Archive for Jentav

Seeds in the City is at Earth Day

Thanks to all that stopped by to say hi at today’s Earth Day event! We are sorry that we ran out of seedlings so early but glad that they found good homes. If you have any questions about your seeds or seedlings; like how big do they get, how much sun do they like or how much water do they need please feel free to email us at with your variety in the subject line. You can also comment here and we will be sure to get back to you.

Happy Growing!

Earth Day in San Diego

The worlds largest FREE Earth Day event is back at Balboa Park tomorrow! This event goes from 10:00am to 5:00pm but set your alarm because if you arrive before 10am you will find most of us already set up and no crowds. With over 350 exhibitors there is a lot to see, eat, hear and learn. Seeds in the City will be on the Prado with FREE organic seedlings and seeds. Don’t forget to bring a tote bag because you will probably pick up tons of goodies and information.

April in San Diego Garden Calendar

Spring is here and with it exciting gardening events for the month of April.

April 9th
Cuyamaca College Spring Garden Tour – This free event has a plant and book sale as well as demonstrations all within the colleges beautiful water wise garden.
Charity Garden Tour from 9am to 4pm featuring five north county homes including a visit to the Ecke Ranch greenhouses for bargain sales.
City Farmers Vegetable Gardens 101 – In this free class 90 minute class from 1:30-3pm you will get all the basics for starting your own garden.
April 9th – 10th

Cultivating Food Justice Conference – This two day free conference in City Heights will feature workshops and lectures on such broad topics as goats, solar cooking, aquaponics, sprouting, dry farming and a seed swap. Visit the website link to RSVP.
April 10th
Liberty Farms will teach a poultry care and management class for those of you considering keeping chickens, the class starts at 11:00 am and is $35.00.
April 11th
Jeffery Bale will lecture on “The Pleasure Garden” as part of the San Diego Horticultural Society special speaker event at 7pm, the event is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased at the door within the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
April 16 – 17th
Coronado Flower Show and Garden Tour includes 10 front yard gardens, plant sales and seminars for $5.00.
April 17th
San Diego Earth Day at Balboa Park is a free event with over 350 exhibitors and the best part is Seeds in the City will be there with free seedlings and seeds.
April 23rd
Point Loma Garden Walk showcases 3 homes and ten gardens in the area of Sunset Cliffs, $20.00 advance tickets to benefit Children’s Hospital.
Citrus and Avocados a free class taught by Richard Wright at the Walter Andersen Poway store, 9:30 am.
April 26th – May 24th
Become a Master Composter Sign up to take this 5 session course being offered in San Diego from 6-8:30 pm every Wednesday.
April 27th
Introduction to Farm Animal Husbandry will be taught at Liberty Farms in El Cajon from 6:30 – 8:00pm, the class fee is $35.00.
April 30th 
Compost Workshop – Learn how compost can benefit you, this free workshop is given by master composters from 10:00 -12:00pm at the Solana Center.
The Encinitas Garden Festival is from 10am-4pm and will feature an astounding 20 homes along with free talks, $20.00 advance tickets.
Walter Andersen Nursery Point Loma teaches their free one hour class on Growing Tomatoes at 9:00am, and Poway store teaches Water Conservation and Sprinkler Efficency at 9:30am.

Did I miss your event? Email us at

Hali’imaile Community Garden

Our own trials and tribulations to establish community gardens in San Diego inspired me to see how other cities, states and islands for that matter start gardens in their communities. So on the recent trip to Maui we made a stop at Hali’imaile Community Garden, the first such garden to be established on the island, in 2006.

The Hali’imaille Community Garden is an unexpected gem hidden among sugarcane and banana trees. As you drive down the dirt road to its entrance you hardly know what to expect then all of a sudden the road opens up to a patchwork of lovingly tended plots.
Elle was kind enough to meet us for a tour of the gardens and has been dedicating herself to this land for 2 years. Elle is a Southern California transplant that along with the additional members lends a hand in the compost bins, common areas, vermiculture and maintaining and clearing of new plots. The land is owned by the Maui Land and Pineapple Company and due to its odd shape the land was never fully utilized to grow their crops of pineapple and sugarcane even though both of those crops can be found there today. As a generous gift Maui Land and Pineapple allowed the community to utilize the land and just recently agreed to a five-year renewable lease on the property at no extra cost. Due to the private ownership of the land they were able to avoid the costly and daunting permitting process. 

With these exciting developments came the formation of the Maui Community Garden Initiative which “exists to proactively engage Maui communities in growing food. Through strategic collaborations and public advocacy, we provide educational and technical support for cultivating and sustaining community based gardens” The initiative is dedicated to looking towards the future as an opportunity to involve local schools and the community in educational programs centered on organic and sustainable agriculture.With these new developments the HCG has seen an increase in involvement and membership. New plots are being cleared everyday to grow the likes of Taro, Broccoli, Borage, Kale, Sugarcane and Sunflowers. The yearly costs to call a 10X20 plot your own is a mere $50.00 which takes into account your water costs and access to all the amenities, including the herb garden, fruit trees and a tool shed. The community garden hopes to maintain the upward trend in membership through continued community events.

San Diego Community Gardens

Many people often ask me if I can recommend a garden in or near their community that they could grow fresh produce in. I always say I know of several great community gardens, centrally located, but the waiting list can be up to two years long! You’re probably asking yourself how that is possible in such a perfect climate town with what seems like an abandoned lot on every corner. Well NBC San Diego put together this quick video explaining why these gardens are so rare.

View more news videos at:

Basically most of these vacant lots are zoned for commercial property i.e. property that generates property taxes that go back to the city. These community gardens generate $0 for property taxes so they are essentially prevented from sprouting on commercial land. Now council members Todd Gloria and Sherri Lightner are pushing to change city zoning laws so that commercially zoned lots can become community gardens. With this change interested parties will still need to meet with the owners of the vacant land to get their permission as well as start the permitting process with the county which requires plans and a $5,000 deposit. Here are the previous application forms which are hopefully about to undergo a major face lift. Thankfully there are non-profits like IRC, Victory Gardens San Diego and One in Ten Coalition that are spearheading the movement making it easier for an individual to get involved and be heard by their government.

Lend your voice and sign the petition here to let the San Diego council members know this issue is important to you.

What the term Urban Homestead means to us

Not just two words put together, Urban Homestead is quite clearly a way of life that describes people in their respective cities who may grow their own food, generate their own electricity, raise animals and more. These people have turned their homes into a symbol of taking responsibility for their lives. With each step closer towards self-sufficiency Urban Homesteaders have pulled the veil away from the source of all they require in their lives.

When we bit into our first homegrown tomato came an awakening, no longer did we have to imagine our food came from a sunny green farm on the hill, now we could know it for sure. Homegrown lettuce, strawberries, peppers, eggplant and potatoes followed. Why stop there? We tasted eggs from our own chickens and realized how they were meant to feel, how they were meant to look and the taste we had never realized we were missing. Then came composting our organics thereby limiting what we sent to landfills, making our own dairy products, collecting our first honey along with our own rainwater, as well as raising our own fish. Once we tasted and felt the difference we couldn’t be stopped. We were a force, a growing, raising, eating force that took all of our neighbors and family members by storm with our new inspiration. We couldn’t tell enough people about what they were missing. We spread the word by phone, email, text, tweet and post. This was a call not for a new and exciting movement, but for a return to our self-sufficient past.

The words Urban Homestead don’t define us, no word or words could ever hope to express what we are and what we have gained through our return to a simpler life. Taking away the ability for all of us to pigeon hole ourselves with the term Urban Homestead doesn’t change who we are or what we have accomplished. I’m thankful we have come to another realization through this tribulation, one where we realize that we are not alone in this passion for what we have achieved. Our worldwide community is ever expanding in this movement to take back what we hadn’t even realized we were missing.

My one hope is that you too can come to the understanding that there is little meaning in controlling a word, in losing the ability to use these words we don’t lose our abilities to continue our wonderful work. We are only further inspired to become undefinable.

We Are Urban Homesteaders!

YES we are

The term Urban Homesteading has been trademarked by the Dervaes family.

Join the conversation HERE

San Diego Master Gardeners Spring Seminar

The San Diego Master Gardeners spring seminar is back and registration opens tomorrow, January 31st. This year they are offering 3 sections of classes on April 2, 2011 that start at 8:50 a.m. with the last section starting at 1:40 and ending at 2:50 p.m.. If you pre-register classes are a mere $15, with a $5 dollar discount if you sign up for three classes. They have a very well rounded schedule of classes and instructors this year.

Topics include;

  • Attracting Birds, Hummingbirds and Butterflies to your Garden
  • Compost-No Longer the Dirty Little Secret in the Garden
  • Tips on Designing a Water-smart Landscape with Color, Interest and Budget Savings
  • Growing Herbs for Health, Taste and Fragrance
  • How to Get the Most Production from your Organic Tomato Plant
  • Understanding Our Soils and Simple Ways to Improve Them
  • Growing Summer Vegetables the Organic Way (taught by the inspiring Pat Welsh)
  • Successful “Green” Living Walls
  • Native Plants You and Your Neighbors will Love

The classes are going to be back at the USD campus this year.

What’s Wrong With My Plant?

The What’s Wrong with my Plant team of David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth are in town to help us all answer the seemingly year round, life long question, what the heck is wrong with my plant? Their widely successful book of the same name has been a godsend in identifying everything from random black spots to yellowing leaves. Not only do they help you identify the problem but they help you find a solution the organic way. I’m very excited to get to meet these two in person! Hurry and sign up online, the class is this Saturday the 29th from 10:00am-12:00pm at the San Diego Botanical Garden.

O’o Farm

O’o farms is located in the lush green hillsides of Maui’s upcountry region.  The farm exclusively provides all that it grows to three restaurants on the island of Maui. They average 34! inches of rainfall a year and are often under a misty cover during the winter months. Even so the farm is equipped with drip irrigation because it can really get hot and humid.
When you arrive at the farms the first thing you notice is the breathtaking views, overlooking both the north and south coasts. First to greet us was Richard Clark the farm manager who has been playing in this dirt for ten years and is obviously passionate about the land which totals 8.5 acres of virgin! territory that was once home to a thriving population of eucalyptus trees and hippies. This soil is the rich choclate cake color and texture we have all been craving and can never quite attain no matter how much compost we amend into it.  I have now figured out the secret, get your own volcano!
I was happy to learn it’s not all perfect soil and ocean views, they have pest up here too. Thrips, aphids and snails are all regulars but the biggest problem is the humidity. I have enough problems with mildew as is but can you imagine an average of 70% humidity for most of the year in addition to 34″ of rainfall? Cucumber, squash and pumpkins as well as tomatoes aren’t fans of this climate so tend not to produce very well. O’o is all organic even though they cant legally say so, so no chemicals or pesticides. They use crop rotation, cover crops and row covers to help protect their plants.
The farm gives tours twice a week educating those who attend about everything farm including composting, vermiculture, healthy soil, chickens and growing organic food.  Speaking of chickens the farm has a great coop pictured below with a couple of wild roosters to keep the hens in check. Richard hopes to establish a rolling chicken coop here in the near future which I look forward to seeing. At the end of the tour guest are treated to a gourmet lunch cooked on site by one of their fantastic chefs Barry Clark.
My dreams and imagination are in overdrive, especially upon hearing that O’o doesn’t need to do any outside marketing. This farm works with their three restaurants when planning what to grow and takes orders daily for each menu. In addition to the tours the farm sails full speed ahead with only four (very busy) helpers. I don’t know about you but this sounds like a dream come true.