Dragon Fruit! April 10th @ 10 a.m.

Speaker: Ramiro Lobo

Ramiro Lobo is the University of California’s Small Farms & Agricultural Economics Advisor with areas of expertise ranging alphabetically from Ag Commodities through Subtropical Fruit and on to Urban Agriculture, not to overlook a detour through (and this is a moutful)  the Protection of  Food From Contamination By Pathogenic Microorganisms, Parasites, and Naturally Occurring Toxins.

He has published many many  many papers on such topics asSample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Guavas in San Diego County”. “Encouraging Adoption of IPM by Small Scale Farmers,” and “The Sensory Quality and Postharvest Performance of Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars Grown in Southern California”. I think it is safe to call him UC Agriculture’s own Renaissance Man.

For our April 10th meeting, however, he is going to talk to us about Dragon Fruit. Or Pitahaya. Or maybe Pitaya, which it turns out is a different genus altogether.  If we are very good, he will tell us about the field research he’s been conducting. And teach us about pruning, propagation, pollination, and when it’s the right time to harvest your fruit for optimum quality.

I know many of us (including me)) have tried and failed to grow dragon fruit successfully in West Los Angeles.  This is our  chance to figure out what we’ve been doing wrong!

Members will receive all Zoom information in the forthcoming newsletter.



photo by Polina Kuzovkova on Unsplash

Chocolate – Cacao – Brewed Cocoa! Eric Durtschi tells all on Saturday, March 13th @ 10 am

The son of a candy maker, Dr. Eric Durtschi of Durci had an intense passion for all things chocolate from an early age and started developing dessert recipes with chocolate at 8 years old. He decided to pursue a profession in health and wellness, and as a chiropractor, he was frequently asked to offer diet and healthy living advice. During his research, he learned that cocoa (or cacao) was an amazing superfood in its unadulterated state. He began development of the world’s first brewed cocoa in 2007. His mission is simply to help chocolate lovers rediscover how wonderful chocolate can be.

Eric will be giving a brief introduction to chocolate, going over the history and origins of chocolate up through the current artisan chocolate world.

Members  will receive all Zoom links shortly.



Photo by Ly Le Minh on Unsplash

Video of Grafting Demos now available

I have never seen such enthusiasm for our Grafting Demos and the Experts who performed them!  Many of you want to watch them over and over again.  If you let me know you would like the video, I will “share” it with you from our Google Drive.  Because of chapter privacy policies, this is for members only.  Thanks.

Scion Wood is now all gone

As discussed at our grafting demo meeting Saturday morning, we received a ton of wonderful scion wood from Kathy Connell of Orange  County who also brought up wood from the North San Diego Chapter’s exchange.

The Scion Exchange is now over, however, and all wood has been distributed. Unless you specifically and privately organized an Exchange with another member, we are now done until at least tropical fruit grafting season.

Our annual grafting demos 2-13-21; on Zoom this year for closer viewing!

You’ve seen them and admired them at our Culver City events  Now learn grafting from them  in the comfort of your own home.

Experts Bruce Blavin,  Khaled Hassan and Glen Woodmansee will be showing us their dazzling knife work, beginning at 10 a.m.  Each in turn will be doing a demo of his  favorite grafts, with plenty of time to ask questions.  You will receive your Zoom links in your newsletter this week.

And check out Fang’s Amazing Scion Exchange app to lay in plenty of supplies for the event.  New scion wood keeps getting added so if you haven’t found what you wanted yet, try again.


Links to stuff we heard about from Tom Spellman

What a great meeting that was on Saturday!  I am a little snowed under right now trying to get our Scion Exchange app working, but since I’m getting questions, I did want to put up links to the updated R. Sanford Martin  “How to Prune Fruit Trees” that Tom worked on.

Despite Tom’s assurances we could find it anywhere, it seems you have to order it directly from the Walter Anderson Nursery down in San Diego here.    I ordered my copy Saturday and it’s already shipped!

Also, for those of you who couldn’t write fast enough as  Tom rattled off his successes in the Irvine Ranch high-chill apple experiment, you can see a Youtube of the 6th year harvest here.

I write pretty fast but then cannot read my own handwriting, so these are my best guesses of his favorites from the trial:  Mutsu, Dixie Red Delight, King David, Lady Williams,  Red Fuji, and Sundowner. If I got any of that wrong or forgot something, please let me know!

Note Tom was recommending low-N, high P, high K fertilizers for these apples once they reached bearing size.  It does not mean you want low N for everything in your orchard.   Someone mentioned in the Chat a GrowMore product that s/he felt would suit but I didn’t manage to copy the person’s name.  GrowMore mostly sells to commercial growers so it would be interesting to know where their products are available to us layfolks.  Since I am entirely organic and also mostly avoid  animal-byproducts I find Peaceful Valley Farm Supply a reliable source for organic fertilizers and they even have a chart on their site showing the relative NPKs for their products..

January 9th @ 10 a.m. : Tom Spellman on pruning deciduous fruit trees!

What a way to start off the year with a bang!  The irrepressible, irreplaceable and enormously  experienced Tom Spellman of Dave Wilson Nursery will be answering your questions about how to handle this winter’s pruning chores.  First, we will be showing a couple of his videos so you can see exactly how he handles both the pruning of young trees and those of more advanced years (like yours truly).  Then he will be taking the mic to help you resolve your specific issues.

If you have a  particularly unusual problem, take a photo of it and put it on your computer or phone so you can “share” it with us at the appropriate time.

All members will be receiving Zoom links in your newsletter ASAP

Capers! Zoom meeting Saturday, October 10th @ 10 am

The capers you buy in little jars at the grocery store began as flower buds on a caper shrub (capparis spinosa).  If you have a dry, sunny spot – even one that you neglect – a caper would grow there.  Mature caper shrubs are attractive plants that love sun, don’t require much care or water, have very few problems, and put on an abundant show of beautiful flowers all summer long.  If you’re willing to do a little post-harvest processing, they also produce buds and berries that can add a burst of Mediterranean flavor to your salads and cooking.  Cured capers keep for a year!  (Or until your next harvest).

Join us via Zoom for a presentation by Alan Caramatti on his 34 years of experience growing capers.  This will be a live presentation only; it will not be recorded.   Chapter members should have received login information with their newsletter.

If you are not a member but would like to hear Alan’s talk, contact us for access.


Photo by Stefan Johnson on Unsplash