This week marked the start of a three-week long gardening series being held on Saturdays at the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita located at Central Park in Saugus.
The classes are part of the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative, whose goal is to help new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in whatever space they’ve got available whether that’s a pot, backyard or at a community garden.
Volunteers who go through UCCE’s 3-month intensive training program to become “master gardeners” are then able to help promote environmentally responsible and sustainable gardening practices in their community.
The class is taught every spring at gardens all over LA county, and local “master gardeners” Rose Scordino, Carol Mireles, Randy Bayard and Barbara Dallis are volunteering their time to teach new gardeners how to grow fruits and vegetables organically here in Santa Clarita.
“Every site does their own thing,” Bayard said. “This class started in 2010 and there were a lot of people that were asking for it all over LA county.”
This week, participants learned the gardening basics, including what the letters “NPK” (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) mean on fertilizer bags, advantages of growing from seeds and what to plant when.
Next week’s class will focus on soil preparation and amendment where participants will get a hands-on lesson on what should be added to soil to improve its physical or chemical properties before planting.
“The Community Gardens has two 10-by-20 outreach plots where we grow food for the food pantry here in Santa Clarita, and this class will work on those outreach plots,” Mireles said. “They’ll lightly turn over the soil, put chicken manure down and get the experience of adding amendments and fertilizer to the soil.”
The final week, participants will help plant some of Community Gardens’ spring vegetables, which will be donated to the food pantry after it has grown.
“I always tell them, ‘You’ve planted these seeds or you’ve planted this plant, so I hope you’ll come back in a couple months and see what it’s giving and that it’s going to people that maybe couldn’t afford it otherwise,’” Mireles said.
Upon completion of the series, participants will become UC-certified “victory gardeners” and can join their local “victory garden circle” for continued gardening advice, support and learning opportunities, according to the UCCE’s website.
And it’s not too late to join the class — Santa Clarita residents are still invited to participate in the remaining two weeks of the series.
TIckets are $20 per class, and there are discounts available for low-income applicants. All the proceeds raised from the series will go directly to helping the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita in their efforts to grow vegetables for the local food pantry.
The Grow LA Victory Garden Vegetable Gardening Classes are being held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Community Gardens of Santa Clarita located in Central Park at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus, and they will continue until Saturday, April 13.
For more information on how to join the class, contact Rose Scordino at 661-713-7003 or [email protected].
For more information on the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Training Program, visit celosangeles.ucanr.edu/.