Meeting June 8th @ 10 am: Dr. Leryn Gorlitsky on the Fig & the Wasp

Dr. Gorlitsky is a Senior Researcher at UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research as well as a lecturer in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (whose mantra is Moving Science to Action) As such, she is intimately engaged in efforts to combat everything from invasive species to mass extinctions. Her specialty of Tropical Ecology, however, intersects with our interest in exactly what is going on in our back forties. She will be lecturing to us on Coevolution, focusing on the interaction between the fig and the wasp.

Margaret’s friend Britten is currently a student in one of Dr. Gorlitsky’s UCLA classes and reports she is both an engaging and incredibly knowledgeable lecturer. This is definitely a meeting not to be missed.

Field Trip to Champa Nursery May 11th @ 10 a.m.

This month we will visit Champa Nursery in El Monte. Jimmy Nguyen, the proprietor, has extended a kind welcome to us. Jimmy has over a hundred different varieties of tropical fruit trees in stock (on less than an acre!). Were you looking for that hard-to-find acerola cherry (Barbados cherry)? Jimmy has them! Want a new variety of black sapote? Jimmy has four varieties currently available! Were you anxious to try a sapodilla? Jimmy sells three varieties! He even has three varieties of mamey sapote! At Champa Nursery you will also find six different varieties of carambola, three varieties of canistel, an amazing eight varieties of jackfruit, a dozen varieties of mangoes, three varieties of longan, four varieties of lychee, five varieties of wax jambu, and many many more intriguing fruit trees. Go to their website and start your want list: https://www.champanursery.com. Carpooling is recommended.

Address: 4254 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA 91311

Directions: Champa Nursery is on the corner of Santa Anita and Tyler Ave., next to the El Monte Airport. Take the I-10 Freeway east to El Monte. Take the Santa Anita Ave. exit (Exit 28) and turn left onto Santa Anita Ave. In just under 1 1/2 miles turn right onto Tyler Ave. Champa Nursery will be on your left.

Meeting April 13th @ 10 am: Ray Teurman on Bees!

We fruit growers need to know about bees:  how to encourage them in  our orchards,  how to protect them on our shared planet and, if nothing else, how to appreciate their  marvelously democratic society.  Bottom line, after all our planting, grafting, pruning, fertilizing and elaborate irrigation systems, without the girls we would have very little to eat.

At the enthusiastic recommendation of the Orange County chapter, we are thrilled to have snared Ray Teurman to speak to us about bees at our next meeting on April 13th.  Eight years a beekeeper and seven years a bee rescuer, Ray maintains 70 hives at homes in LA, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties  plus over 40 hives in apiaries in Long Beach, Hacienda Heights and Compton.  A member of the Bee Keepers Association of Southern Calfornia, Long Beach Beekeepers and Honey Love,  among other apis-centric organizations, he has been termed one of the unsung heroes of SoCal bee keeping and volunteerism. This is how he is described on the Bee Keepers Association of Southern California site:

Ray has recently begun his retired life.  That doesn’t mean sitting under an umbrella enjoying ice tea!  No!  He’s busy rescuing bees every single day.  He does cutouts, swarms, most jobs that other rescuers don’t have time for.  He does charge a fee, but it’s well worth it, as he charges a fair price  He does best by texting.  Please include your name, address where the bees are located, where the bees are (in a wall, in a tree, under the shed, etc.), how long they have been there, and a contact phone number.  Please be patient, as he could be busy in a tree.  Ray does enjoy help.  You can learn while helping!

Please call Ray by clicking the number. 323-599-6802 or text him.

Scion Exchange/Grafting Demos/Hands On Class February 9th

Yes, our biggest meeting of the year is just about upon us.   And for 2019, we are finally providing what has long been requested:  a chance  for you yourself to take a shot at grafting under the eyes of an expert.

We are also going to provide  intimate, close-up-and-personal  grafting demos by having four different experts each holding down his own table and teaching a variety of different grafts , the Cleft Graft, the Budding Graft, the Veneer Graft, etc.

The meeting will be in the MultiPurpose Room of the Culver City Veterans Memorial  complex.  The schedule will be as follows:

9:30-10 –  Registration, waiver signing, the Bringing In and Arranging of the Scion Wood (Click here to access a .pdf on how to collect and store scion wood from  your orchard)  Please place each variety in its own ziploc bag and label it!  Also, if you intend to collect wood at our exchange, bring more ziplocs, and a Magic Marker to label your precious finds.

NOTE:  Because of huanglongbing disease, NO CITRUS scion wood, fruit or roostock should be brought to the meeting or otherwise moved around the state.

10-10:30 – The Grafting Demos (you are encouraged to watch each of them, but obviously you can camp for the duration in front of Fang Liu, for example, if you are trying to master the veneer graft)

10:30-11 – Members allowed to select scion wood

11-11:30 – Non-members allowed to select scion wood

11:30-noon Hands on Grafting Classes with our Experts

Note:  while we will have knives, parafilm and grafting tape on hand, we will not necessarily  have enough rootstock and matching scion wood for all comers to take home an actual grafted tree.   The classes are designed to teach you the craft, period.  Odds are we will have a lot of avocado rootstock and  a lot of pear scion wood.  Despite the fact that avocados are sometimes referred to as Alligator Pears, this WILL NOT work.  Plus, your beautiful graft may be lopped off and replaced by the next student.

If you have a rootstock and scion wood of your own, however, that you want to learn to “marry” for life, feel free to bring ’em.

Field Trip/Workshop January 12th @ 10 am

Okay, so hopefully there will be no snow on the ground, but we are taking the opportunity of visiting a member’s relatively  new orchard to discuss our various preparations for winter.  Do you do dormant spraying? Do you remove the leaves from your trees in this most unseasonable of winters?  How do you train the young trees you planted last bareroot season?  How are you getting ready for the trees you will plant this year?  How do you prepare your orchard for the (fingers crossed) winter rains?  There will be plenty of time to tour the garden but also yak.  Come with ideas!

Party! Party! Party!

Chapter members, just a reminder: our holiday party is Saturday and the plant raffle is really starting to shape up,. Gros Michel banana pups, rose apple seedlings, and a one-gallon ice cream bean tree are among the offerings. This is a pot luck so bring your best dish (as well as plants to include in the raffle if you have them)  See you there!

Paradise Nursery address

Yup, forgot it in previous post:
10943 De Soto Avenue,
Chatsworth, CA 91311

This is just south of the DeSoto exit on the 118 at Rinaldi.  Entrance is easy to miss, so keep eyes peeled.

November 10th @ 10 am: Paradise Nursery

Oh, do you guys have a treat in store!  We are going to Paradise Nursery in Chatsworth.  This is a family-owned nursery that propagates and grows its own beautiful trees (primarily fruit,  including many Persian specialties you won’t find elsewhere).  Plus many of their trees are ENORMOUS!  Walking around the grounds is sort of like walking through a forest, and it gives you a rare chance to see what your trees will look like full grown. Paradise of course also carries trees small enough to fit in the back of my Toyota Corolla, so don’t think you won’t also be able to bring home trophies from the hunt.

Cribbing shamelessly from their website :

“(Owner) Dr. Majid Jahanbin is an Agricultural Engineer with a doctorate from the University of Bologna, Italy. He fell in love with plants at the age of  seven, while visiting his father’s farm in Abadan, Iran. He has over 50 years of professional experience and hosts a popular radio show on 670AM KIRN, giving gardening tips and taking questions on air in Farsi.

His son Ashkan Jahanbin now runs the nursery and is a horticulturalist with degrees in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Horticultural  from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  Ashkan consults and designs edible gardens and home orchards that are beautiful, enjoyable, and environmentally sustainable.”

Ash has kindly agreed to meet with us and answer any questions we have about his trees.   There is parking;  but on a Saturday morning it might be somewhat limited, so car pooling is highly suggested.

Also fellow chapter member Alex Silber’s Papaya Tree Nursery is only a couple of freeway exits away from Paradise and if you have never been there, it would be well worth your time to arrange with Alex to stop in before or after.  Since he operates quite literally out of his family’s backyard, he can’t take all of us but said he would welcome individuals who call him first.