UC master gardeners to lead classes on edibles <br> at 11 sites across L.A.

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Students in the University of California Cooperative Extension’s master gardener program work through a 700-page textbook and complete three months of classes to be certified. It’s tough to get in, and it’s certainly not easy to get through. But now the extension is expanding its reach through something called the victory-garden initiative. The goal: to teach more Angelenos how to grow food at home, at schools or in a community garden.

Beginning later this month and in early April, certified master gardeners -- graduates of the extension course -- will offer four weekends of instruction, advice and hands-on practice at 11 sites around Los Angeles, including downtown, Highland Park, Venice, Canoga Park and Tarzana. Attend all four sessions and you’ll become a UC-certified victory gardener.


Justin McInteer, owner of the Echo Curio gallery in Echo Park and a graduate of the master gardener program last year, will be running the classes behind his spot on Sunset Boulevard. “This is a drastically scaled down but still functional version of what you learn in the master gardening class,’ said McInteer, pictured here. ‘It’s information for the individual growing his own garden, taking advantage of the space they already have.” At the same time, he said, participants will create a neighborhood network using the Echo Curio message board. His classes start April 10. Prior to that, on March 27, fruit-tree specialist and worm-wrangler Lora Hall will be giving a one-day class on how to build your own worm bin. For $20, you’ll see how she turned a battered 1980s plastic suitcase into a home for night crawlers. The cost of the class includes a bag of worms.

And stay tuned: In the weeks to come, I’ll be sharing what I learn as I go through the master gardener program myself.

-- Jeff Spurrier

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