May 2015 - California Rare Fruit Growers

Inland Empire - California Rare Fruit Growers
May 2015
Next Meeting – Thursday May 7th at 7:00 p.m.
UCR Graduate student Kelsey Schall will discuss her research on Asian citrus psyllid
and Argentine ant control.
Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center
Larry Dodson
7621 Granite Hill Dr., Riverside, CA 92509
Vice President:
Sandy Millar
Secretary: TBD
Notes from Larry Dodson, Chapter President
April, one of the busiest gardening months of the year, is behind us.
Glenn Bauer
Lee Johnson
News Letter:
Jess Castillo
Dominique “Frenchy”
Edie Cole
Harlan Delzer
Andy Johnson
Dr. Charles Lee
Eduardo Salas
Angie Venegas
Thanks to Sandy Millar again taking the lead with our annual plant sale, it was a big
success. Also, thanks to all who contributed plants and who worked the booth. Our
sister chapter in Orange County donated left over plants to us from their booth at the
Green Scene. Sandy went to Fullerton and transported them to Riverside the
weekend before our sale. She expended a great deal of effort and countless hours in
preparation for our sale at the Riverside Flower Show. She did all of this in addition to
stopping by JMDC twice a week to water the trees in our demonstration orchard. I
don’t know where she gets all of her energy.
We had an information table at the Earth Day celebration at the Dignity Health
Community Hospital of San Bernardino on April 24. It was staffed by one of our most
faithful ambassadors, Helen Hibbing, and me. It is important for us participate in
activities of this nature in order to attract new fruit gardeners to our group. If you
haven’t volunteered for any of our community outreach efforts, there will be
opportunity on Saturday June 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at “Experts in the
For the second year we have been asked to be part of the gardening event at the
Western Municipal Water District Demonstration Garden. Let us know if you can help.
June 4 – Annual CRFG IE barbeque and plant clearance. Please note early start time of
6:00. Food to be served promptly at 6:30.
July 2, 7:00 p.m. – Monthly meeting with Rick Yessayian speaking on medicinal plants
August – No chapter meeting (See you in San Diego for the Festival of Fruits)
August 7-9 Festival of Fruits in San Diego. Latest info at this site:
BY Sandy Millar
Plant ID/Signs- In February, Helen Hibbing offered to look into information on plant markers for
both the Citrus Garden and the Demonstration Orchard at JMDC. Helen has since provided us
with numerous pictures illustrating examples of signs being used at the UCR Botanical Gardens
as well as thorough information for supplies and suppliers, with the assistance of Steve
Morgan, Curator. Thank you, Helen!!!
More on signage…This month I was contacted by Lou Fawley, CRFG/MG/Docent at the WMWD
Landscape Garden on Alessandro Blvd. Lou shared that the Garden had replaced their plant
signs and wished to donate their old stock! CRFG IE and JMDC gladly accepted the offer, and
we hope to be using them soon! Thank you, Lou!!!
April 4th- Lou Fawley, Harlan Delzer and I met at the orchard to map out and stake pathways
and planting beds. We are approximately half way through with the project; 100 stakes were
placed! Harlan will be making some minor changes to our original plot plans.
(insert pictures)
April 11th A.M. Work Party- Steven Orr, Kathy Swanson, Helen Hibbing, Larry Dodson and I met
to measure and auger thirteen holes along the road (next to Eucalyptus) for a planting of
mostly subtropicals.
Helen, Larry and I returned in the afternoon and planted the following trees; Row 1: (south to
north) Catalina Cherry (donated by CRFG OC); White Sapote (donated by Dominic “Frenchy”
Bidegaray); Feijoa (donated by CRFG OC); Arizonian Guava (donated by CRFG OC); Giant
Guava (donated by
CRFG OC); Strawberry or Pineapple Guava (donated by CRFG OC); Surinam Cherry (donated by
CRFG OC); Loquat seedling (donated by CRFG OC); Roseapple (donated by CRFG OC). Row 2:
(south to north) Raisin Tree seedling (Joe and Debbie Kamrani donation); empty hole to be
filled with an Apollo Feijoa (donated by Steve Berger/CRFG OC); Pakistani Mulberry (donated
by Larry Dodson); Smyrna Quince (grafted by Larry Dodson on Joe Kamrani rootstock
donation). Above, next to existing Fuyu Persimmons, an American Persimmon (donated by
Larry Dodson).
Two requests: Steve Berger, CRFG OC, is in need of Feijoa seedlings (or 'American' varieties
that are not needed) on which to graft Apollo scion wood.
Also, we desperately need MULCH!!! The orchard is virtually weed free, and we need to cover
the soil and mulch the plantings to retain moisture! Ideally, chips would be delivered to JMDC.
If anyone knows of tree companies working in the Jurupa Valley area, please let me know.
We are moving right along!!! I hope to see more of you at the future events!!!
April 4th staking with Harlan Delzer, Lou Fawley and Sandy Millar.
by Helen Hibbing Photos by Larry Dodson and Helen Hibbing
On April 2, 2015, Gabriel Ruiz, a certified organic grower in the Inland Empire shared his passion for growing rare
fruit and vegetables. He explained his techniques as well as the difficulties he faced as a professional grower. He
said that growing plants gives him peace. From 2005 through 2008 Gabriel helped his father, who was ill, with the
family farming operation in Mexico. In 2009 Gabriel began his own plantings on his mother's property in
Bloomington. He had to remove the grass from the land before he could plant the 180 fruit trees he he had
purchased. Later, he added 70 more trees. To prepare the soil for planting, he dug about three feet deep, added a
layer of amended soil, and replaced the remainder with native soil. He then covered the area with shade cloth.
Next, he placed a layer of 6 mil black plastic on top. He left open areas for each tree's basin. He then covered the
area with a thick layer of mulch. He uses upside down bubblers for irrigation. He irrigates using well water from a
500 foot deep well. Also in 2009, he and his brother started Unity Farm, an 8 to 10 acre parcel, in Riverside in
which they grew specialty produce. Gabriel told how he was overwhelmed at first, having to learn marketing and
sales as well as growing techniques. He lost approximately 80% of the crop the first year. To acquire knowledge,
he spoke to other farmers, including Orange County Chapter Rare Fruit Growers in De Luz Ranchos; and went to
farmers' markets. Last July he closed Unity Farm. In September he began growing vegetables in Rialto at Adams
Acres, between the groves of trees and on land in the back. He also rents an approximate one acre parcel in
Rialto, which he calls his "Garden."
Gabriel's rare fruit tree planting in Bloomington consists of Carambola, Strawberry Guava, Tropical Guava,
Pineapple Guava (Feijoa Sellowiana), Cherimoya, Chinese Olive, Guamuchil, Guava, Mango, White Sapote,
Holiday Avocado, Loquat, Kaffir Lime, Rose Apple, Jaboticaba, Lychee, Longan, Peach, French Fig (striped fig),
Wonderful Pomegranate, Blood Orange, Meiwa Kumquat, Calamondin, Jujube, Plum, Anna Apple, Navel Orange,
and more! He also grows two varieties of passion fruit. The following did not grow well in Bloomington: Guavas,
Mangoes, Blueberries grown in the ground, and Capitulin cherries.
Gabriel's plantings on Adams Acres and in his "Garden," consist of rare specialty vegetables, such as maribor
kale; a frilly leaf kale that has dark outer leaves and extra deep-red central foliage; caraflex cabbage, a small cone
cabbage with inner leaves that are tender, crunchy, and have an excellent sweet, mild cabbage flavor; red and
yellow stuffing tomatoes; fava beans; Swiss chard; etc. He grows 10 to 15 varieties of tomatoes and many varieties
of peppers. He grows 34 varieties of lettuce, rotating five to six varieties every 45 days. One lettuce variety,
outredgeous has a bold, "outrageous" red color. In April, 2014 it was the first lettuce grown in space! He likes to
experiment with various growing conditions on his vegetables. For example, he has noticed that vegetables grown
in shade are less prone to aphids. He purchases his vegetable seeds from Wild Garden Seeds In the future, he may try to grow a kale-Brussels sprouts cross. He wants to also grow
chayote, a tender perennial squash, which has an edible root similar to that of yucca. He explained that one can
steam or cook the root, which is delicious. The root is called chinchayote in Mexico.
tells that the tubers can be "cooked like potatoes. Boil them in their skin, then peel and serve with butter." says, "Chayote root, known as chinchayote is cooked for use
in breaded patties, can be incorporated into stews, or be eaten with nothing more than a bit of salt."
As a certified organic grower, Gabriel uses only organic growing methods. He reports to the certifying agency
every year. He makes his own compost and uses a six inch layer of compost in his plantings.
Gabriel plans to become a member of the Inland Empire Rare Fruit Growers. It will be a pleasure to have Gabriel
as a member.