Charles Portney, one of CRFG’s pre-eminent propagators, is sending more than 50 plants (including 6-10 Becky’s Mystery banana pups) to our plant sale, wahoo. We need, however, someone to pick them up at his place in Santa Monica and bring them to the Culver City Veterans’ Memorial Building on the morning of December 10th. Charles’ yard (where he grows virtually all his food) is legendary but he no longer opens it to field trips so if you want an opportunity to glimpse it, this is your chance! Please Contact Us if you are willing and able.
Photo of truck by Kevin Berrios on Unsplash , Photo of banana by Mockup Graphics on Unsplash
Yes, it is that time of year again. Haul out your party clothes (and potluck luncheon) and also any plants you have been propagating or any money you have been stashing away for new stuff.
Additional plants will be added to the plant list here right up until Sale Day (so keep checking) and per usual, even more will show up without warning. So expect to be amazed.
Plant drop off between 11 and 11:30 (I know I used this photo last year but it is just so perfect.)
PLEASE NOTE: Except in the unlikely event of rain, our plant sale will be entirely outside on the patio, for COVID, flu and RSV safety
Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash
Please be aware that we will be unable to Zoom this field trip because there is no cell reception up on the mountain. So far eight members are heading up. Why not join them?
This is something totally new for us! It has nothing to do with fruit but it does have to do with climate change which is already affecting us (chill-hours anyone?) and will continue to do so more and more until we wise up.
Angeles Crest Creamery is a goat ranch in the San Gabriel Mountains, that was dedicated to developing a low-input and climate-change-resilient model for meat & dairy in Southern California, and providing educational opportunities for Angelinos interested in learning more about how food can be produced regeneratively in our local mountains. The property is a private inholding in the Angeles National Forest. Prior to the establishment of the Forest, the property was deeded under the Homestead Act. Cattle ranching was common in the area at the time and some of the original 19th century structures are still on the property. There are also adorable ducklings!
Tragically the Bobcat Fire of September 2020 destroyed nearly 80% of the ranch and owner Gloria Putnam is now in the process of paring down her goat herd and trying to determine what her land needs from her going forward.
Obviously this is a longer distance field trip than is the norm for us but one that seems well worth the gas and effort. If you are interested in going, either alone or in a car pool (totally vaccinated for that, please) let us know ASAP. Dependent on reception up there, we will also be Zooming.
Photo by Ray Aucott on Unsplash
Dr. Smither-Kopperl covered a whole array of topics quickly but thoroughly and here are some of the resources she mentioned to help us incorporate her wisdom and experience into our day to day (or year to year) planting.
First, the website of her home base is here.
You can find many valuable resources on it, including the “periodic table” of cover crops she showed us here. A list of seed vendors here. And a report on the use of cover crops in almond orchards and vineyards here.
In addition, UC Davis has its own excellent Cover Crop database here.
The Cover Crop Solution chart from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply up in Grass Valley, CA) is here. I have ordered many times from them and their seed is reliable, cheap and available in quantities as small as 1 pound . Margaret mentioned S&S seeds even closer to us in Carpenteria. Their site allows you to filter seeds by water requirements, location, etc. Their minimum order, however, is 5 pounds and the Xerces Pollinator Mix Margaret mentioned is $84 a pound!
And finally the Cover Crops Best Management Practices guide for Almond Growers published by the UCANR at UCDavis is here. Its first page is a lovely photograph of a cover crop in an almond grove which visually illuminates the whole notion of using cover crops among our trips. Enjoy!
Thanks to an excellent talk by Deni Freis a few years ago, we all know about rain barrels and storm water collection. A far easier way of putting that scarce (nonexistent?) rain water to use — while simultaneously improving the fertility and tilth of your soil and the happiness of the good bugs — is with cover crops. If you already use them, you will be eager to hear Margert Smither-Kopperl’s newest information on them. If you are still in the dark, this Saturday’s meeting will be a real eye opener and a treat.
Specifics for fruit growers will include: Overview of what to consider when planning a cover crop in an orchard. What are your goals and what are the resource concerns that you plan to address? For example, are there problems with soil erosion, weedy species, insect pests, nematodes? Do you need pollinator species? Do you wish to add nitrogen through use of a cover crop? Consider the equipment that you have available and options for managing the cover crop. After this you can decide the most suitable species for your orchard.
Margaret is Manager of the 106-acre USDA-NRCS Lockeford Plant Materials Center (CAPMC), in California’s Central Valley since 2010. The CAPMC supports NRCS in California by testing plant species including cover crops and pollinator species, and is a site to demonstrate soil health. Her agricultural experience started in England with fruit and vegetable production, her BSc.is in botany from the University of London, and her Ph.D. is in Plant Pathology from Michigan State University.
Beyond all these professional and academic accomplishments, she is a captivating speaker and we are so very lucky to get a chance to hear her. (Fellow bee keepers will also be thrilled to know that she has been at the forefront of encouraging farmers to create wildflower hedgerows for the endangered pollinators. )
Chapter members will receive Zoom links in this week’s newsletter. If you are not a member but want to be included, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash
Obviously not our traditional Second Saturday meeting day (or meeting time for that matter), but we are just so grateful to Dan Nelson for finding another slot for us — after draconian weather forecasts led him and us to cancel the trip in early September.
Temperatures should be much more comfortable for all concerned so make sure to get this onto your calendar pronto. Unfortunately, we don’t have a plant availability/price list yet but will get it to chapter members as soon as we do.
By now all chapter members should have received the address and plant price list for our field trip on the 10th. If you haven’t, please let us know! Because we are going to be allowed to park on the grounds this year, there will also be an updated address in your meeting reminder later this week.
Please, please, please email the list of your wants to us by Wednesday so we can get them to Laverne in time for them to pull the plants. They will be waiting for us at the end of the tour. They have to be paid for in CASH.
If you need more information on the size of the plants, this is a more detailed .pdf. The dates listed are when the plants, mostly described last week as SS or substandard, are expected to be up to snuff. Some of the dates will have already passed by the time we get to Piru and therefore those plants should be full size. Other dates are as soon as 10/1 but some are not until next year. Please keep that in mind when making your selections. You can also see the number of plants available for each size. and their actual dimensions.
Many of you have been startled by how much more expensive the plants are this year than in the past. We are assuming the skyrocketing prices of gas and water have much to do with that. Out of curiosity, I stopped by my local Armstrong’s Garden Center today where 5 gallon citrus trees are $59.99 and 5 gallon avocados are $69.99. Obviously the prices we are being offered are much better than that.
Anyhow, plant acquisitions aside, this is always one of my favorite tours. Our host, Director of Nursery Operations Dan Nelson, is both knowledgeable and charming and it is always fascinating to see how the pros propagate and grow up some of our most loved plants.
For the first time in almost three years, we are finally getting up close and personal again with the amazing growing fields (and propagation greenhouse) of the great wholesale fruit nursery LaVerne . It was recently purchased by Everde Growers but we have been assured the staff and congeniality will remain the same. This is primarily an outdoor field trip (with the exception of the grafting tables/ greenhouse) so you will need a hat. Also there are no restrooms so stake out nearby gas stations!
Exact address and further details will be sent to members as soon as we have them; as will, of course, a plant availability list for any who want to buy fresh new plants at wholesale.
Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash
Sorry, folks. Ernesto’s travel plans changed and he will be back in Davis next week. So we will be back to meeting on our jammies (on Zoom!) as we have for most of the past two years.
Note that despite the fact that LaVerne Nursery has been sold, Dan Nelson is still there and our tour with him in September is still on . If you haven’t done the LaVerne tour before, don’t miss it. It is fabulous. I’m going for the third time.
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash