Preparing Your Learning Garden

Welcome back Garden Teams! We hope you had a wonderful, relaxing summer break.

There are two options for planting in the fall semester: planting the Late Summer Garden or the Fall Garden. If you and your students are eager to jump back into gardening, you can start planting the Late Summer Garden anytime in August through the first week of September. If you need more time to jump into the thick of it, the recommended Fall planting window starts September 15 through October 25. We shifted the window forward this year to ensure schools get to harvest their entire gardens before going on break. Harvest windows depend on a lot of factors so we recommend planting earlier rather than later.

Please let your Garden Educator know if you intend on keeping a Late Summer Garden so we can drop off seeds and seedlings.

Garden Prep

  1. Prepare your garden by removing or tilling in any dead or dried plants and weeds. Shake off as much soil as possible from the roots. Do not till in diseased plant material.
  2. Disinfect any trellises or tools that came in contact with diseased plants
  3. Start watering you garden deeply, daily for a week before planting. Test your soil by sticking two fingers all the way down to ensure water is being absorbed into the soil and not just running off the side. If you are pressed for time, have your students roll up their sleeves and mix the soil & water manually. You will still need to water deeply after planting.
  4. Revitalize your soil by adding compost, worm castings, or other amendments. Do not add municipal mulch or compost to garden beds as it is often filled with weeds!

If you would like us to lead a Planting Day or other garden-centric activity, please let us know as soon as possible to ensure we can get it scheduled in the Late Summer planting window.

Garden Resources

We have been busy at work updating and creating new resources for our region:

  • The Late Summer 2019 and Fall 2019 Garden Plans (coming soon) have spacing information and a recommended layout for where to plant all the crops.
  • LA Seeds 2019-2020 has spacing, depth, days to germination, and days to maturity information one page! Use this if you’re planning your own garden.
  • The Late Summer/Fall Crop Schedule 2019 has planting and harvest timelines that take into account the school schedule so you can see when the earliest or latest planting dates are. Use this if you’re planning your own garden.
  • Read our Herb Garden Maintenance post to learn more about growing and trimming your herbs.

Garden Classes

If you’d like to learn more about gardening, reach out to your Garden Educator to schedule a meeting or garden team/school-wide training. If you’d like more formal lessons, there are a variety of organizations around LA County that offer them: