From Cottonwood Urban Farm’s website: “In the winter of 2012, educator and LA native Elliott Kuhn began converting a dusty, vacant plot in Panorama City into a highly productive urban farm. Nestled in the basin of the Tujunga Wash, Cottonwood Urban Farm (CUF) uses creative growing techniques (season extension, intercropping, succession planting) to cultivate a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs without the use of any large scale commercial farming equipment.
CUF is currently in a transformational phase of becoming a boutique agricultural enterprise that provides a reliable source of locally grown produce to serve the needs of restaurants, chefs and community members concerned with sustainability. With a deep connection to community, education, and ecology, CUF places social responsibility first and has an ongoing contract with a local substance abuse program for youth. The program provides participants with a 10-week ecology course and horticulture therapy through work at the farm.”
The LA Chapter visited the farm last month and came back with glowing reports. This is the WLA Chapter’s turn.
Read more about the farm here. Like all field trips, this is for members only please. No children or dogs.
Speaker: Pieter Severynen
When: October 14th @ 10 a.m.
Most people have only a very limited concept of what takes place underground when they plant and care for a fruit tree or an orchard; as a result they do not have enough information to make the best decisions. In this talk Landscape Architect, Consulting Arborist, Southern California Fruit Tree Expert, and Storyteller Pieter Severynen will illustrate and explore cutting edge insights in what happens below the surface in ‘The Underground Jungle’, a term for the fiercely competitive, microbial rich underworld playing out in the soil volume occupying the space between the earth surface and the bedrock below. Pieter will follow the Sugar Trail, starting with the manufacture of sugars through photosynthesis in the leaves, and ending in their handover by the plant to the protective mycorrhizal fungi that have been wrapping around tree roots for hundreds of millions of years; he will outline the reciprocal services provided by the mycorrhizae to the host plant; and the interactions between the millions of commonly occurring bacteria, viruses, fungi, nematodes, archaea, protozoa, slime molds, algae, gastropods, arthropods, earthworms, and higher animals in turn attracted either to the original feeding troughs around the microscopic root systems or as higher level predators. He will show which actors in the underground food web are harmful, which ones beneficial and the ones that can be either. Using the most up to date scientific insights, he will explain which cultural management practices are most beneficial in orchard and vegetable garden, and why, making the speech as practical as it is informational. Most of the photographs in this richly illustrated ‘Underground Jungle’ talk are unknown to the public; many were generated by electron microscope. As one reviewer of an earlier segment of the speech noted: ‘This Is National Geographic Meets Storytelling’.
Tom del Hotal, a long-time San Diego chapter member, has created dozens upon dozens of fully-illustrated presentations and briefer handouts on topic ranging from Air-layering to the handout shown here: Rare Fruit for Climates with Relatively Frost Free Winters.
By illustration, this 5-page handout is the distillation of an 81-page .pdf on the same topic. Find them all here.
Where: Field Trips are for members only. Please check your newsletter or contact us for the address.
This is the first of our workshop/field trips. Various members (and perhaps some outside experts) will share their mostly gentle ways of handling invasions. If you have found a solution that you want to share, definitely let us know and we will slot you in ( no bazookas, please)!
Also, please do not bring samples of your critters to the meeting. We do NOT want to infest our gracious hosts’ yard. If you have a problem you want help with, take a clear photo and send to https://www.whatsthatbug.com/ask-whats-that-bug/. Once you have an ID we can brainstorm at the meeting.
Please DO bring samples of whatever you have ripening right now for our fruit calendar. Also snacks to share and plants to sell would be nice.
As you may have noticed at our last meeting, we have decided to follow the LA Chapter’s lead and substitute the Silent Auction format for Plant Raffles. The selling and then drawing of tickets just became too cumbersome, especially at the Culver City location where we had to be out of the room precisely at noon. Member Jane Coogan Beer will be supplying us with a handy sign-up sheet for each item. The minimum starting price will be on it. If you have signed up for a plant, please listen for the announcements at 11:50 (Last Call) and 11:55 (Auction Closed) so you can claim your prize if you have won. If the top bidder doesn’t respond to the Closing Announcement, the item will go to the next highest bidder.
WHEN: August 12th @ 10 am (promptly!)
LOCATION: Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City 90230
Mark Steele, a CRFG member and a member of the Los Angeles chapter, is an avid fruit grower who lives in Ventura. His small yard is packed with various fruiting plants, especially bananas. He currently grows about 20 different varieties of bananas, most of which he has succeeded in fruiting. He became obsessed with bananas after receiving one as a birthday gift from a friend about seven years ago.
Mark is a professor of biology at CSU Northridge where he teaches various marine biology classes and does research of marine fishes. His talk will cover the basics of banana biology and provide advice about varieties that do well in Southern California and how to grow them.
If you have eaten a home-grown banana, you know that they are very much sweeter and tastier than those you buy in the grocery store. According to the CRFG Fruit Facts, bananas are “fast-growing herbaceous perennials arising from underground rhizomes,” not trees. They are a plant that can be grown quite successfully here in Southern California if they are given proper soil conditions and are protected from temperatures below freezing. Mark will tell us more about how to do this successfully.
Plan to come and learn a lot more about growing bananas!
Also please bring fruit and other treats to share with our members.
Please bring any plants that you have to raffle or sell! Sharing plant material and related information is what CRFG is all about.