Our next meeting will be on June 11th at 10 am. with Niamh Quinn, the Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor at the South Coast Research and Extension Center. Because she is based in Irvine, we will be doing this by Zoom ONLY (hooray, no video glitches this time). If you have a specific human-wildlife interaction you would like addressed, please let us know. More details as the date approaches.
You can see the extraordinary range of Dr. Quinn’s research here: https://ceorange.ucanr.edu/about/contact/?facultyid=26919
Squirrel photo by Carmel Rossen on Unsplash
Fruit hat from clipart-library.com
Boy, what an amazing meeting we had this past Saturday. Andrew Schiavone and Jeff Micka of Bartlett Tree Service gave us a jam-packed, info-filled survey of tree care from correct planting (not too high and especially not too low); through best irrigation practices (watering newly planted trees right at the root ball so the water doesn’t run around it and pool underneath; then making sure to expand the watering radius as the tree grows); and pruning (the rule of thirds, the hormonal importance of the branch collar) while making fascinating detours through the underground world of roots and soil plus the cultural sources of most insect problems and disease. (not to ignore a recommended treatment for scale!)
Even those of us who have been growing fruit for years learned a lot. They highly recommended soil samplers to give us an accurate idea of our soil’s structure and moisture; and provided business cards and soil sample bags for anyone who wants to get their soil analyzed by their lab in North Carolina, especially for suspected root rots (this would be about $50). And of course, they are available for consultations and remedial work in your orchards. They can be reached via
BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS
2369 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034
phone (310) 454-2033
For those of you who couldn’t make it to Culver City, I apologize for the poor quality of the Zoom. Our dedicated and selfless facilities chair was home sick as was our Zoom host; while our fearless and innovative program chair had Master Gardener duties to fulfill. This left your humble ottoman trying to juggle all their duties while simultaneously setting up the tripod and attempting to video with low bandwidth. If we are going to continue to Zoom live meetings, we need someone to take over the video job. As it happens, the next two meetings will solely be via Zoom because our speakers are from out of the area. May’s field trip, however, will also be a hybrid. After that, if we cannot find anyone to take on the Zooming responsibilities, we will have to return to live meetings only. Barring another surge, it is so much more fun and informative to come to meetings than sit home in your jammies. Plus, we had cookies!
Yes! At long last, we are having a real-live meeting in Culver City! And to celebrate this return to semi-normalcy, Andrew Schiavone — the manager of the Westside branch of Bartlett Tree Experts — and Jeff Micka — their fruit tree expert — will be speaking to us on the planting and pruning and general care of our trees.
Jeff is a friend and colleague of our revered Tom Del Hotal, whom Tom taught and worked with on fruit tree pruning projects. Andrew started with Mellinger Tree Service as a climber in 2010, and worked closely with Carl Mellinger (who was the previous owner of this branch of Bartlett), to gain insight into Carl’s Shigo-esque and less is best approach to tree care. If you have a specific tree you find problematic, please zip your question or concern to Contact Us and we will pass it on to these kind and knowledgeable gentlemen.
Please note that our beloved MultiPurpose Room has been preempted by Culver City for April 9th, so we will be using the Garden Room which also has a patio, albeit much smaller. The easiest way to access the Garden Room is via the electric-door east of our normal entrance.
Also, your humble chair will try to do a better job of Zooming this meeting than I did our field trip to Deborah’s (hey, it was BRIGHT out there and I couldn’t see my phone screen); but since both our June and August meetings will have to be on Zoom — because the speakers are based in Northern California –, it would be really great to have as many folks as possible show up for Andrew and Jeff.
Until further notice, Culver City still requires masks and proof of vax.
Photo by Árpád Czapp on Unsplash
You have to enter either Wants or Offers into the app to get the Exchange page to generate. And don’t forget to click Update at the bottom of the page after entering your Wants and/or Offers.
Thank you to the members who have already done so. The rest of you, get pruning! With this crazy January weather, my apples are already leafing out…
Photo by Olga Thelavart on Unsplash
With the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in LA County, and the fact that Culver City has closed its schools, the odds of our having a traditional scion exchange this year are starting to look slim. Fortunately, Fang has reactivated the Scion Exchange app he built last year so we can start posting our Offers and Wants now. If the rate of hospitalizations and deaths stays the same, we will use the format we did last year. IE folks can drop any OFFERS requested on Saturday February 12th at my driveway (labelled please!) . I will sort them and make them available for pickup by the WANTERS on Sunday February 13th. There is a place on the app to work out these exchanges ahead of time and please do so.
Of course, if COVID miraculously goes into retreat, we can do the exchange of Offers and Wants all in one morning on the outdoor patio of our beloved MutliPurpose Room. We would still need to be masked and respect social distancing.
This year, as was true last year, the Exchange will unfortunately only be open to the West LA Chapter. The link to Fang’s app has been sent to all current members. If you didn’t receive it, please let us know.
Also please stay tuned for updates. Circumstances can change on a daily basis.
Photo by Luke White on Unsplash
Ahead of the holiday gifting season, we thought we would ask you all to share your favorite Fruit Growing Stuff (you know, so we can add it to our lists).
At our last meeting, Charles told us how he goes commando and does all his propagating outdoors. But some of us are trying to propagate tropicals that require more humidity than SoCal offers. So Bruce will be telling us about the nifty greenhouse in which he resurrected Eric Durtschi’s struggling cacao seedlings and now has dozens of coffee plants building strength for our holiday sale.
I will offer my much humbler (and cheaper) greenhouse currently housing 11 cacao seedlings and 1 yang mei seedling. I will also reveal a great source for horticultural sand (100 pounds for $10!)
Jane will be telling us about her wondrous little electric shredder and her equally wonderous compost bins.
Margaret may be telling us about her metal hoses (or who knows what else lurks in the heart of her garden?).
And any of you who want to offer up your favorite discoveries, please do so. If you want to get on the Official Participant list, just Contact Us. Though of course there will be opportunities to join the gabfest as the spirit moves you.
This was supposed to be our November, first post-Pandemic in person meeting but our October field trip has now been moved to November. So this will be again on Zoom. Links will be provided in your newsletter.
Okay, you clamored for this and now — at long length — we can deliver! Yes, Charles Portney on propagating fruit trees.
A good number of you first became members because of the bounty of our plant sales and many of those plants were provided by the inimitable – and generous — Charles . On September 18th, he will take you behind the scenes and teach you how he works his magic. You do not want to miss this meeting!
Because of the Delta Variant, we are still meeting virtually. You will receive the Zoom links in your newsletter. If you are not a chapter member, but wish to attend, please contact us.
Photo by おにぎり on Unsplash
The National Park Service is resurrecting historic orchards. And Fritz Maslan is going to tell us all about it
The orchards of the Fruita Rural Historic District (in the Capitol Reef National Park, South Utah) are one of the largest ongoing cultivated orchards in the national park system and remain an important part of the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. The orchards were planted by early pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning in the 1880s, and currently contain approximately 2,000 fruit trees including numerous heirloom varieties.
Fritz Maslan is the Horticulturist at Capitol Reef and is intimately involved in this long term orchard restoration project which will begin with the Guy Smith and Cook orchards and – building on what is learned there – will ultimately involve the other 17 orchards within the park. He has his work cut out for him, however, since over the past fifty years, the orchards have lost almost 1,000 trees and with continued losses expected due to age, disease and nutrient deficiencies, the improvement of the land along with replanting is needed to maintain orchard historic integrity.
While we, of course, are interested in how and what will be planted in Fruita, Fritz is also interested in what he can learn from us about growing difficult fruit trees. While this is not one of our normal single-plant-centric talks, it is sure to be fascinating. Don’t miss it!
Members will receive a Zoom link in their newsletter. If you are interested in joining us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Exactly two years ago, our chapter made a memorable visit to a member’s huge orchard out at Point Dume. Attendance was strictly limited and many of you were disappointed not to be able to see the wondrous array of exotic trees and wildlife that Arnie has been patiently tending for years (and brought safely through the Woolsey Fire that totally surrounded it two months after our visit. )
This year, however, thanks to COVID19, you can see the orchard in all its glory… virtually.
Check your member’s newsletter for the Zoom links. We are still working on getting an unlimited Zoom license but for the time being our Zoom meetings are restricted to members. Because we have so many new members since our Plant Sale, our spreadsheet may be a little out of date. If you don’t receive your newsletter within a few days, please let us know.
via Zoom – You will receive an email reminder
(and a duplicate Zoom invitation) to join
the meeting on August 7.
Speaker: Michael Wittman
Attention CRFGers! You have some fun “homework” to do before August 8th. Please see the details below.
Want to learn more about permaculture? Permaculture improves your garden’s soil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. Our presenter on August 8th will be Michael Wittman, CEO of Blue Sky Biochar (www.blueskybiochar.com). You might call him the “Char-man of the Board.” Michael is a passionate and knowledgeable speaker. He has extensive knowledge of and experience with permaculture, using biochar and bamboo vinegar. Don’t know what these are? Check out the videos below before our Zoom session on August 8th.
Our meeting will include:
- a live tour of Michael’s amazing food farm (which he also uses as a permaculture laboratory),
- a presentation on what Michael did to get the food farm to its current state,
- Q & A time, and
- Michael will give us a special discount code that we can use on the Blue Sky Biochar web site.
Please watch these short videos before our meeting, so we can learn more together, and go into more depth in the Zoom meeting. If your time is limited, please watch at least the first two videos. You’ll be glad you did!
- Biochar 101: Living Soil at https://youtu.be/UcEi3YMPaJQ (15 minutes)
- Food Forest: Small Beginnings at https://youtu.be/1ToeSBXI7DA — 7 minutes
- We’ll tour the same garden at the beginning of our Zoom meeting, so you can compare the “Before and after.”
- Biochar 101: Bamboo Vinegar at https://youtu.be/SFhWpQw7juA (15 minutes)