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Monday, February 23, 2015

Orange Blossoms - What a fragrance!

My citrus trees are all starting to bloom.  The oranges and lemons are all in full bloom and the grapefruit are about to start.   If you have never smelled orange blossoms, your missing out.  Its a subtle citrus scent that you will know when you smell it.   If you enough to live near an orange grove, you will especially smell it at night.  Its very similar to a gardenia fragrance.  I used to live near 100+ tree orange groves and it you could smell the orange blossoms 1-2 miles away in the evening.  
Here are some of my orange trees in bloom and the grapefruit about ready to start.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Raspberry Planting Party

We are planning a raspberry planting party for March 21, 2015, from 9am to 12:30pm.

I am planning a volunteer planting party - to help my start up vegetable, fruit, and berry farm at Fox Farm.     I manage a restaurant full time and work on my days off to till, plant, weed, harvest, and prune fruit trees.  The help would be greatly appreciated.    

We will be planting around 60 raspberry plants,  200 strawberry plants and around 300-400 tomato plants.   I will provide coffee and danishes in the morning, and when we are finished around 12:30 - we will have a lunch under the the two big trees I call the twins.  One is a pepper tree and the other is a Eucalyptus tree that are very big and have huge canopies that provide a nice plant to set up some picnic tables.  They are right beside the pond so its a really nice setting to relax after digging in the dirt and planting under warm blue skies.  

The farm may host some type of berry festival the following year when all the berry plants are producing.

In appreciation, for the help, volunteers will be able to take at least one raspberry plant home, and quite a few tomato and strawberry plants.

Lettuce Harvest

I harvested some lettuce for the Riverside Food Cooperative saturday morning.   It will be placed in the crop boxes for the Riverside Food Cooperative members.    I harvested buttercruch, red leaf, green leaf, and romaine lettuce.  Here a couple pictures of the green leaf and red leaf after harvesting and washing.  That's it for the lettuce for this year.  It really only does well in the winter time and the weather is getting warmer.   There have been 2-3 day of 85 degree weather and that much heat burn the leaves.  It will also start to bolt to produce seed when it gets to hot, rather than form heads.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bok Choi - First Produce Harvest for Fox Farm

I harvested my first produce from Fox Farm.   I harvested bok choi which is used primarily in Asian Dished, usually stir fried.   They grew very well.  I was surprised at the size of them.  They will be going in the Crop Box for the Riverside Food Cooperative.     Here are some pictures of the harvest.  This will be my first substantial income for the vegetable portion of the farm.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kumquat Harvest - First Harvest of 2015 for Fox Farm.

I spent the morning harvesting kumquats.   The Riverside Food Cooperative ordered some for their members monthly crop box.  Kumquats are a small citrus fruit that is usually eaten whole, skin and all and made into jams or marmalade.    I picked quite a few will divide them up for the 53 crop boxes for this months box distribution.   If your a member of the Riverside Food Coop,  look forward to some little delicious kumquats.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tomato Planting Seminar and Workshop at Fox Farm

I held a tomato planting and growing workshop at my farm.   The events was also co-sponsored by the Riverside Food Cooperative and Tequesquite Community Garden.   We were expecting 20-30 people but were very surprised by the turnout.   There were over 80 people who arrived to tour the farm and plant tomatoes.   Everyone go to plant a 6 pack of peat pots with different kinds of heirloom tomato seeds.   Hopefully they learned alot and got them all to sprout.  I envisioned something a little more intimate and being able to help everyone who had a question.  I wasn't able to get to all the people who were there or answer all the questions.  I will have additional posts on my blog on growing tomatoes.     Here are some pictures of the fun event.

Here are a couple pictures of tours - of the orchard and vegetable growing area.

We had Pat Silvestri speak about the Tequesquite Community Garden and the importance of community gardens.  There are 4-5 open plots if your in Riverside and would like to grow some vegetables.    The cost if $50.00 per year which includes water.  Some pictures of him speaking while I hold a map of the Ryan Bonaminio Park where the community garden is located. The park is named after Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio who was chasing a stolen truck suspect and slipped on a wet sidewalk.  The suspect took his gun and executed him before he get up.   Its a really large and beautiful park.

Here is Maune Vaca speaking about the Riverside Food Cooperative and explaining what a cooperative does.   The Cooperative was at 99 members - but gained 4 more during the seminar, so they considered a great success.  

Here I am speaking to the group about tomatoes and the importance of preserving small farms in Riverside and also the Inland Empire.

Finally pictures of everyone planting tomatoes and having a good time.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rebuilding the Orchard - More Apple trees

This orchard has a Agricultural water meter which means I get a little break on the water bill.     I need to keep 75 fruit or nut trees on the property which is subject to a water dept audit.  I was down to 74 trees.   I planted three more trees today.  We planted a mid pride peach, and also a Golden Dorsett apple tree which is the pollinator for the Anna Apple I planted last week.  Finally, I planted a Pluot which is a cross between a apricot and plum.   Here are some pictures of the planted Trees.  Thanks to Nick from the Riverside Food Cooperative who helped plant the trees today.  The white fluff ball is a the neighbors dog who loves to visit me when I am working in back.

Fruit Trees in bloom

The recent warm weather has brought a couple trees out of dormancy and they are starting to bloom.   The bees were busy pollinating the flowers so I hope that means a bumper crop of fruit this year.
The first picture is a peach tree in full bloom.  The second tree is a apple tree in full bloom.   Some of the other trees are starting to bud out so there will be a lot of flowers.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

San Bernardino Ring Neck Snake

I was moving some boards around and saw a little snake dart out.   It looked like a baby snake of some kind.   It was a olive green, and a bright orange band right behind its head.   When it was threatened.  It rolled the end of its tail into a bright orange ball - showing its underside which looked to be orange.   I looked it up when I got home and found out what is was.  Its' a San Bernardino Ring Necked snake.  They are harmless to humans, and prey on salamanders, lizards, and worms.  It has a venom which paralyzes its prey before eating it.   I am happy to see a wide variety of wildlife on my farm.     Here are some pictures of then snake.  Note how it curls up its tail and hides its head.  I am assuming its to distract the predator from its head.  I guess its better to have something bite of your tail instead of your head.  I released it after taking the pictures.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tomato planting and growing seminar!

I will be having a Tomato planting and growing seminar on the farm on the 14th.  If your in the Riverside area and want to attend this free seminar, check out the flyer below.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Vegetable Update - Whats under the insect netting!

I took some pictures of the veggies that of the oldest row - that are under the netting.   The netting has worked in two ways.  It keeps the rabbits out, but it also had kept the bugs out.  There are very few or no holes in the lettuces, cabbages, etc.

Here is the bok choi.  It looks like it will be ready to harvest in a few weeks.

Here is the butter crunch lettuce.  It will be 4-6 weeks before its ready to harvest, but doing well

Here are some cabbage that are nice and green and free of bug holes.

Here is the romaine that looks like it will be ready to harvest in 2-3 weeks.

This is my green leaf lettuce that is doing well also

 And finally - my chinese napa cabbage is doing average -  the outside rows are doing very well, but the inner rows don't seem to be growing.  Not sure why that is.  Maybe I didn't leave enough space between the plants