movie-you’re-gonna-die-soon noise. All. Day. Long. NOT CUTE!

Oct 07

Wild Parrots

They were cute when I first saw them. Back in May, I was astounded to see a flock of parrots just flying around. Never really saw them again until a couple of weeks ago in South Pasadena. Around Mission St. and Fremont Ave., there were 3 different flocks of these birds. CUTE!

The past week, you can hear these birds chirping up a storm. All they do is make noise. I mean, scary-movie-you’re-gonna-die-soon noise. All. Day. Long. NOT CUTE!