Mulberry Tasting

This is pretty far for us but I know some of you will go the ends of the earth to taste new and different fruit.   If you plan to, register ASAP.  Space is very limited.  And enjoy!

Boy, did we have a great time at Sylmar High School!

Steve List's fabulous tomato plants

Steve List and Stefan Strong couldn’t have been more welcoming or informative and the work they and their students have done couldn’t be more impressive.  We were especially moved by Steve’s dedication to making horticulture and the gardens a safe place for those students who need one.

We lucked out with beautiful weather , enjoyed seeing many many thriving collections of plants (pollinator gardens, medicinal herb gardens, a whole slew of bearing orchards, a monster pitaya and chickens!) and went home with some lovely lavender plants.  Thank you to Steve and Stefan and to those members who made the trek out there.  It  was definitely worth it.

Photo above by Margaret Frane, of Steve and Stefan with their amazing tomato plants.  In containers and only watered twice (with rain water) this year.

May 13th Field Trip to Sylmar High School — Members Only!

Sylmar High School Agricultural Department head, Steve List has invited us for a tour of their amazing facility. The growing areas were built up from an empty lot by students over many years and are now a magnificent, multi-zoned field replete with ponds, farm animals, compost pits, and a worm farm.  There are multiple fruit trees and vegetable beds, hot houses, chickens, desert plants, and more, all fortified by the school’s own blend of enriched potting soil.

 There will be garden tours and information on fruit tree growing.  Steve teaches urban agriculture, nutrition, and edible landscaping to hundreds of students daily.  They learn to love gardening!   Steve is a great and knowledgeable speaker.   This is a remarkable garden.  Hope to see you there!

Address, time and other details in newsletter you should have received.  If you haven’t, please Contact Us,

Meeting April 8th @ 10 am: Portney on Pawpaws!

the common pawpaw

The inimitable Charles Portney will be speaking to us on everything pawpaw in a long-awaited return to face to face meetings in the MultiPurpose Room… with pawpaw sorbet… and  cookies!  You may remember that Don Winterstein wrote about Pawpaws in a recent issue of the Fruit Gardener.  Charles started corresponding with him about the topic and now we will be the beneficiaries of their shared knowledge and experience.  (If you didn’t see the article, pawpaws are the largest native fruit in North America, are celebrated on the third Thursday in September — National Pawpaw Day — as well as being the State Native Fruit of Ohio.  Take that, rhubarb!)

Because Charles will be projecting some pawpaw pix, we will probably be meeting inside where the movie screen lives. Still, the room is large and we can safely distance to our hearts’ content.  Charles will also be using a mic so the wary can set up outside on the patio.

Late breaking news: Don Winterstein may also be in the house!  This should be a can’t-miss  meeting.


Photo by Clarknova on  Wikipedia

Yes, our field trip today is on!

Mark Abraham, our host at Will Rogers Learning Garden, says short of a downpour we are welcome to come visit.  It is still vaguely drizzling but we are a hardy bunch.  Who doesn’t remember our field trip to Paradise Nursery in Chatsworth in the midst of the fires that surrounded it?  Sometimes the more difficult trips are the most memorable.  See you there!

What NOT to exchange at our Scion Exchange

It’s pretty straightforward:  no citrus scions or budwood (this includes curry leaf) plus no plants still under patent.   And of course nothing that is sick or bug infested.

A shout-out to Martin Kou, Chair of Foothill for spreading  the word and to the Orange County chapter for locating the list of current patents.  Note that the spreadsheet  shows some varieties highlighted in green which are now okay to exchange.

If you can’t open an Excel file, please let us know and we can send you a .pdf which is unfortunately much more difficult to read.


Scion Exchange Back in Multi-Purpose Room!

All of you worried about finding our new location in the Culver City Veterans Memorial Complex can now relax.  We have been returned to our beloved MultiPurpose Room for all of  2023.  Barring rain, the scion tables will be set up outside, as they were last year.   Those bringing scions should try to get them down on the tables sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 when the exchange proper will start. And for those of you who are new to our Culver City home, a map is here.

Inside, there will be two grafting demo tables manned by our esteemed experts:  previous-Chair Bruce Blavin who has taught grafting to school children and can teach it to you.   And member AJ, famous all over Youtube as The Graft Man.  How can you miss with these guys?  For the protection of our experts and fellow graft-learners, anyone inside  must be masked.

As is traditional, members donating scion wood get the first crack at the tables, then members and then anyone else who is interested.  Because we are still practicing social distancing (and because our Enforcer — the Machete — has already had COVID twice), this will be on the honor system since we don’t want to get all up-close-and-personal checking membership status.  (And if you want member priority, please sign  up online before Saturday. ) We would request that you limit  yourself to one piece of scion wood until everyone has had a chance to get some.  After that, free for all!



Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

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