Field Trip & Ice Cream Social August 10th @ 10 a.m.

Once again, we are heading down the driveway to convene  in my Back Forty where — at last — I will have  the time to explain what is actually going on there (the cherimoyas and papayas from spit-out seeds, the ridiculous bay laurels, the Pink Passion passiflora that is eating my house,  the Fire Crystal that is, hey,  growing new leaves).   There are also a ton of lemons, limes, tangerines and blood oranges, a monster Black Mission fig, an equally monstrous Saijo persimmon, several apples that will have just finished bearing, ditto the mulberry.  The loquats are long done, the litchi and sapodilla are still too young.  My  homemade beehive is behind a gate and faced in the other direction so no worries.

The Front Forty with my green fig trees, young Hachiya persimmon, another not so happy Fire Crystal, banana plantation and avocado mountains will be taped off because of the number of fragile new plantings and grafts there.  I can however explain most of it from the driveway and sidewalk and will lead small groups through if desired.  It and the adjacent parkway are  full of California natives and therefore butterflies, bees and birds, oh my.

Around 11, the vanilla ice cream will arrive (with bowls and spoons)  and we will share  all the sauces we have made from the fruits of our orchards.  Or actually any topping you want to bring.  If you happen to be lactose intolerant, you are welcome to bring whatever iced alternative you desire.  Yogurt will also not be shunned. Fun in the sun! (Thank you, Fang, for suggesting this.)

PS. There should definitely be some Gros Michel pups for our silent auction.

 

 

 

Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash

Field Trip/Workshop on July 14th

With some misgivings, I am throwing open my yard for our July field trip/workshop.  The topic will be Wise Watering for the Hot Months Ahead.  I have 6 different watering systems in use, ranging from the laundry-to-landscape greywater our April speaker Sergio Scabuzzo  installed in front , to basic inline drip from Smiths Plumbing, individual drippers on a solid hose from various sources, hand watering from 10 gallon buckets where I store shower water not yet heated up (and I just got the niftiest watering can!), and a small rotary sprinkler system on the tiny lawn. If the rest of you could bring samples of whatever you are using to water your gardens, we could answer one of the biggest recurring questions members have here in Drought City.

Members should enter through the big driveway gate and head to the backyard where I will put fences around anything I am concerned about people trampling.  As is true of all field trips, please do not pick, poke or otherwise molest the green-age.

The driveway is in perpetual shade but I have no chairs there so if any of you have portable ones, it would be great to bring them.  There are a (very) few chairs on the back deck plus steps where the younger folk can sit, so if it is not too hot,  we can have our workshop there.

The backyard has some mature trees: a Black Mission fig, 2 Satsuma tangerines, Moro blood orange, Meyer and Eureka lemons, Bearss and Mexican lime, Big Jim Loquat with a Champagne graft from Marjane, Black Persian Mulberry (plus a new little Pakistani from Hal), Saijo persimmon plus half a dozen cherimoyas from seed (and one transplanted from Gary Richwald’s yard), 2 passionflower vines from Jorge Ochoa, a new little Sweetheart Lychee, four apple trees, two ridiculously huge Laurus Nobilis (an object lesson in why they shouldn’t be planted here especially on the south side of our yards) a couple of Cherry of Rio Grande, one Surinam cherry and probably other stuff I’m forgetting (oh yeah, papayas from seed and a Babaco from Charles Portney, plus a new Stewart avocado–ed. the Stewart just ended up in the front yard). The tiny lawn is the UC Verde drought tolerant stuff developed by, right, UC Riverside.

The front yard is not to be entered and will be rung with Home Depot’s best DANGER tape. It is full of bee and butterfly plants, an extremely fragile drip system and an even more fragile graft of Yang Mei onto Pacific Wax Myrtle.  Fang Liu did approximately 15 such grafts and only the one took. Needless to say, I am extremely protective of it.

Nonetheless most of the front yard’s residents are visible from the front sidewalk or the driveway, including two Gros Michel bananas, a Janice Kadota fig and some seedlings from Marjane’s Panache, the Cotton Candy tree some of you have cuttings from, a lot of Pomegranates from sticks stuck in the ground after scion exchanges, three pears (well, only one is really visible from sidewalk), two apple trees (and two more which never really took and are probably coming out for avocados!) a new and struggling Hachiya Persimmon — struggling because the sunflowers and borage tend to crowd it out. Half a dozen roses.  And my rose apple seedling from Marjane which is NOT bearing and is asking to be chopped down. The Burgundy plum next to it may be gone soon too.  It has two plums on it after three years. Not  especially visible are the blueberries and self-sown strawberries.  Please do not walk in my neighbors’ driveway on that side.  They are extremely hostile to Rare Fruit Growers, including me.  Sofia will be monitoring with a machete

There is also a native California garden on the parkway (and a lot in  the front yard too) which is a whole other topic we discussed at Hal’s but people can see in action.

There will be cookies.  Please don’t feed them to the extremely large but friendly dog.

 

 

GROWING BANANAS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

WHEN:  August 12th @ 10 am (promptly!)

LOCATION: Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City 90230

Mark Steele, a CRFG member and a member of the Los Angeles chapter, is an avid fruit grower who lives in Ventura.  His small yard is packed with various fruiting plants, especially bananas.  He currently grows about 20 different varieties of bananas, most of which he has succeeded in fruiting.  He became obsessed with bananas after receiving one as a birthday gift from a friend about seven years ago.

Mark is a professor of biology at CSU Northridge where he teaches various marine biology classes and does research of marine fishes.  His talk will cover the basics of banana biology and provide advice about varieties that do well in Southern California and how to grow them.

If you have eaten a home-grown banana, you know that they are very much sweeter and tastier than those you buy in the grocery store.  According to the CRFG Fruit Facts, bananas are “fast-growing herbaceous perennials arising from underground rhizomes,” not trees.  They are a plant that can be grown quite successfully here in Southern California if they are given proper soil conditions and are protected from temperatures below freezing.  Mark will tell us more about how to do this successfully.

Plan to come and learn a lot more about growing bananas!

Also please bring fruit and other treats to share with our members.

Please bring any plants that you have to raffle or sell!  Sharing plant material and related information is what CRFG is all about.