October 2019

Ocean View Farms October E-News

Autumn is the season of change. ~Taoist proverb

butternut squash


Featured Instagram Photo of the Month: Butternut Squash on the Vine.


Upcoming Garden Events:

Oct. 5 - Fall Garden Planning - Advanced - 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Oct. 5 - Greenhouse Fundraiser - Noon - 1:00 PM
Oct. 12 - Saturday Workday - 9:00 AM - Noon 
Oct. 12 - Potluck Lunch - Noon 
Oct. 12 - General Meeting - 1:00 PM 
Oct. 27 - Sunday Workday - 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Useful info:

  • Happy fall everyone! Gardening in the fall can be a real treat. The cooler mornings and evenings combined with shorter days slow everything down. This means there is a lot less to do than over the summer months. You can water less, weed less and on the downside, harvest less. If you are a vegetable gardener, succession planting root crops like carrots and radishes will make sure that you always have something to harvest while waiting the months it can take for a single head of cabbage or cauliflower to appear. Broccoli can take a while to grow a head but after you’ve harvested, it will keep on giving small sprouts that will keep some green on the menu for months.  For those of you with roses in your plots or independent projects, read below for some cool-weather rose care from greenhouse keeper Nina Rumely.  Don’t forget to join us for Christy Wilhelmi’s Fall Gardening workshop on 10/5 at 9:30 and the greenhouse fundraiser at noon the same day.  If you can’t make the workshop, you can always check the Gardening in LA blog for some suggestions of what to do this month.
  • If you grow tropical milkweed in your plot (tropical milkweed has yellow flowers), now is the time to cut the plant back. Native milkweed is great for monarch butterflies but tropical milkweed can actually hurt butterfly populations. Monarchs are supposed to be migratory but when tropical milkweed is abundant, they sometimes decide to stick around the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, monarchs who fail to migrate are susceptible to a disease called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha which can kill the butterflies.  Your milkweed will grow back and you'll be doing something good for the fragile monarch butterfly population.
  • Each September Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds hosts an Heirloom Expo. Aside from a great lineup of speakers, there is always a giant pavillion stocked with a zillion different varieties of fruits and vegetables.  This year Roots and Refuge farm decided to do a 45 minutes video tour of the produce pavillion. If you have a seed addiction, watch at your own risk.


OVF Announcements: 

OVF Budget and Board Member Survey for Members

From OVF President Frank Harris,

OVF has faced some steep challenges to our budget over the last five years.  By far, the greatest challenge has been a significant, five-consecutive-year increase to our water rates.  The annual water line-item of our budget, the largest percentage of our total spending, has tripled from about $8,000 in 2015 to an estimated $24,000 this year. 

We’ve also been extremely fortunate over these last five years to have received a number of donations from production companies using the parking lot (there is no requirement for them to do this) and occasional filming in the garden itself. We were able to offset the increase in the water rate in the first year, using money from our savings account, before having to implement the plot fee increase that has been adopted the past three years. We’ve also been able to cover some unexpected expenses to almost all of the equipment used at OVF (the wood chipper -twice and new engines for both the shredder and tractor).  In addition, we've replaced all of the extremely dilapidated wood in the general meeting area and the area under the pine tree. Lastly, we've added a new sun-screen feature to the general meeting area and more than tripled our capacity to collect the scarce rain water we get.  We’ve been able to cover all of the above expenses, without using any monies from the annual plot fees we collect and still had surplus from these donations to add to our savings.  As they have always been, plot fees are used solely to cover our expected expenses for the following year.

In perhaps a reverse homage to Charles Dickens, it was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

With that said, we would very much like to ask you to answer a few questions about the OVF Budget and Board by completing the following survey on our website:


If there are enough responses prior to the October general meeting, results will be shared at that time.  Otherwise, they will be shared at the December General Meeting.


OVF Greenhouse Fundraiser

Please join us in the community meeting room on Saturday, October 5th at noon for a fall greenhouse fundraiser. There will be a huge variety of plants available at this sale. Included in the sale will be three different types of plants with “broccoli” in their common names.  

Green magic broccoli is a classic variety that most American’s are used to.  It will be similar to the commercial varieties that you would find at the grocery store though the heads might be a tad smaller than the giant heads you are used to seeing the produce aisle. It will also, most likely, be tastier than that you would find in the produce aisle. This variety tolerates heat better than many other broccoli varieties, which helps if we have a warm winter. Like most broccoli, once you cut off the main head, the plant should produce lots of side shoots which go great in stir fry or are lovely to eat raw right off the plant.

Two less familiar brobroccoli raabccoli relatives are broccoli raab and Chinese broccoli also known as gai lan. Both are the same in terms of harvesting; think of them as "cut and come again". Neither forms heads like conventional broccoli, but instead you harvest the small shoots that form.

Broccoli raab is widely used in Italian cooking. It has an intriguing bitter taste.  It is closer in relation to mustard greens than headed broccoli. Broccoli raab plants matures very quickly.  Once the shoots appear, cut 6-inch pieces for consumption. Be careful not to let them bolt as this will make them bitter. Prepare by blanching for 2 minutes, then rinsing in cold water. Sauté in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes.  Serve as is or over pasta with a sprinkling of Parmesan. 

Chinchinese broccoliese broccoli has tender, delicate-tasting stems, sweeter than most head-forming broccoli.  They are lovely when steamed and dressed with soy sauce. You could also stir fry them with chicken or tofu and scallions and serve over rice. Chinese broccoli is easy to grow and generally very forgiving - though it will bolt if the weather gets too hot. It grows relatively fast and is ready to harvest in 60-70 days.  Start harvesting when the first flowers appear.  Cut the stalks about 8 inches from the top of the plants to encourage a continuous supply of leaves. 

Thanks to our Greenhouse Keeper Nina Rumely for providing the information about broccoli raab and Chinese broccoli.  Thanks to the entire greenhouse crew for starting and stepping up so many plants.

Please remember that the sale has become very popular so arrive early for best selection and bring small bills. Nina BEGS, BEGS you to please rinse & return pots to the wood bin outside the greenhouse. Please put them inside the bin.

Fall Rose Care

By Nina Rumely

As summer days wane, it’s time to start getting your roses ready for dormancy. Since we don’t really have a winter chill, we need to help our roses takes a break from blooming. Roses can suffer if allowed to bloom year-round.

The month of October is the last time to fertilize your roses. This ensures a good fall bloom. I apply about 1/3 a cup Dr. Earth Flower & Bloom fertilizer per bush and then water in well. After Thanksgiving, instead of cutting off faded blooms, pull off the rose petals and let rose hips form. These seeds pods tell the rose to stop blooming. Also back off on watering.  Dormant roses need watering only once every 12-14 days.

When it’s time to prune the rose back in late December & January, you should prune out old gray canes down to the base and cut back the newer canes by 1/3 to ½. Strip off all of the leaves to make room for the new leaves that come out in the spring. This last step helps in disease prevention. Lastly, add a layer of horse manure or compost as mulch.

Your roses will thank you come spring!


Recycling Update

You may have seen the news last month that California's largest recycling center is closing.  This is part of a larger trend of closings as cities try to grapple with the economics of our society's waste streams.  That's why we were so excited when a few OVF members decided to take matters, specifically aluminum and plastic matters, into their own hands!

Steve Ballantine (2L D36), Ed Mossman (3U E53) and James Redmond (4L A59) took OVF's collected cans and bottles to the recycling center in Venice.  It's no easy task, with limited parking and heavy traffic.  But the center's employees kept things moving efficiently with packers, weighing machines and automatic payments for customers.

The trip netted the garden $103, which will be invested back into our general operations.  You can help by bringing your recyclable glass and plastic bottles and cans to the bins just inside the main gate at the top of Phase 2.

Huge thanks to Steve, Ed and James for helping out the garden, and the planet!

recycling center visit

 As always: we want to hear from you!  Send us an email, reach out on Facebook, or tag us on Instagram @oceanviewfarms. 

That’s all for now.  Happy gardening!