September 12th – 10 am: Fabulous Zoom field trip to Point Dume Orchard

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  Because we have so many new members since our Plant Sale, our spreadsheet may be a little out of date.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.

Garden Tour & Lecture in One! August 8th at 10 a.m.

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!

  1. Biochar 101: Living Soil at https://youtu.be/UcEi3YMPaJQ (15 minutes)
  2. Food Forest: Small Beginnings at https://youtu.be/1ToeSBXI7DA — 7 minutes
  3. We’ll tour the same garden at the beginning of our Zoom meeting, so you can compare the “Before and after.”
  4. Biochar 101: Bamboo Vinegar at https://youtu.be/SFhWpQw7juA (15 minutes)

Scion Exchange/Grafting Demos February 8th @ 10 am

Yes, our biggest meeting of the year is just about upon us.   And for 2020, we are  again 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:

10 – 10:30 –  Registration, affixing of the name tags, 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.

10:30 – 11:00 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)

11:00-11:30 – Members allowed to select scion wood

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

Alas,  because our Chair is currently on medical leave, we will not be doing the hands-on grafting we did last year.  We hope, however, to be able to add it again for 2021

 

Oct. 12th @ 10 am: Cherimoyas Here, There, and Not Everywhere

Reflections on the Spanish and California Industries by Dr. Ben Faber.

The village of Jete is in the far back of this valley near Almunecar.  It’s all cherimoyas with olives on the hillsides. And nearly all of the cherimoyas are Fino de Jete with lots of seeds, smooth skin, and they all come ripe at the same time with no hand pollination!

Pruning and pollination practices vary considerably both here and in Spain. This is partly due to differences in the “Mediterranean Climates” that are found in the two areas.  We’ll look at those factors, as well as how pruning and pollination are affected by differences in the two “cultural climates”.

Our speaker will be Dr. Ben Faber.  Ben is an advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura, where he specializes in soils, water, and subtropical horticulture.  He has a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility, and he maintains a blog and a newsletter that the bulk of our commercial citrus and avocado growers learn from.  Dr. Faber was going to give his presentation on “Cherimoyas in Spain” at the recent Festival of Fruit   However, unfortunately, he was so sick he couldn’t make it.  Please join us for this very special presentation!  We will be in the MultiPurpose  Room at the Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Complex.

(Description courtesy of Alan Caramatti, our brand-new Program Chair)

 

Charles Portney on Blueberries July 13th @ 10 am (NB different location!)

For the very last chapter meeting I am solely responsible for arranging (thank you, new Program Chair Alan!) I have managed to persuade the esteemed Charles Portney to speak to us on “38 years of Amateur Blueberry Growing in Southern California”. 
 
I don’t know anyone who has grown as many different varieties of blueberries here, successfully, as Charles has and — bottom line — he is an amusing and highly authoritative speaker on just about anything.  Come to learn how you can grow this healthy and delicious fruit in pots or in the ground…. and, yes, without chemicals or animal-based products.
 
Because Charles will also be speaking at the Festival of Fruit in August, we had to switch our Field Trip month with our Chapter meeting month to accommodate his schedule, hence the July 13th date. 
 
In addition, because our normal Culver City location was already booked, we are — thanks to the hard work of our new Facilities Chair Cat —  able to try a different and temporary location:  the Reed Park Auditorium at 1133 Seventh Street in Santa Monica.  This is just above Wilshire Blvd in downtown Santa Monica;  and while there is some metered street parking on all four sides of the park, there is also parking a few blocks away at either City Parking Structure 9, (1136 4th Street) or the Public Library at 7th Street between Arizona and Santa Monica Boulevard.  Structure 9 is free for the first 90 minutes and then $2.00 for the next half hour and $1.50 for the next, at which point you should probably leave.  The Library lot is free for the first 30 minutes and then $1 for every half hour after that.  BUT the maximum for the whole day is $5 so once you’ve parked at the library, you could come to the meeting and then hit the beach and the Farmer’s Market for hours (or Sidecar Doughnuts across 7th Street from our meeting)

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.

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.

October 13th @ 10 am: Edgar Valdivia on Cherimoya and Figs

Edgar Valdivia is one of the great fruit growers and researchers in the Southland with a specific interest in developing  new varieties of fruit.  Seven years ago he counted 112 different types of fruit in his orchard and he has surely developed even  more by now.  It is the  casual way he imparts a lifetime of fruit growing wisdom, however, that  makes him a living legend and a cherished speaker.  We are extremely lucky to have snared him for our October 13th meeting.  He will be talking to us about  cherimoyas and figs.  Do not miss him!!

LET IT ROT! August 11th @ 10 am

Denise  “Deni” Friese of Custom Landscapes (whose services include eco-friendly design, consultation and installation) will speak to us on August 11th about composting and mulching in the orchard.   If you heard her at our last field trip/workshop, you know she is incredibly knowledgeable.  This time she will have the floor mostly to herself (though I’m sure our membership will be contributing their voices and experience as well.)

[Deni adds: “I am an Eco-Friendly Landscaper, own business since 1995, I do design, consultation, installation, specialty maintenance and irrigation. Love putting in edible gardens. My specialty is knowing plants and what they need to thrive. I try to help my clients design their own “dream yard”. I have been a Plant-a-holic for many years and have way too many plants. Joined CRFG a few years ago and love it]

Also the renowned Charles Portney will be describing rare  fruit trees he has propagated and will be generously donating to the day’s plant raffle.  These raffles seem to be shaping up as only semiannual  events so don’t miss this one!  The next one probably won’t be until our Holiday Party in December.

On the same note, if you have plants of your own to donate, this is the time.   And if you happen to have any treepots (the tall skinny pots used for rooting plants with long taproots, they come between 8” and 14” deep) Charles desperately needs them to continue his generous work.  They look like this.

And per usual, snacks to share will always be welcome. Now that Jane has donated a lovely glass beverage holder, we will be having something to drink at most meetings, so either homegrown fruit or hand-held crunchy things will be appreciated by one and all.

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.