Rich Fields Farm

This File Under Construction

Welcome to my page devoted to Rich Fields Farm. (Yes, it is a play on words.)

Go to horticultural hotlist

last update: 29 February 2008

Rich Fields Farm

established 14 July 1993

Beyond my regular faculty duties, I own a small farm 4 miles from Davis. Farm operations are split between me and my wife. We have a registered organic operation. Our main crop is pistachios. We also grow many types of fruits from all regions of the globe, several types of vegetables, other nut crops, and flowers (both cutting and drying types). Below is a list of crops we are growing or trying to grow.
The farm seems to require constant repairs! This can sometimes be rewarding, sometimes frustrating, and always varying. I enjoy planting, growing, and (especially) harvesting. I don't enjoy the pests or weeds that try to be the world's toughest weeds. Total area is about 4 hectares.

If you want details about our pistachio operation, they can be found on a separate web page: HERE. The site has pictures of the harvesting, the trees, facts about our sales, etc. There are links to Pistachio production websites, for interesting recipes, nutrition facts, etc.

Making a commitment to reducing my family's greenhouse gas emissions, we installed a 4kW system in early 2007. This system provides about 75% of the electrical demand for our farmhouse and adjacent 'granny flat'. One can monitor the activity at this website:
Grotjahn Residence PV system

We live in Northern California, where the countryside like this sure is scenic... but the reality is that the area around our farm is quite flat Elevation changes by 2 meters over 500 meters from one end of our farm to the other. Besides, steep hillsides like this would be quite a challenge for driving a tractor. But, this type of countryside is just a short drive away (Sonoma valley).

We do have a stream along one end of the farm. Sometimes it is dry, sometimes it is half-full, and sometimes it flows with amazing power! The mature trees along that stream attract nesting hawks and owls. A drive along road 30 between our farm and road 98 is guaranteed to find hawks. So we have our scenery.

Unfortunately, one of those owls decided to land on the power lines feeding our well. The owl's last act was to create a brilliant flash and a "buzzzt" sound at 5:14 am 30 July 1998. The bird not only exploded, it cut power for several square miles.

Rich Fields Farm --- Greenhouse

  • Another stereo....
  • My greenhouse...a constant source of...(work? fun? ...?)

    If you want to actually see this in stereo, I have a tutorial on my stereo photography tutorial home page.

    Greenhouse notes

    During the (record hot) summer of 1996, I raised the roof on my greenhouse by 3 feet and replaced yellowed fibreglass with a clear polycarbonate product from SPS inc. I highly recommend this product, even at this early writing (10/96). First, it is easier to install than LEXAN (no predrilling). It has a UV barrier coating on top (so it comes with a 25 year guarantee). It has a dimpled surface underneath (diffusing the sunlight and reducing leaf burning). It also has a coating in the inside that allows condensation to flow off, thus avoiding drips and reduced light from droplets. It is designed to let in much more of the PAR (photosynthetically active light) which has at least 3 consequences: some plants are blooming for the first time, the plants are not as "leggy", and the fruits are likely to be sweeter. Another benefit may be greater pest resistance,too, since plants might need more sunlight in order to be able to manufacture insect-active products.

    Plants that responded dramatically to the increased light levels include: papaya, carambola, avocado, white sapote, and cherimoya.

    I hope to include a few pictures in the next few weeks.

    Update: a dozen years later, pictures are still has not loaded! Why? In a word: kids! The greenhouse doesn't look much like the photo: all the plants have filled the volume. As for the roof panels, 2 blew off in a storm on 4 January 2008; more than a decade shy of the 25 year guarantee.

  • Rich Fields Farm Crops
  • Planted, though not necessarily harvested!

    Tree Fruits (outside)

    Citrus Family

    Tropical Fruit



    Miscellaneous Fruits & Roots

    Cut Flowers


    (varies from year to year)


    Crop News !

  • Rich Fields Farm Animals
  • Production



    Wild :-)


  • Quick Hotlist
  • yes, MORE stereo images...
  • A list of favorite internet addresses (just for starters!)

  • WWW Virtual Library organized by an extensive list of subjects.

    Horticultural Sites:

  • A site for plant information set up by Ohio State Univ.
  • California Rare Fruit Growers internet site.
  • Fruit and nut crop information internet site at UC Davis.
  • Backyard orchard information internet site at UC Davis.
  • Fruit growth charts Dave Wilson Nursery.
  • integrated pest management internet site at UC Davis.
  • Fairs internet site of tropical fruit information (Univ. Florida ag. info. res. service).
  • Edible Landscaping Database internet site
  • A site for gardening magazines such as Sunset & Southern Living, set up by Time Inc.
  • Oregon State University National Plant Germplasm Site including access to list of internet resources.
  • A site showing: plant pest images set up by Prof. H. Leith, here at UCD.
  • A site showing: plant foliar disease images also set up by Prof. H. Leith, here at UCD.

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