August 2020 E-Newsletter
"Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade."
Featured Instagram Photo of the Month: The Children’s Garden is Beautiful Year Round
Upcoming Garden Events:
Aug. 8 - Saturday Workday - 9:00 AM - Noon RSVP
Aug. 30 - Sunday Workday - 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
- What is something positive we can say about the weather this past July? Let see: 1) With many of us stuck at home, at least we haven’t had to spend too much money cooling our residences! 2) The marine layer that only burns off for limited hours each day is lowering the fire risk. 3) It’s been a very pleasant temperature for gardening. Unfortunately, pleasant gardening weather doesn’t necessary mesh with our summer crops. Summer plants like it hot. Depending on which of the garden’s microclimates you belong to, you might be noticing the effects of a cool July more than others. Telltale signs of a cool, wet summer are increase disease, lower production and slowed ripening times.
- For August, keep removing diseased leaves (and throwing them in the trash - not the compost). When a plant is done producing, go ahead and pull it. Keep on top of your harvest to keep production up. It’s time to start thinking about your fall garden. What do you want to plant? Where will it go? If you’re starting from seeds work backwards to calculate when you need to start your plants to get in them in the ground on time. Here is a useful planting chart for our region (though the coastal climate often throws a curveball that most planting guides miss).
Board President’s Update
At the most recent meeting, The Board decided to extend the deadline for getting all your community hours to December 31. More than half of the membership is short their reduced hours for 2020 ( 6 hours/plot) Please fulfill your community hours requirement as that is a condition for plot renewal.
Saturday & Sunday workdays have resumed, though there is a limit of 36 volunteers with reserved spaces and 6 walk in spaces.
The next workday is Saturday, August 8, 9-12. Reservations open on Saturday, August 1. To reserve a space, click on the pomegranate photo on the Home page which takes you to the reservation page. You will receive a confirmation after you sign up.
Sadly, theft continues to be a problem. Theft is such a violation of the community garden spirit. Please think how you would you feel if someone took your prize tomato if you were saving the seeds.
The 13th Annual TOMATO TASTING!
That's right, we're doing it! The 13th Annual Ocean View Farms Tomato Tasting will be held in August. It might look a little different this year, but no virus is going to stop this community from sharing our wonderful summer bounty.
If you'd like to participate in this year's Tomato Tasting, please email the following details to our Education Chair Andy (P1D17). Everyone who submits a valid entry will be entered into a drawing for hundreds of dollars worth of fabulous prizes from Merrihews Garden Center, Armstrong and Marina Garden Center. Winners will be announced in September.
- A picture of your tomato whole (we recommend taking a picture against a solid color background)
- A picture of your tomato sliced in half, or as part of whatever dish you make with it
- A picture of your smiling face (optional)
- A bit more information about your tomato (click this link to answer a few short questions, or copy this URL into your browser: forms.gle/qDbhdBfP8dKRYThX8)
There is a gate closing slot from August 9-15th that needs filling right away. Please sign up in the shed.
Ed Mosman, the Gardenmaster, is seeking responsible volunteers to become workday supervisors. You must have been an OVF member for at least 5 years and worked a few workdays yourself. Contact Ed if you would like to help.
Covid Sabbatical Program
The Board has established a “Covid Sabbatical Program” for 2020 which provides members who feel they cannot come to OVF due to the Covid pandemic with the option of returning their plot to Ocean View Farms and getting a new plot on a priority basis when they feel they can return to OVF to garden.
As a reminder, every member must personally garden their plots and cannot turn them over to an associate to garden. An associate also can earn no more than half of the community hours for the member.
The Covid Sabbatical Program will operate as follows:
1. Any time before December 31, 2020, a member can give notice to OVF that the member wishes to be designated a “Covid Sabbatical Member.”
2. Covid Sabbatical Members give up their plots and their plots are allocated to applicants on the wait list as part of the normal assignment process.
3. When the Covid Sabbatical Member feels they can return to OVF to garden, the Member gives notice to the OVF and their name will be placed on the “Covid Sabbatical Wait List.”
4. Beginning July 31, 2021, Covid Sabbatical Members on the Covid Sabbatical Wait List will be offered new plots when they became available and will be given priority over applicants on the regular waiting list when new plots are being assigned. Members on the Covid Sabbatical Wait List will be given the opportunity for a new plot on a first come first served basis but before applicants on the regular wait list.
5. As of July 31, 2025, the Covid Sabbatical Program will be phased out and any remaining members on the Covid Sabbatical Wait List will be placed as applicants on the regular wait list.
Unusual Plants I Grow
Selwyn Riberio has been gardening at Ocean View Farms since the mid 1980’s. He was kind enough to take some time out of his gardening schedule to show me his plot and talk about some of the plants that he grows. Many of plants Selwyn grows are popular elsewhere in the world but remain relatively unfamiliar to most of us in the USA. Selwyn loves unusual plants and grows both of the crops we’ve featured in past newsletters the pepino melons and yacón. He also has an impressive pigeon pea “tree” that is ten years old in one of his plots and some taro plants hiding in another. Selwyn believes in planting a mix of flowers to attract pollinators and food crops. Right now his plot is full of the beautiful and unusual straw flower. A tour of Selwyn’s plots in Row B of Phase II is a real treat for anyone who likes growing some of the garden’s lesser grown plants.
Last year, Selwyn began growing cassava Manihot esculenta (also known as yuca) and that’s the plant we’ve chosen to feature in this newsletter.
Q: How would you describe cassava to those who are unfamiliar with it?
Selwyn: Cassava is a root crop, like sweet potato. The skin is brown. A lot of people would understand and know cassava because tapioca is made from cassava. There is a lot of things that you can do with cassava.
Q: When did you first become familiar with the crop?
Selwyn: I spent my younger days, from the time I was six until the time that I was fourteen, on the island of Trinidad - even though I was born in Brazil. I knew about cassava because there were a couple of times where my mother would make cassava bread. She was very into natural foods.
This is the second year that I’ve planted it. One of my neighbors gave me a cassava plant that he had bought in the store. People getting cuttings off the actual plant, and that is how it is grown.
Q: How do you grow/ harvest cassava?
Selwyn: You can buy it seasonally online. They wrap it in moss and they ship it out. You plant it from the stock, not the tubers. It’s planted in the late fall and its ready in the summer season after 6-9 months. It needs full sun and good drainage. And it’s best if it’s planted in a raised bed to make it easier to dig it up. [To plant] you cut off a piece of the stock and make sure it has two or three eyes and that’s what you plant. You have to stop watering when you see the first flower. It is like sweet potatoes, if you water when it’s ready to harvest, it will get water-logged and it will get dark spots in it. Then you dig them up. You can store it the same way that you store potatoes. You don’t want it to dry up and you don’t want it too moist.
Q: What do you do with the cassava once it’s been harvested?
Selwyn: To make the product of it, it’s peeled and you grate it. You can use a grater or a food processor. The liquid from that is what tapioca is made from. You squeeze the juice out of the grated cassava and that is what you get the flour from. What you do, when you squeeze it out, that liquid, it settles down and it makes a starch. A certain amount of that starch is added back to the flour and then you dry it. You can dry it in a couple of different ways, you could put it in an oven and let it dry or you could just have it dry at room temperature. Then that is the cassava flour. And cassava flour can be used for making different things. Some people on the island make something like farina, they make a cereal with it. To do that, they bake it and it takes up a different texture. Milk can be added to that and it can be eaten like a cereal. They have different kinds of bread that you can make with it. They have flat bread or you could add other things to it like other flours and make a bun with it. There are unlimited things that you could do with it. I like the bread and the cereal and the tapioca.
Thanks to Selwyn for sharing this crop with us! We’ve included some links below for anyone who wants to learn more about growing or cooking with cassava.
How to make cassava flour
Thanks for reading this installment of Unusual Plants I Grow! If you would like to be featured in a future newsletter, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selwyn Standing Next to his Red Cassava Plant
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!