CORRECTION:ORIGINALLY BELIEVED TO BE A "LEGLESS LIZARD", THIS SPECIMEN WAS IDENTIFIED BY A HERPETOLOGIST* AS A BRAHIMY BLINDSNAKE. THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED.
When Gordon and I were at the garden on Monday, June 8th, Gordon made a great find - a Brahimy Blindsnake. Wish you all could have seen it, quite lovely.
I applied for and got the designation of "Wildlife Habitat" for our garden, from the Wildlife Federation, because we fit most of the criteria for that. For example: native plants, shrubs which can provide nesting material and hiding/dening places, plants providing nectar, berries, leaves for insects and birds, water (we have a bird bath dish in the orchard - we need to remember to rinse it out and refill with fresh water each time we're there).
I'm really interested in documenting the wildlife we have residing or visiting our garden. So speak up when you spot an interesting insect or reptile. Two years ago, I spotted out of the corner of my eye, an Alligator Lizard, and have been looking for it since, to photograph. I am surprised we don't have the common Western Fence Lizard yet.
*Greg Pauly is the herpetology curator at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. What he said:
That is the non-native Brahminy Blindsnake. This is actually a species I am studying, tracking its rapid expansion across Southern California. They were first observed in California in 2000 near Ballona Wetlands, and they are now found in Ventura, L.A., San Diego, Riverside, and Kern Counties. They are moved around in the soil of nursery plants as well as in bags of soil.
If you come across another (dead or alive) please save it for me, and I'll add it to the collection.
New LAGG Teaching Garden Volunteer Sarah F. shared the fava bean dip recipe she used for the beans she harvested from last week's garden tending.
"The purple mustard is incredible. I’ve been adding it to everything. The fava beans I made into a wonderful dip! And the artichoke was very sweet and delicious," said Sarah.
Check out the recipe here:
On April 16, 2020, LAGG Founder and Master Gardener Florence Nishida gave a presentatin to UCLA's class "COM HLT 131: Healthy Food Access in Los Angeles: History and Practice of Urban Agriculture", taught by Professior James Bassett.
Florence spoke about Healthy Food Access. This is a topic dear to her heart.
"I was instrumental in getting the changes in codified restrictions on front yard plantings -- in order to allow people to plant even food crops on their parkway spaces. I am a stout supporter of urban agriculture, in small spaces, when necessary, and I strongly support the use of vacant land for urban agriculture, rather than simply allowing it to be idle.
"With my organization LA Green Grounds, I have started the LA Green Grounds Teaching Garden, with the intention of enlarging the audience for residential, front yard growing of healthy edibles. We are strongly in support of people becoming empowered to create a greater food security. And we are also providing workshops to a larger audience on other garden related subjects, e.g. fermentation, stress reduction with herbs, etc."
This topic was especially timely with the challenges COVID-19 presented.
Florence presentation and hand out is linked below. We hope you find them useful.
Making a yummy dish from what's on hand can be fun.
Cleaning up one planting bed, I pulled up the last two negi (long green onions), and snipped off a chunk of shungiku that was getting too large. And in my kitchen, I had some two-week old gobo, two sato imo (taro) left from my final fall harvest (the other four are starting to bud, so I'll plant those), a handful of Japanese sweet potatoes (satsuma imo), and kombu (kelp).
What did I do with all of these? I made a tasty stew.
When fall and winter comes and you've harvested the last tomatoes left on the plants, but they're all green. What to do?
Try this recipe by Anna Thomas of The New Vegetarian Epicure. Just made and tasted it. Fantastic! And amazingly easy to make. The combination of slightly tart tomatoes with the sweetness of the yams and onions is wonderful!
If you love persimmons and have a lot to eat now - this is a great salad:
2 lbs Fuyu persimmons
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 T. walnut oil (or good olive oil)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/4 pomegranate)
3 T. chopped walnuts, toasted (in a dry iron skillet)
2 T. chopped cilantro
- Cut off the calyxes on the tops of the persimmons, and trim any portions with aphids (yuck). Slice each persimmon into 10 to 12 wedges.
- In a small jar with lid, combine lime juice, cumin, half the chile, dash of salt, walnut/olive oil. Tighten lid and shake to mix well.
- Combine the persimmons, dressing in a work bowl, toss lightly to coat well. Slice narrowly crisp romaine lettuce (or combination of romaine and arugula) to make a slight bed in the bottom of a pretty serving bowl. Add the persimmons on top, sprinkle remaining serrano minces, pomegranate seeds, walnut pieces and cilantro. At the table, toss with salad spoon and fork just before serving.
Beautiful and delicious!
Note: persimmons soak up dressing pretty quickly, so add the dressing and toss just before serving --after people are seated and ready to eat.
Saturday, September 28
UCLA students volunteered their time to the LAGG's Teaching Garden. Led by LAGG volunteers Beth, Shalimar, Naba, and Steven, the students mulched the berm, path and orchards, saved seeds, rebuilt planting beds, cleaned up trash, translated a sage and a desert plant, and watered the garden. Thank you for UCLA's Ashley for reaching out to LAGG and coordinating the volunteer day.
More pictures will be posted shortly and linked from here.
We had a swell dig-in renovation May 19, 2019.
Linda and Naba worked really hard clearing out some of L.A.'s most persistent, annoying weed (Bermuda grass) from the south yard, while Maggie had worked over the last week on clearing the north yard. Results were fine when we left - with fig tree pruned, tomatoes, peppers, kohlrabi, beets, black kale, garlic, thyme and parsley, rhubarb planted in pretty fluffy beds freshly-laden with good compost (city source and free).
Maggie made a great tasting lentil soup and I brought steamed fava beans from the LAGG teaching garden. Maggie said, "Thanks to the amazing Green Grounds team that came again to help transform that Bermuda grass lawn to a food garden!"
NOTE: Maggie & John's garden was first built by LA Green Grounds in 2012. The garden across the street a few years later, still has a beautiful pomegranate tree, an enormous artichoke with many buds, both in the parkway, and a corner of the lawn devoted to kale and mustard greens.