March 2020

March 2020 E-Newsletter

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. 

-Laura Ingalls Wilder 


winter harvest


Featured Instagram Photo of the Month: A colorful winter harvest. 


Upcoming Garden Events: 
Mar. 14 - Saturday Workday - 9:00 AM– Noon 
Mar. 21 -Tomato-bration day 1 - 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Mar. 23 -Tomato-bration day 2 - 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM 
Mar. 29 - Sunday Workday - 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 



Useful info: 

  • Spring is nigh!  Plants are growing faster, days are getting longer, and daylight saving time begins next week.  After a watching our plots trod along in the winter weather, it’s nice to see everything reinvigorated with the spring.  This is the gardener's busiest season.  Get your hands dirty.  Start summer crops for transplanting and/or get your beds ready to transplant purchased seedlings.  Tomato-bration is scheduled for March 21st and 22nd so if you’re a fan of tomatoes, the time to prep your plot is now!  When was the last time you amended your soil? If you skipped adding soil amendments in the fall and planted heavy feeders this winter, it’s also a good idea to add a layer of compost, manure or other organic amendment to your garden bed before planting. Other ideas for the March garden can be found on the Gardening in LA blog.  

  • March is also a great time to get out and visit public gardens and take gardening classes.  The Los Angeles Community Garden Council and Gardening in LA sites keep  fairly comprehensive events pages.  The Los Angeles Master Gardeners also host a very good Grow LA Victory Garden class series each spring.  There are classes all over town including East Santa Monica and at the Learning Garden at Venice High School. 

  • There are a couple of great events happening at the beginning of April that you should put on your calendar now.  April 4th will be both the greenhouse fundraiser, as well as an exciting new workshop on how to install drip irrigation in your plot. See the Announcements below for more information about the workshop. 



OVF Announcements:

Tomato-Bration 2020 

Tomato-Bration turns sweet 16 this year!  That’s sixteen years of beautiful organically grown tomato plants of every shape and color on sale at OVF for one weekend only.  The sale is open to the public, so feel free to bring a friend.  Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farms brings a truck-load of tomato seedlings, herbs and other goodies to sell each year. Tomatoes go on sale Saturday March 21st at 9:00am and the sale continues until Sunday at 3:00pm or until there is nothing left to sell. Once again this year, Barbara will join us for a tomato growing workshop and Q&A at 10:00am each day.   It’s a great event and one not to be missed if you love growing tomatoes.    

We couldn’t run Tomato-Bration without wonderful garden volunteers.  If you’re looking for a fun way to earn community service hours, please contact Andy Morris to get involved.  



Feeling inspired by Super Tuesday?  Now is your chance to run for an elected position and make a difference.  

Here are the people currently on the ballot for the April 11th general meeting.  There is still time to add your name to the list. 

  • President – Nina Rumely 

  • Treasurer – Carol Velkes* 

  • Recording Secretary – Rena Sonshine* 

  • Education Chair – Andy Morris* 

  • Middle Phase 1 Phase Representative – Karen Pinto 

  • Lower Phase 1 Phase Representative – Les Hairrell 

  • Lower Phase 2 Phase Representative – Janet Williams* 

  • Lower Phase 3 Phase Representative – Wendy Scott* 

  • Lower Phase 4 Phase Representative – Angie Mason* 

* - Indicates incumbent 

Thank you to everyone who is currently donating their time to the board. 

If you are interested in running for any of these positions, please contact Election Coordinator Nora Dvosin


Uncommon Plants That I Grow 

Hi, it’s Tara, your friendly newsletter editor.  I usually like to remain hidden behind a chipper third-person voice – but this newsletter was a little light on content and I thought I would try out a new column idea  I’ve been tossing about for awhile.  One of my favorite things about having my own garden plot is getting to fill it with unusual items that I can’t find (or are prohibitively expensive) at the local markets.  I know I’m not the only one around the garden who like growing unusual produce and flowers. Thanks to the diverse offerings of our excellent greenhouse program, we’ve seen quite the explosion of gardeners branching out and trying new and uncommon plants in their plots.  This month I’m going to feature one uncommon plant from my garden, but perhaps in June, someone else around the garden would like to take up the mantle and showcase something unusual they are growing?  Pretty please?  Write me and let me know if you’d like to be our next feature. 


Today I thought I would spotlight the pepino melon (Solanummuricatum).  I love my pepino melon plant because 1) it embodies the spirit of community gardening: I was gifted a cutting of it by my lovely neighbor Ann 2) it seems to thrive no matter how many times I dig it up and move it or abuse it in some other way 3) it has fruit on it more often than it does not and 4) my kid likes it.   


Pepino melon is an evergreen perennial.  It grows in a small bush that will spread out after a few years but the growth is slow enough to be easily contained. Pepino is the Spanish word for cucumber.  However, the pepino melon is neither cucumber nor melon though it tastes like a bit of both. If you let the fruit get appropriately ripe, it most resembles a subtly sweet cucumber but with a firm, yet soft, flesh like a firmer melon.   The pepino melon hails from the Andes and is “popular in Peru” according to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  However, my Peruvian friend had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned the plant to him and then was vaguely unimpressed when he finally saw what I was growing: “ahh, I have seen those before, I don’t like them that much.”    


The fruit takes a while to ripen but can be picked once it’s reached a mature size and then left in a bowl until it’s turned yellow with a slight fragrance but is still fairly firm. Mature fruit can reach the size of a small, closed fist though some will be smaller.  The fruit begins as a light green.  As it ripens it develops purple stripes and then finally will start to turn a pale yellow. Most people don’t eat the skin but it’s thin enough to eat and not unpleasant. Some people sprinkle on a little sugar on the flesh, though I’ve never tried it.  Pepino melon would make a nice addition to a salsa or wrapped in prosciutto if melon and prosciutto is your kind of thing. This fruit is not going to change your world – but it is quite pleasant when enjoyed perfectly ripe and like snacking on a cucumber when consumed while still green. Over the years, I’ve developed a small following of people who will inquire if I have some extra fruit to share – so I know I’m not the only one who likes it.  


Right now, my pepino plant is covered in tons of baby “melons”, so I don’t have any fruit to share.  However, feel free to stop by my plot and have a gander.  I’m at the top of the fence in Upper Phase 1, plot G6 and the plant sits against the fence along the parking lot making for easy viewing from outside the garden.  If you’d like to try growing this usual plant, message me and I’m happy to give out as many cuttings at the plant will allow. This hardy plants seems to transplant just fine from cuttings any time of year except in the hottest part of the summer.   


So that’s the pepino melon in a nutshell.  Now what unususal plants are you growing? 


pepino melo


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!