Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative Fall 2016 Class Schedule


The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden.

Emerson Avenue Community Garden (Beginning)
Address: 6550 W. 80th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Dates: September 18, 25 and October 9, 16 (Sunday)
Time: 12:30 am to 3:30 pm
Instructor: Michael Calzada
Contact Info: (310) 743-4103,
Fees: $55 for series or $15 per class
For 90301, 90302 and 90303 residents, $20 for series or $5 per class.

To sign up for the entire series, click the PayPal link below:

To sign up for a single class, click the PayPal link below:

Plot of the Month: #7

The July plot of the month spotlight goes to Elena Goodman, gardener of plot #7.  Elena has been a member of the EACG for about two years, and has a lifelong passion for gardening. Having started gardening at an early age in Russia. You never know what innovative growing idea you will find in Elena’s plot. Be sure to stop by and take a look and have a chat.  Look for the “Butterfly” marker at the southwest end of the garden.   

(Photo source: here)

5 Common Tomato Problems and Solutions

One of the most versatile and rewarding plants in a summer edible garden is the tomato. According to a 2014 study by the National Gardening Association, 86 percent of homes with vegetable gardens grow tomatoes. It is understandable that the tomato plant is a popular home vegetable garden staple, tomatoes offer thousands of different varieties options and flavors. Plus, nothing beats the flavor of a ripe tomato straight from the garden.

When properly cared for, a single tomato plant can produce 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kg) or more of fruit. If tomato yields aren't what was expected or the fruit is damaged it could be due to a number of abiotic disorders, diseases or pests. Abiotic disorders result from nonliving causes and are oftentimes environmental, for example: unfavorable soil conditions, too much or too little water, temperature extremes, physical or chemical injuries, and other issues that can harm or kill a plant. Below are five common abiotic disorders of tomatoes and recommended remedies from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources publication, Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden

1. Sunburn

Problem: Fruit turns light brown and leathery on side exposed to sun.

Cause: Overexposure to sunlight.

• Maintain plant vigor to produce adequate leaf cover. 
• Avoid overpruning. 
• Provide partial shade during hours of most intense sunlight.

2. Leaf Roll

Problem: Older leaves roll upward and inward suddenly, leaves become stiff to the touch, brittle, and leathery.

Causes: High light intensity and high soil moisture, particularly when plants are staked and heavily pruned

• Choose less-susceptible varieties.
• Maintain even soil moisture. 
• Provide shade during hours of intense sunlight. 

3. Blossom End Rot

Problem: Water-soaked spot on blossom end of fruit enlarges and darkens, becomes sunken and leathery. Affects both green and ripe fruit, and is more common on sandier soils.

Causes: Calcium nutrition and water balance in the plant, aggravated by high soil salt content and fluctuating soil moisture.

• Maintain even soil moisture.
• Amend planting area with compost to improve water retention.
• Avoid heavy applications of high-nitrogen fertilizer.
• Soils deficient in calcium may be amended with gypsum. 

4. Fruit Cracks and Catfacing

Problem: Circular concentric cracks around the stem end (concentric cracking), cracks radiating outward from the stem (radial cracking), malformation and cracking at the blossom end (catfacing). 

Causes: Very fast growth with high temperatures and high soil moisture levels. Wide fluctuation in soil moisture and or air temperature. Any disturbances to flower parts during blossoming. 

• Keep soil evenly moist.
• Maintain good leaf cover or provide partial shade during hours of most intense sunlight. 
• Mulch around the plant 3 to 7 inches deep to maintain soil moisture and temperature.

5. Solar Yellowing and Green Shoulders

Problem: Yellow or yellow-orange instead of normal red color, upper portions of the fruit remian green even though the lower portion appears red and ripe. 

Cause: High temperatures and high light intensity. 

• Maintian plant vigor to produce adequate leaf cover.
• Avoid overpruning. 
• Provide partial shade during hours of most intense sunlight.

Pests eating away at your tomatotes? 
Other damages that are caused to tomato plants can be caused by a variety of pests. Some examples of common pests, include: hornworms, tomato fruitworms, tomato pinworms, stink bugs, white flies, and leafminers. For information about identifying and managing pests in your edible garden visit the UC Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) website,

Reference5 Common Tomato Problems and Solutions

Top 10 Garden and Landscape Pests

1. Ants

Most people deal with ants around their home at some point. Because most ants live outdoors, focus efforts on keeping ants from entering buildings by caulking entryways. Follow good sanitation practices to make your home less attractive to ants. Spraying ants inside the home will not prevent more ants from entering. Use baits to control the ant colony. Pesticide baits work by attracting worker ants who then take the poison back to the nest where the entire colony, including queens, can be killed. In the landscape, ants protect honeydew-producing pest insects from predators, so use sticky barriers or insecticide baits to keep ants out of trees and shrubs. Learn more here.

2. Aphids 

Aphids can curl leaves and produce sticky honeydew, but they rarely kill plants and you usually can wash them off with water. When aphid numbers get high, natural enemies such as lady beetles (lady bugs), lacewings, syrphid fly larvae, soldier beetles and others frequently feed on them, eliminating the need for pesticides. Protect these good bugs by avoiding the use of insecticides that can be toxic to a broad variety of insects. Ants protect aphids from these natural enemies, so keep ants away from your garden as well. When pesticides are necessary, use less toxic products such as insecticidal soaps and oils. Learn more here

3. Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing disease

The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the deadly bacterial disease it spreads, Huanglongbing (HLB), threaten citrus trees in backyards and on farms. There is no cure or effective control method for HLB disease.  All types of citrus—including oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and mandarins—are affected as well as a few closely related ornamentals. ACP and HLB have already devastated the Florida citrus industry, and now that it is in the Western U.S. it is threatening the California citrus industry as well. Learn more here

4. Gophers

Gophers are small burrowing rodents that feed on roots of many types of plants. A single gopher can ruin a garden in a short time, and gopher gnawing can damage irrigation lines and sprinkler systems. In lawns, their mounds are unsightly and interfere with mowing. Early detection is critical to prevent damage. Use both traps and underground fencing to manage gopher problems. Toxic baits are available but can pose threats to wildlife, pets, and children, especially in backyard situations. Learn more here

5. Leaf-feeding caterpillars

Caterpillars, which are the larvae of butterflies and moths, damage plants by chewing on leaves, flowers, shoots, and fruit. Caterpillars in fruit or wood can be difficult to manage because they are hidden most of their life and can cause serious damage even when numbers are low. However, many plants, especially perennials, can tolerate substantial leaf damage, so a few leaf-feeding caterpillars often aren't a concern. Handpicking and beneficial predators and parasites often provide sufficient control. Look for feeding holes, excrement, webbed or rolled leaves, caterpillars, eggs, and good bugs. Learn more here 

6. Peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that affects only peach and nectarine trees. Distorted, reddened foliage in the spring is a distinctive symptom. New leaves and shoots thicken and pucker and later may die and fall off. An infection that continues untreated for several years can lead to a tree's decline. To prevent peach leaf curl, treat peach and nectarine trees with a copper fungicide every year after leaves fall. After symptoms appear in the spring, any treatment will not be effective. When planting new trees, consider buying peach tree varieties that are resistant to the disease. Learn more here

7. Rats

Rats eat and contaminate food, garden produce, and fruit, and transmit diseases to humans and pets. Manage rats by removing food and shelter, eliminating entryways into buildings, and trapping. Snap traps are the safest, most effective, and most economical way to trap rats. For Norway rats, place traps close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners, and in places where you have found rat droppings. For roof rats, place traps in off-the-ground locations such as ledges, shelves, branches, fences, pipes, or overhead beams. Ensure traps are out of reach of children and pets. Learn more here

8. Scales

Scale insects suck plant juices and are pests of many trees and shrubs. Infestations can cause yellowing or premature dropping of leaves, sticky honeydew, and blackish sooty mold. Plant parts can distort or die back, depending on the species and abundance of scales. Most plants tolerate low to moderate numbers of scales. Provide plants with proper cultural care, especially irrigation. Encourage scale predators such as lady beetles or lacewings and look for parasite emergence holes in scale covers. Use sticky barriers or insecticide baits to selectively control scale-tending ants. Consider replacing problem-prone plants because most scales are highly specific to certain plants. Learn more here

9. Snails and slugs

These slimy mollusks emerge from hiding at night and chew holes in leaves and flowers of many succulent garden plants and fruit. Management requires a vigilant and integrated approach that includes eliminating moisture and hiding spots, trapping, setting up barriers, and handpicking. Regularly remove snails from shelters you can't eliminate such as low ledges on fences, undersides of decks, and meter boxes. Place traps in your garden and dispose of trapped snails and slugs daily. Reduce moist surfaces by switching to drip irrigation or watering in the morning rather than later in the day. Consider snail-proof plants such as impatiens, geraniums, begonias, lantana, nasturtiums, and many plants with stiff leaves and highly scented foliage such as sage, rosemary, and lavender. Learn more here

10. Weeds in landscapes

Prevent weed invasions in new beds with good site preparation. Keep weeds out with an integrated program that includes competitive plants, mulches, and hand removal. Be particularly vigilant about removing aggressive perennial weeds. You rarely should need herbicides in established landscape plantings. Mulches prevent weed seed germination by blocking sunlight. Remove small weeds by hand before they flower and set seed. Use shallow cultivation or hoeing to remove annual weeds from ornamental plantings. Only use herbicides for special-problem situations before establishing new plantings or for difficult-to-control perennial weeds. Learn more here

ReferenceTop 10 Garden and Landscape Pests

Photo source: here

Movie Night in the Garden: Wall-E

Thanks to all those who came to our first Movie Night of the season last weekend, and to the volunteers who helped make it happen. Stay tuned for more throughout the year!

Community Work Day - June 4, 2016

Every first Saturday of the month we hold a community work/volunteer day in the garden, and today is no exception. We had a great turnout of volunteers in the community. We are also in the process of prepping for our 4th of July parade, and would love to have you stop by to help us with the art and craft project. For more information on how to be a part of the parade, please contact Dorothy at

Small Plates Fundraiser Dinner

Photos from our festive "Small Plates Fundraiser Dinner" to be held at EACGC President John Sharpe's home in Westchester this Saturday Evening! Food, drink, entertainment and community enjoyment to be had (plus a silent auction).

Seedling Exchange on Community Work Days

Every first Saturday of the month we have a community volunteer/work day where you can drop by and learn more about the community and spend time with us working on the garden. In addition to that, we also have have a seedling exchange program with our Master Gardeners where you can take home some seeds in exchange for a small donation and plant your own garden. To learn more about the program, click on the link below to learn more:


Grow LA Victory Garden Classes!

Come to the garden to learn with your neighbors how to grow your own food organically. In this time of water restrictions, we will focus on how to save water while building your soil to grow healthy crops. 

Classes are led by: 

Dana H. Morgan, Coordinator & Master Gardener

Dana H. Morgan, Coordinator & Master Gardener

Michael Calzada, Master Gardener      

Michael Calzada, Master Gardener      

Don Smith, Soil Specialist w/ Kiss the Ground

Don Smith, Soil Specialist w/ Kiss the Ground

Lucinda Zimmermann, Master Gardener

Lucinda Zimmermann, Master Gardener

Classes are supported by Univ. of California Cooperative Extension and Emerson Ave. Community Garden, a 501.c.3 organization.

Registration:  $55 for the series, $20/class; Discount for EACGC Plot holders, Wright/STEAM and WISH Charter E.S. employees. $50/series.  Registration for the workshop series of 4 classes will be confirmed when payment is received.  Class size is limited to 20. Contact DANAH.MORGAN@GMAIL.COM for more information. If space is available, you can pay by the class at the door.

Purchase tickets

Topics:  building soil, planning and preparing your garden, choosing plants and seeds, composting, handling weeds and pests, watering wisely, seeds saving, harvesting, and more.

Class #1, April 17*  Getting Started
Welcome & Introduction to the Emerson Ave. Community Garden
Preparing garden beds for planting
Choosing seasonal plants, Starting seeds,  and Transplanting seedlings
HANDS ON: Soil Test . Planning your garden on paper

Class #2, May 1: Soil Building with Don Smith
Composting and worm composting
Water conservation and irrigation strategies with Michael Calzada
HANDS ON: Building and maintaining a Worm Bin

Class #3, May 15:   How Vegetables Grow; Seed Saving;                                                            Basic Vegetable Botany with Lucinda Zimmermann
Choosing Cool Season Crops for fall and winter
Introduction to Seed Saving and Storage
Water conservation and irrigation strategies
HANDS ON: Saving wet (tomatoes) and dry seeds (beans)

Class #4, May 22:  Container Gardening; Integrated Pest Management with Michael Calzada
Container Gardening: raised beds, vertical gardens, and pots
Growing vegetables in limited space
HANDS ON:  Weed scavenger hunt
Class will conclude with a potluck and graduation ceremony

*Topics are subject to change depending on weather, instructors’ needs, or other unforeseeable circumstances

Use the PayPal buttons above to select either the ‘Affiliate Series’ or the ‘Adult Series’.