Beekeeping Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

bees poppy

I’ll be teaching a two hour introduction to natural no-treatment beekeeping at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano this Saturday at 1 pm. To sign up buzz over here. Here’s the class description:

Become a backyard beekeeper and enjoy a healthy garden full of pollinators. Understand beekeeping tools, materials, and techniques to get started.

Beekeeping, or apiculture, is said to have begun with the Egyptians who used logs, boxes, and pottery vessels to make hives. Today, with bees dissapearing at rapid and never before seen rate, the practice of caring for bees is needed now more than ever.

Join us for this workshop on all natural, no treatment beekeeping. Learn the basics of beekeeping including makeup of the hive, equipement, types of hives, where to get bees, and reasons for beekeeping.

Learn how you can support bees in return and join us for this special workshop!

The Ecology Center is located at 32701 Alipaz St in San Juan Capistrano. Phone: (949) 443-4223

Legalize Beekeeping in LA!

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Action alert: LA City Council will vote on legalizing bees this Wednesday. I got the following note from Francesca De La Rosa–If you’re in LA please consider writing your councilcritter or attending the council meeting.

As you’ve heard, LA City Council is voting on 3 pending bee measures on Wednesday, February 12th (press conference at 9:15 am). These are the three items that will be voted on:

#1: LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES
http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=12-0785

#2: SAVING AMERICA’S POLLINATORS ACT
http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=13-0002-S134

#3 HUMANE POLICY FOR LIVE BEE REMOVAL
http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=13-1660

We hope to see you at City Hall on Feb. 12. But before that, we still need to build support and secure commitments from the Councilmembers. We urge you to reach out to the City Councilmembers by email, asking them to vote yes on all three motions. 

Please send out a simple email to each of the Councilmembers with the following:

Greetings Councilmember __________,

My name is ____________, and I urge you to support Council Files 12-0785 (Legalize Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles), 13-0002-S134 (Saving America’s Pollinators Act), and 13-1660 (Humane Policy for Live Bee Removal).

Bees are essential to urban food production, providing local environmental and economic benefits through pollination and honey production. Over the past several years, honeybee colonies throughout the United States have experienced high rates of loss and many are in danger of collapse. Los Angeles, with its diverse pollen sources, is an urban oasis for bees, which are also threatened by heavy pesticide application in rural areas. Legalizing beekeeping in our neighborhoods gives our communities a resource to humanely and non-lethally care for healthy bee colonies.

Emails and phone numbers:

Councilmember Gil Cedillo (CD-1): councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org

Councilmember Paul Krekorian (CD-2): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (CD-3): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Tom LaBonge (CD-4): councilmember.Labonge@lacity.org

Councilmember Paul Koretz (CD-5): [email protected]

Councilmember Nury Martinez (CD-6): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Felipe Fuentes (CD-7): councilmember.fuentes@lacity.org

Councilmember Bernard Parks (CD-8): councilmember.parks@lacity.org

Councilmember Curren Price (CD-9): councilmember.price@lacity.org

Council President Herb Wesson (CD-10): councilmember.wesson@lacity.org

Councilmember Mike Bonin (CD-11): councilmember.bonin@lacity.org

Councilmember Mitchel Englander (CD-12): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (CD-13): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Jose Huizar (CD-14): councilmember.huizar@lacity.org

Councilmember Joe Buscaino (CD-15): councildistrict15@lacity.org

Feel free to use your personal email address if you cannot send one from your work address.

Greywater Design and Installation Workshop

almaden reservoir car

Learn how to install the popular “laundry to landscape” (L2L) greywater system in this design workshop presented by Laura Allen of Greywater Action and Leigh Jerrard of Greywater Corps.

Laundry to landscape greywater systems are simple, affordable, and easy to maintain. With your own L2L system you can irrigate your landscape each time you do laundry, saving you water, time, and resources. Experienced instructors will lead you step-by-step through the design process, tailoring a system to fit your home. This system is legal to install without a permit, just follow 12 basic guidelines you’ll learn about in class.

Learn

  • How to design a system for your home and landscape
  • How to build a system- you’ll create a “mock-up” of a real system with real greywater parts
  • What parts you’ll need for your home
  • How much greywater you produce and how many plants you can water
  • What soaps and detergents are “greywater friendly”

Tour

  • Real L2L greywater system
  • Gravity “branched drain” greywater system from sinks

Date: February 22, 2014 – 10:00am to 12:30pm
Location: Los Angeles EcoVillage 117 Bimini Place LA, CA 90004
Cost: Sliding scale $15 to $40, limited work trade positions available

Register HERE

Bring: Photographs of your laundry room and landscape. Site plan of your yard.
For more information on an L2L system refer to the SF Graywater Guide for Outdoor Irrigation, downloadable HERE

Please join our mailing list to be notified of upcoming workshops.
A long-submerged abandoned car is exposed at the bottom of the now-dry Almaden Reservoir
(January 16, 2014. Photo: Michael Short, The Chronicle)

Drought-Proof your Landscape with Greywater Lecture

almaden reservoir car

I’m sure that our drought will get a lot of people interested in greywater, If you’re in the LA area there’s a lecture coming up with Laura Allen of Greywater Action and Leigh Jerrard of Greywater Corps. They are also putting on a laundry to landscape workshop on February 22. Here’s the info on the first of the two events. For more information go to greywatercorps.com/whatwscurrent.html.

Interested in Reusing Greywater? Greywater is water from sinks, showers, and washing machines. Instead of sending it down the sewer it can be safely and simply redirected into the landscape for irrigation. Reusing household greywater saves water, saves time, and reduces water flowing into the sewer system. Find out if a greywater system is a good match for your home and landscape in our informative evening slideshow presentation “Drought-Proof Your Landscape with Greywater.”

Learn about:

  • Common types of systems
  • Advantages and limitation of different systems
  • Plant friendly soaps and products
  • How much water you may save
  • System costs
  • Codes and regulations

Location: 7pm-8:30pm at the Los Angeles EcoVillage. 117 Bimini Place, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
Date: February 19, 2014 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Cost: $5 to $15 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds.
RSVP: For questions or to RSVP email [email protected]

Sauerkraut demo at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Photo: Library of Congress

Photo: Library of Congress

Fellow Master Food Preserver Shelley Marks and I will be doing a sauerkraut demo this Sunday February 2nd at the Hollywood Farmers Market. We’ll make the kraut at 10 am and 12 pm. Between the kraut demos we’ll be sitting in the Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener table to answer questions for the duration of the market. Please drop by and say hello! It’s freeeeeeeeee!

Breadbaking (Level 1) Class at the Ecology Center

levain loaf

I’m teaching a basic no-knead bread class down in the OC at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday February 8th. To sign up head over to the event page. Here’s the 411:

Ditch the preservatives and plastic wrap. Join us and learn how to make homemade, all-natural bread from scratch. Take home fresh and ready-to-bake dough!

There was a time in the not-so distant past that the smell of freshly baked bread permeated households everywhere. Let’s revert to those wholesome days and make a difference. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll make a simple loaf using the miraculous and easy Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. Topics discuessed will include types of flour, what kind of yeast to use, how to simulate a commercial bread oven at home, hydration ratios, kitchen tools, troubleshooting, and shaping a boule. Learn simple ingredients, tools, and techniques to master this simple recipe. Participants will enjoy fresh bread and leave with dough to take home and bake!

You must bring a mixing bowl, a tupperware container to take your dough home, a digital scale (if you have one), and an apron (if you have one).

By baking bread at home, you’re in charge of what goes into every loaf and can choose to incorporate local and organic ingredients. Other benefits of baking at home include using less energy (used in harvesting, processing, and shipping store-bought bread), using less plastic packaging, and spending less money. Become a baker and join us during this heart-healthy workshop to learn how.

Instructor: Erik Knutzen

Cost is $20 for Ecology center members and $30 for non-members. The Ecology Center is located at 32701 Alipaz St. in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Organic Seed Growers Webinar

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I’ve enjoyed all the webinars from the eOrganic folks. While they are oriented towards small farmers, I’ve found them useful for us home gardeners. They are putting on a seed growing webinar at the end of this month. I’m especially looking forward to the pollinator lecture, featuring Eric Mader of The Xerces Society, that takes place on Saturday February 1st. Here’s the 411 on the conference, which is free:

Join eOrganic and the Organic Seed Alliance for selected live webinar broadcasts from the 7th Organic Seed Growers’ Conference at Oregon State University in Corvallis Oregon on January 31st and February 1st, 2014. The online broadcast is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. It will take place on both days from 12-8 Eastern Time, 11-7 Central, 10-6 Mountain, and 9-5 Pacific Time.

Register for the live broadcast of selected presentations at http://www.extension.org/pages/70186
Note: You only need to register once, and you may come and go on both days as you wish!

Schedule of Organic Seed Growers’ Conference Webinar Broadcasts

Friday January 31, 2014
9:00-10:30AM:  Why Organic Seed Matters and How to Meet the Demand

Organic seed that meets the diverse agronomic challenges and market needs of organic farmers is fundamental to their success and the food system they supply. The organic community has seen tremendous progress in the expansion of organic seed availability. Still, most organic farmers are planting non-organic seed. This session will focus on improving access to, and the use of, organic seed. Topics will include the importance of organic seed in the context of organic integrity and the principle of continual improvement, the 2013 NOP guidance document on organic seed, and demonstrations of new tools and resources.
Speakers: Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Seed; Erica Renaud, Vitalis Organic Seeds; Zea Sonnabed, CCOF and National Organic Standards Board; Chet Boruff, Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA)

Friday January 31, 2014
1:00-3:30PM Research Update: Small Grains and Corn

The scientific field of organic plant breeding continues to expand. This session will give an overview of innovative organic research being conducting today in small grains and sweet corn. Hear reports from six researchers and participate in the question and answer.
Speakers: Hannah Walters, Seed Matters Graduate Student, Washington State Unviersity; Brook Brower, Seed Matters Graduate Student, Washington State University; Jonathan Spero, Lupine Knoll Farm; Amadeus Zschunke, Sativa Rheinau; Lisa Kissing Kucek, Cornell University; Adrienne Shelton, Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Friday, January 31, 2014
3:30-5:00PM:  Research Update: Vegetable Crops

There are exciting advances in breeding vegetables for organic production systems. This session will give an overview of innovative organic research being conducting today in vegetable crops. Hear reports from six researchers.
Speakers: Phil Simon, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Laurie McKenzie, Organic Seed Alliance; John Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance; Lori Hoagland, Purdue University; Michael Mazourek, Cornell University

Saturday, February 1, 2014
9:00-10:30AM: Unpacking the Cell Fusion Debate

Last year the National Organic Program (NOP) clarified its position on the use of cell fusion in organic seed production, drawing attention to an ongoing debate involving what should and should not be an excluded method in the organic standards. This session will include both technical and philosophical discussion on the current use of cell fusion in organic seed development, the NOP’s current policy, and what different breeding methods mean for the organic movement and biodiversity. Speakers: John Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance; Jodi Lew-Smith, High Mowing Organic Seeds; Jim Myers, Oregon State University; Zea Sonnabend, CCOF and National Organic Standards Board

Saturday, February 1, 2014
1:30-3:00PM: Pollinator Conservation Strategies for Organic Seed Producers

This session will support organic seed producers with the latest science-based information on maximizing crop yields through the conservation of native pollinators, while at the same time helping them to reduce the risk of outcrossing with non-organic crop varieties. Specific topics include the ecology of specialty seed crop pollinating insects, foraging behaviors and flight range of key native bee groups (and the impact of those foraging ranges on crop isolation), bee-friendly farming practices, development of pollinator habitat on working farms, accessing USDA technical and financial resources for pollinator conservation, and more. Speakers: Eric Mader, The Xerces Society

Saturday, February 1, 2014
3:30-5:00PM: Managing Seed-Borne Diseases in Seed Production

Production of high-quality, pathogen-free seed is particularly important in organic seed crops given the very limited chemical options available for certified organic production, and the risk of producing and distributing contaminated seed lots. Learn about managing diseases in seed production with various research examples from the vegetable seed crop pathology program at Washington State University, and hot water treatment for seed-borne diseases. Speakers: Lindsey du Toit, Washington State University – Mount Vernon Research & Extension Center; Jody Lew-Smith, High Mowing Organic Seeds

Late Blight of Tomato and Potato Webinar

What late blight looks like.

What late blight looks like.

Got late blight? Learn more about this pathogen, which caused the Irish potato famines, by joining a free webinar at eOrganic on January 14, 2014 at 2PM Eastern Time (1PM Central, 12PM Mountain, 11AM Pacific Time). The webinar is free and open to the public, and advanced registration is required. Attendees will be able to type in questions for the speakers.

Register now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/601056184

The webinar will feature five plant pathologists. I’ve always found these webinars to be informative even for the home gardener.