November 2021

November 2021 E-Newsletter

I like gardening - it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself. -Alice Sebold


lush lettuces in a fall garden

Featured Instagram Photo of the Month: A Lush Fall Garden


Upcoming Garden Events:

Nov. 13 - Saturday Workday - 9:00 AM - Noon 
Nov. 13 - Board Meeting - 9:30 AM - 6:00 AM (Moved from Nov. 20)
Nov. 28 - Sunday Workday - 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


And just like that, our calendar year is almost over.  It was so delightful to get a bit of fall rain last month. Let’s hope for more rain in our future, even though the predictions state otherwise.  It looks like we’ve moved into another La Niña weather pattern which works to keep the moisture away from the southern part of the state.  In this newsletter we’ll talk about some strategies for using less water around the garden.  We’ll also cover ways to keep those pesky rodents from decimating your winter crops.  I don’t know about you, but I’m already on my third planting of some leafy greens after not doing enough to protect the first two sets of seedlings. This newsletter is bursting at the seams with useful information, so I’m going to keep things short.  As always, here is your list of inspiration of things to do and plant in November.  Just remember to ignore the advice about the frost, which we don’t get.  In addition to working on your plot(s), please remember to complete 9 hours of community service (per plot) by the end of the year.

OVF Announcements: 


Rat Prevention Strategies

We gardeners at Ocean View Farms share a common problem: rats. They chomp away at our tomatoes, melons, broccoli and a host of other vegetables and fruits in the community garden. Luckily, all is not lost, there are several things we can do to mitigate their destructive activity.

1. Barriers: erect small fencing (1/1/2 ft high), either of wire or heavy duty plastic. These should have small holes. Spread bird netting over the top. If you don’t put up a top covering, rats can still climb up and over the barrier to eat your crops. Some members have used insect weight garden fabric

plasic fencingrow cover

2. Vine trimming: cut off all leafy growth from the soil level up to 2 ft. Ground leafy growth provides a place for rats to hide and nest. If you grow passion fruit, grapes or some large squashes, having this open space will help to keep rats out of your plot AND your neighbors.

 This is a possible rat hotel:

too much leafy growth at the base of the plant

Here is a passionfruit vine propperly trimmed to discourage nesting:

no leafy growth near thte base of the plant

3. Unused compost bins: Compost bins either need to be actively used or removed. Empty bins are another favorite place for rats to set up home. If you do use your compost bin, cover kitchen scraps or rotting vegetables with a layer of horse manure to discourage feasting. Periodically add water and stir the contents to keep the compost active.  Compost does not work in a dry environment.  Speaking of compost, LAist recently did an interesting article on community composting that you might want to check out.

4. Traps: bait traps with peanut butter or even broccoli/ cabbage leaves (we do have some of the healthiest rats around as they like to eat the very good for you brassicas).

We would be remiss not to mention the small role that the garden cats play in helping to control the rodent population.  Ed Mosman shared this video of one of the cats with their prize. WARNING: If you are triggered by dead rodents, this is not the video for you.  All the same, thank you to the cutest pest control around and the OVF team that help keep them fed and cared for. 

To sum up: please remember that how you maintain or don’t maintain your plot affects your neighbors and your phase. Rats are an OVF community wide problem so there needs to be community wide solutions. Please do your part.


Reducing Water Usage at OVF

All predictions are pointing to another dry year in Southern California.  Even if it ends up being a rainy winter for the state, it’s going to take years to get us out of these drought conditions.  In July, Governor Newsom declared that California needs to reduce its water usage by 15%.  As a state, we haven’t even come close. Less water means that costs continue to rise each year.  Our water bill accounted for 63% of OVF’s budget this year.  We pay over $30,000 a year for water for the garden. We see this charge in our plot fees which continue to get more an more expensive to offset the ever-rising cost of water.  We’ve compiled a short list of ways that you can help the garden conserve water.  Thank you to those of you who are already doing most of these things!

1) Water efficiently: be conscious how you water.  Direct water to the base of your plants rather than putting a thumb over a hose end and watering indiscriminately. 

2) Mulch your beds: Greenhouse Keeper Nina Rumley suggests adding a layer of newspaper over the soil and then covering the soil in horse manure.  A bed mulched this way can stay wet for well over two weeks even in the hot summer months.  This method has the added benefit in that the newspaper and manure will eventually break down giving you more fertile soil.  When grabbing newspapers, try to look for ones like the LA Times that are printed with soy-based ink. 

3) Report leaks immediately:  if you spot a leaky hose or hose bib, please make a note of it in the shed that day.

4) Don’t leave running hoses unattended: it goes without saying, you can’t spot water overflowing and running off into the path if you’re not there.   

5) Get a moisture meter:  If you’re the kind of person who likes gardening gadgets, a moisture meter is a great, inexpensive tool for quickly determining how wet your soil is below the surface.  Moisture meters are small enough to fit in a mailbox and simple enough for anyone to use.  They can take readings around 7” below the soil’s surface.  They also make great gardener gifts!  Remember, if you buy through Amazon, you can set Ocean View Farms as your Amazon Smile charity of choice. Moisture meters can also be found in most stores with garden centers like Anawalt Lumber or Ace Hardware.  A bare finger inserted into the soil can be used as an alternative to check on the first few inches below the surface. 


Banned Plants (and a few to plant with caution)

As promised at the October General Meeting, here is a list of plants that are either banned at the garden or plants that need to be planted and maintained with special care due to their difficulty to remove once establish.   For example, berry plants are delicious, but they quickly become a thorny and painful chore when they start taking over a path, a neighbor’s plot or all of the plantable space in your plot.  In the interest of space, we’ve only included the most commonly spotted problem plants. There are plenty of others not on the list like asparagus fern, mint or ivy that can be hard to keep in check.  Always do research on a new plant before introducing it to your plot.  When in doubt, it’s much safer to plant something in a container than in the ground.

chart of banned and invasive plants


OVF T-Shirts

Show your love for community gardening with an OVF t-shirt.  Did you know t-shirts are available for sale after Saturday workdays and before and after general meetings?  You can also purchase OVF wear through your phase rep.

That’s a Lot of Poop!

Warren Miyashiro is in charge of obtaining and processing the stable waste for OVF.  Warren has made arrangements with a new supplier from Palos Verdes to have them deliver to OVF. This supplier picks up from Palos Verdes ranches and he insists the stable waste be clean with no trash in it.  This is a big plus for Warren and the crew that processes the manure as they don’t have to get in the bin and remove trash. As you can see from the photo, this new arrangement has resulted in a very happy Warren.

Smiling Warren with new manure pile


A Poem

We close this newsletter with a poem submitted by OVF gardener Gholam Fatemi.


Morning clouds in Santa Monica

The specter of winter
Lingers at the edge of town pawing
Pawing to reach a house
Where morning sleepers awaken
By the song of a western mockingbird
Pleading with the sun
To chase the clouds
Back over the sea.


Thank you Gholam for sharing your lovely poem!  I hope other gardeners are inspired to share their art, photo, recipes or stories with us.


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!