After Circling the News missed the harvest of lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli in the parkway plot at PCH/Sunset last November, we made sure to visit the rows of onions that are currently growing on that small plot of land.
On March 7, CTN met with Bruce Schwartz and Chris Fellows at the site, close to where Sunset intersects with six-lane PCH.
Schwartz, a local realtor and the 2017 Citizen of the Year (in part for his efforts to landscape the median strip on Sunset at Chautauqua), tackled the asphalt-covered and trash-littered piece of ground more than a year ago to plant pumpkins.
Fellows, who grew up in Minnesota, helped Schwartz prepare the soil, and 76 owner Robert Munakash and station manager Carlos Rodriguez provided the irrigation water.
After a successful growing season with the pumpkins (many of which weighed more than 100 pounds), and then a harvest of corn at the parkway in front of Palisades Electric, Schwartz and Fellows are continuing to demonstrate how easy it is to plant vegetable crops on challenging pieces of land in this area.
“We planted Stockton reds, Spanish yellow and white onions,” Schwartz told CTN. “We planted in October and November and we’ll harvest them in May and June.” He explained that the onions that are growing now are milder and sweeter. “Sweetness has to do with the time of year they’re planted.”
Why onions? Schwartz and Fellows are rotating plants in the ground, which is better for the soil, and Schwartz noted that “worldwide, the consumption of onions is 13.67 pounds per person.”
“They are just now becoming bulbs,” said Fellows, who added that once the onions are harvested—probably in May—pumpkins will once again be planted at the site.
“Agriculture is something we take for granted,” Schwartz said. “Ground can be reclaimed and farmed.”
To prove his point, he is proposing a giant pumpkin- growing contest for all residents.
“All you need is an area in your yard that gets lots of sun,” Schwartz said. “We’ll weigh them in at the Y in October, with all proceeds to benefit the Y.”
Schwartz has promised to provide plants, fertilizer and technical support to any family that would like to take the challenge, with the planting date set from the end of April to June 10.
To put your name on a list for a plant, email Schwartz: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want to get kids and families interested in nature and how plants grow,” said Schwartz, who has more than 20 years of agricultural experience. “If we can get 100 people to do this, it will be so much fun, and we’ll have a lot of pumpkins for the YMCA.”