11.29.2011 Meeting Tuesday, Nov. 29 Recap

This weeks meeting was pretty light. We continued our struggle with the pampas grass. The European Earwig (Forficula auricularia) is a pest in the organic garden, destroying some of the melons.

On the plus side, large Preying Mantis is eating a few of the pests. Also, the wheat has sprouted, the leeks have tripled their size, and the beans are quickly growing.

preying mantis

Corn and fava beans

Pole Beans

organic melon

Courtesy Jason Carman

11.27.2011 Chickens in the City

Chick City

Author talk by Patricia Foreman - Saturday Dec 10

Let’s be honest.  Raising chickens small-scale in an urban backyard is totally different than raising a huge flock on a farm.  We deal with other issues, specific to the city, like neighbors and dogs and small gardens and rodents.  Unlike all those farm books, “City Chicks” tackles those city and small-flock issues.

Come join us on Sat Dec 10 as we welcome author Patricia Foreman.  At this gathering you can meet other local chicken enthusiasts, plus people involved in the local Transition movement.

Patricia Foreman has kept poultry for over 20 years. Her experience includes operating a small-scale farm raising free range, organic layers, broilers and turkeys. She keeps a backyard flock of heritage chickens.  Pat is also the co-author of Chicken Tractor, Day Range Poultry, Backyard Market Gardening, and A Tiny Home to Call Your Own.

City Chicks explains that hens are not just utilitarian but fun and companionable.  City chickens can help build family and neighborhood bonds with grow-your-own food and bounty-sharing practices.  Locally produced nutritious food is key to community resilience.

Saturday Dec 10, 7pm (rain or shine)
Community hall of Holy Nativity
6700 West 83rd, Westchester / LA 90045

Source: Transition Los Angeles “Got Chickens? … Dec. 10” email to Seeds. 23 Nov 2011.

11.19.2011 Herb Spiral Cement Plastering

This week, we continued the construction of our herb spiral. CalEarth gave us a recipe to cover their earth bags. We modified it slightly by substituting one part earth with aggregate sand.

It was suggested to cover in multiple layers. Therefore, we will be continuing plastering over the next few weeks.

Note: We highly recommend that small batches are made, since the concrete sets quickly.

Plaster Mixture:

  • 7 parts Clean Earth (soil)
  • 1 part Aggregate Sand
  • 2 parts Dry Portland Cement Mixture
  • Cement Coloring, like Iron oxide (optional)
  • Water

Plastering Steps:

  1. We dug a few feet down where we were able to dig up soil that was relatively free of large organic material (mostly sand and silt). We used a cup to measure out the earth.
  2. We measured out the necessary sand and mixed the dry ingredients.
  3. We slowly added water until the mixture formed a putty consistency.
  4. We finally added some coloring (brick red).
  5. We started filling in the gaps and joints of the earth bags.
  6. We formed a thin layer around the bags.

Bare Herb Spiral

Clean Earth

Add Water

Add Coloring

Mix it


Filling in the joints

Group Plastering

First Layer
Courtesy Jason Carman

11.18.2011 Small Garden Visitors

Today we had some special visitors to the organic vegetable garden. One of the set goals for the garden, is for educational purposes. We hope that more people from the community, are able to learn more from our learning garden. 

visitors Courtesy Jason Carman

11.17.2011 2011 Fall Convergence - Day 3

We said our goodbyes and drove back to PCC.

CSSC Breakfast

CSSC Group

Fall Convergence Group Photo

Drive Back to LA
Courtesy Jason Carman

11.16.2011 2011 Fall Convergence - Day 2

On day 2 of the California Student Sustainability Coalition 10th Annual Fall Convergence, a broad range of topics were discussed. We focused on bringing fair trade food college campuses and creating a comprehensive recycling program. 

We took a tour of the Environmental Action Resource Center and the CSU Chico Recycling Center. The centers are all funded by selling back empty toner cartridges to the manufacturers. This diverts waste from the landfill and provides a reliable revenue stream.

All food waste is compost. Raw food is composted on-site at CSU Chico and cooked food is picked by a local commercial composting company. Even paper towels from the bathrooms are composted and all dishware is either compostable or recyclable.

We took a full tour of the full process from receiving to re-use. We learned what worked and the emphasis on the amount of time it takes to set up such an operation. Once it is running, it is very easily maintained.

Food and Mingle

Fair Trade Cal Poly

Fair Trade Group

Cal Poly Fair Trade Chocolate

AS Chico Sustainability Resource Center

Free Stuff

Recycling Program Book

Environmental Books

Waste Discussion

Introduction to College Recycling

Recycle Sorting chart

Waste Sorting Bins

Repurposing Waste

Toner is Gold


More Recycling Bins

Cardboard Bin

Bike Shop

Derrick Jensen
Courtesy Jason Carman