Need some new ideas to make home schooling more fun during Covid-19? Teaching kids about the environment, botany and community service can be super easy, thanks to Pacific Palisades resident Bruce Schwartz.
Schwartz is a local realtor and was the 2017 Citizen of the Year (in part for his efforts to landscape the median strip on Sunset at Chautauqua). Call him and he will drop off a pumpkin plant–a Dill’s Atlantic Giant–at your doorstep.
When he arrives with the pumpkin, he will also provide growing advice, such as the need for lots of sun and fertilizer.
He also warns, “The pumpkins will grow really big. And if you grow them in your backyard, you should have a way to get them out.”
How big will they grow? In pumpkin-growing contests held around the country, this species generally has a fruit yield of 200 to 1,000 pounds. Schwartz assured Circling the News that this is an easy plant to grow and kids will love watching the progress.
He has 100 plants (actually, 99, since CTN is accepting the challenge to grow one).
In the fall, Schwartz and the Palisades-Malibu YMCA will hold a Giant Pumpkin Contest at the Y’s Pumpkin Patch on Sunset at Temescal Canyon Road.
Schwartz, who has more than 20 years of agricultural experience, would love to see everyone donate at least one of the pumpkins grown on their backyard plants to the YMCA. Money from the Pumpkin Patch helps support local programs.
If you are not quick enough to call Schwartz to get a Dill’s Atlantic Giant plant, he also will have some Big Mac plants that grow pumpkins weighing about 100 pounds.
Last spring, Schwartz planted pumpkins on a median strip near the 76 Station at Sunset and PCH, securing water for the plants from owner Robert Munakash and manager Carlos Rodriguez. The harvested pumpkins (many them weighing more than 100 pounds) were donated to the YMCA.
“It’s nice for kids to learn about sustainability and how food is grown,” said Scharwtz, who is trying to get people who aren’t familiar with agriculture in Pacific Palisades to see how easy it is to grow vegetables.
“All you need is an area in your yard that gets lots of sun,” he said. “We’ll weigh them in at the Y in October, with all proceeds to benefit the Y.”
Schwartz has also offered to work as a consultant for people who are interested in planting a small organic garden in their backyard. “I could set it up for people,” he said, noting that when people become super busy again after the pandemic, gardeners can easily take care of these plants.
The former pumpkin patch near the 76 Station now has a variety of onions that are almost ready to be harvested and Schwartz sent CTN home with a few.
“We planted Stockton reds and Spanish yellow and white onions,” he said. “We planted in October and November and we’ll harvest them now through 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.”
To receive a pumpkin or talk about a possible “victory” garden in your backyard, contact Schwartz: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 799-1773.