Meet our Crescent Farmers!
We call them Interpretive Horticulturists – John Latsko and Leigh Adams. Our Crescent Farmers are here to answer all your irrigation and plant questions so that you can create garden beauty, grow food and build habitat while conserving our most precious resource. They are the ones who designed and steward what you see in Crescent Farm. Our highest goal is to teach you how to save water and grow sustainably so you can use these techniques in your home and community landscapes!
John Latsko’s love of California native and food plants originally brought him to Crescent Farm. He especially enjoys working with young people and sharing information about Crescent Farm. His background is in education, primarily teaching English and arts to elementary through adult students.
Leigh Adams has guided installations at the Arboretum, Rancho Santa Botanical Garden, L.A. County Natural History Museum and Pasadena Public Schools. An active leader in the urban sustainable agriculture movement, Adams coordinates community participation in Crescent Farm.
Join our Crescent Farm classes and workshops to learn about and get hands-on experience with water efficient practices and sustainable garden stewardship. Upcoming workshops include Water Harvesting, Xerigation, Drought Tolerant Lawn Alternatives and a Weaving Workshop!
Core Water Harvesting Techniques
Swales capture large amounts of water running off from slopes, rooftops, or streets, and they infiltrate that water into the soil, recharging groundwater. A swale is a trench or ditch dug into the soil surface along the contour of the land. It can be filled with rocks, logs, or mulch to facilitate water infiltration. Learn more about how swales work at the Crescent Farm and how to create your own.
Lasagna aka Sheet Mulching
Sheet mulching is a quick way to add a lot of organic matter to the soil, improving its ability to hold water and enriching it with microbial diversity and mineral nutrients. It is the process of layering cardboard, mulch, and compost onto the soil surface. Learn more about how lasagna mulching works and how to do it yourself.
A passive water harvesting technique that originated in Europe. Mounds of soil are piled over logs, twigs, and food or garden waste to create water retention, build soil fertility, and provide a moisture-rich micro-climate that supports plant life. Learn more about how hügelkultur works and how to create your own.
A simple and efficient way to drain standing water down a slope. A trench about 24” deep is filled with gravel and a perforated pipe to drain water away from an area and infiltrate it into the soil. This method is also known as a French drain. Learn more about how gravel trenches work and how to create your own.
Water is channeled into a shallow basin where it will pool and infiltrate into the soil. The basin can be filled with rocks or planted with hardy species. Learn more about how infiltration basins work and how to create your own.
Terracing slows the rate of water running down a slope, and is a method of gardening on a steep slope. Soil erosion is controlled by shortening a long slope into a series of smaller steps. Slowing the rate of water gives it an opportunity to infiltrate into the soil. Learn more about how terracing works and how to install a terrace in your own garden.
Leaving space between pavers and using permeable material underneath, such as gravelly sand or loamy sand, allows water to sink in while providing a pleasing hardscaped surface. Vegetation can also be planted between pavers to enhance water infiltration and capture. Learn more about how permeable hardscapes work to infiltrate water and how to install your own.
Field trips enable more than 16,000 school children annually to visit the Arboretum where they become immersed in nature, habitat, wildlife and the environment. Crescent Farm will provide the children a place of exploration where they explore diverse plants, learn how to capture rain, and participate in water conservation activities. They leave with a whole new knowledge of water awareness.
Promoting water conservation through community teaching and partnerships is a key goal for Crescent Farm. We thank the California Conservation Corp, County of Los Angeles, the City of Arcadia, public and independent schools, youth organizations, and many others for joining our efforts to make the current drought emergency a time of regional transformation.
You don’t have to be a plant nerd to appreciate a good read about horticulture. We have compiled a list of resources that will enhance your general knowledge about Southern California gardening and sharpen your appreciation and understanding of natural growing practices.