OFG meets the 4th Tuesday of every month.

All of our blog posts are now done through our Surfrider chapter website at
http://sandiego.surfrider.org/programs/ocean-friendly-gardens You can also visit our Facebook page at 'Ocean Friendly Gardens - San Diego'

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Iceplant Is Not Good For Slopes

This photo was recently posted to the California Native Plant Society listserve with the following note:"Here's an area previously covered with iceplant. During rainstorms, iceplant notoriously inflates like a water balloon, the extra weight pulls the loosened soil down the hill with it, causing a mudslide. This mudslide traveled more than 100 feet down the hill. A few more of these, and the city will be replacing the guardrail, sidewalk, and street. West-facing slope of 30th Street, north of Laurel. BTW, no mudslides were noted on the same slope in the area renovated with native plants, directly north of here......"

Iceplant, while considered drought tolerant, is a bad choice for slopes and bluffs because not only does it actually contribute to erosion but it is non-native and invasive.  For slopes and bluffs consider native alternatives that have a deep root system such as Iva haysiana "San Diego Marsh Elder" or Baccharis Pigeon Point "Dwarf Coyote Bush"  both of which are fire resistant as well!

For (extremely) detailed information about what to do (and what not to do) with your slope and a list of appropriate plants check out the following article by Bert Wilson of Las Pilitas Nursery: Slopes   or visit Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido for a printed list of appropriate slope plantings for San Diego County.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ocean Friendly Gardens in Sun Valley

Check out this great blog post from Sunset about a street in Sun Valley that was entirely converted to sustainable landscaping, biofiltration, and water harvesting!!

A perfect example that Ocean Friendly Gardens are perfect for our inland neighborhoods as well as our coastal neighborhoods!!

Here's the the link to the blog.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Water Smart Gardening Festival at The Garden!!!

Cuyamaca College's Water Conservation Garden will host it's annual Water Smart Gardening Festival this Saturday, Nov 13, from 9am-3pm.

Visit the gardens and spend the day at The Garden shopping for plants and learning more about how to conserve water in Southern California!!

Activities for ALL ages!

Event Highlights:
  •  Plant Sale
  • Rain Barrel Sale 
  • Gardening Worshops & Products 
  • Kids' Fun: Ms. Smarty Plants Dinosaur Show (10am), Rad Hatter Hat Making, Face Painting 
  • Live Music and Great Food! 
$3 General Admission; Members and Kids 12 and under Free!

Free Parking.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lawn Patrol announced for La Jolla on November 7th!

SurfriderSD is excited to announce our first Lawn Patrol is coming up on November 7th, where we'll take a walk around a neighborhood and check out who's got the right plants, the right design to capture run-off and/or rain-water, and good soil quality.

Meet at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (5627 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla 92037-7524) at 9:45am on Sunday November 7th so you can sign in, get a cup of locally roasted organic coffee or tea, and we can get started close to 10am. The walk will take about 90 minutes, include many stops and there is a slight elevation change in a few areas but nothing steep. The overall route is about 1/2 mile and will finish up back at Bird Rock Coffee. Any questions? Please email ofg@surfriderSD.org

Monday, October 18, 2010

Post Plant Sale Sale!!

Bush Poppy

There are lots of leftover native plants from Saturday's annual CNPS plant sale and they are all available for HALF price before tomorrow's CNPS chapter meeting at Balboa Park!!

Canyon Prince Wild Rye

From 5pm tomorrow until dark there will be a half price plant sale on the lawn in front of the Casa del Prado patio.  There are some great species left at a great price like native Bush Poppies, native Grasses, and Manzanitas (see photos)!  Checks only will be accepted.

Manzanita flowers

Visit the CNPSSD website for more info.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kill Your Lawn!

Another great reason to Kill Your Lawn and put in an OFG!

Olivenhain Municipal Water District is offering a $1/square foot rebate for all of their customers who remove their lawns in favor of drought tolerant gardens!   The rebate is only good until December 1st so don't delay!

For more info and to fill out the application click here or visit the Olivenhain MWD Homepage and follow the turf removal link under their Headlines section.

Applicable Service Areas:
Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD) includes portions of the cities of Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Diego, Solana Beach and San Marcos, as well as the communities of Olivenhain, Leucadia, Elfin Forest, Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, Santa Fe Valley and 4S Ranch.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Working together often makes the sum greater than the individual parts and Surfrider always looks to team up with community partners when possible. Here's a recent press release from OMWD highlighting that....

Mira Costa College Landscape Architecture Students and Surfrider Foundation Partner with OMWD on Sustainable Garden Project. Innovative program launches to provide job training, promote water conservation and save tax dollars

Encinitas, CA– Olivenhain Municipal Water District kicked off the design phase of its sustainable landscape demonstration garden Tuesday afternoon by welcoming Mira Costa College landscape architecture students and the Surfrider Foundation. In a unique partnership, students will spend the fall semester designing a sustainable landscape demonstration garden at OMWD’s headquarters. This garden will provide an example of how public agencies can work together with local colleges to provide valuable hands-on experience that students need to thrive in their future careers while simultaneously offering a public service to the community and saving tax dollars.

Megan Fairleigh, a Mira Costa horticulture instructor, recognized OMWD’s plans to construct a sustainable landscape demonstration garden as a partnership opportunity, allowing for service to the community while providing her landscape design students with real-world experience. OMWD began joint efforts with Mira Costa in May, noting the benefit of procuring a quality design at nearly no cost to its ratepayers while also helping to instill the values of water-efficient landscape techniques in the next generation of local landscape architects and designers. The Surfrider Foundation, which has partnered with OMWD in promoting the former’s Ocean-Friendly Garden program by which to minimize urban runoff flows to the ocean, supports the project due to the Ocean-Friendly principles being integrated into the garden’s ultimate design.

Mira Costa’s Horticulture 230 course session at OMWD headquarters provided the class with its first opportunity to analyze the location at which the garden’s ultimate design will be constructed and to interact with OMWD staff to clarify the vision for the garden. Ms. Fairleigh stated, “I am very much looking forward to partnering with OMWD on their sustainable landscape demonstration garden. This project is a perfect microcosm of the current issues in sustainable landscape design and will prove to be an excellent learning opportunity for my students. This project perfectly fits with our mission at California's community colleges, and career and technical education programs in particular, which is to get our students jobs. A real project for a high-profile municipal client that will actually be built is an ideal portfolio piece and will show future employers that Mira Costa students have hands-on experience and real-world knowledge.” Mira Costa student Meghan Blair expressed excitement at the opportunity, noting that “It is such a great opportunity to get away from the typical residential yard and out into the community to do something positive for the greater good."

In the midst of major construction at its campus, located at 1966 Olivenhain Road in Encinitas, OMWD began planning earlier in the year to transform its current landscape into an interpretive garden showcasing sustainable principles that can be recreated in a residential setting. OMWD was required to update landscaping at its campus as a permit condition with the City of Carlsbad. Upon completion, the sustainable landscape demonstration garden will cover approximately 7,000 square feet at OMWD’s campus. Construction of the sustainable landscape demonstration garden is expected to begin in early 2011 with completion projected for later that summer.

Design concepts, sustainable landscape principles and guidelines, and up-to-date information about the sustainable landscape demonstration garden project will be available on the project’s webpage at www.olivenhain.com.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Gardening Blog

As we all know one of the main concepts behind the Ocean Friendly Gardens program is using climate appropriate plants that are low water and provide habitat for local wildlife.  Well nothing matches that description more than our native plants that evolved here!

The San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has a new gardening committee that is dedicated to all aspects of native gardening, from design to maintenance and now they have a new blog where they will be sharing all of their ideas and knowledge!

Check it out here and be sure to follow along with them as well as here at the San Diego OFG Blog to keep updated on the latest news and ideas for creating a drought tolerant and Ocean Friendly Garden!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rebates, Rebates!

Not only is water conservation sexy, it can also save you money!

San Diego County
Rain Barrel Sales - 2nd event this Sunday, Sept. 26, 9am-1pm, Fallbrook Village Square, first come first served click here for info. (Note: it's the same day as our Hands On Workshop, but people could go before the HOW since it starts at 11am.)

City of San Diego
Click Here for info on turf removal and irrigation retrofit rebates (+ info on rainwater harvesting and more) - for single family residential, multi-family and commercial properties.

All cities
Click Here for info on Metropolitan Water District rebates.

Know of any other rebates or great water conservation deals? Let us know and we'll try to pass them on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mulch and Compost Special!

Help clean our oceans in two ways … make your garden more Ocean Friendly by using local compost and mulch. Plus, for every Cubic Yard you buy from El Corazon Compost Facility, operated by Agri Service, they will donate $2 to support the Ocean Friendly Gardens Program!

Compost helps foster living soil which promotes water infiltration and reduces runoff at the same time it purifies water. Locally recycled, the compost is made of green landscape trimmings to reduce material sent to the landfill. Listed by OMRI, it is used by Organic growers and adds slow release nutrients to make your plants thrive!

Call 800-262-4167 and tell them you want to support Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens when ordering.

For more info on El Coazon visit www.agriserviceinc.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

Native Plant Workshops

Tree of Life Nursery, a nursery in San Juan Capistrano specializing in California native plants, is featuring 'Replace Your Lawn' workshops on Fridays throughout the month of September.

Their next workshop will be Plant Selection: Flowering Perennials and is a perfect opportunity to learn more about native plant selections for the garden!
An Expert Guest Series will also be held on Saturdays in October and November and will feature Greg Rubin and Bob Perry, two Southern California natives who are experts in landscaping with native and drought tolerant plants.
Check out their website for more info and be sure to come to our next Hands on Workshop in Encinitas on the 26th to learn how to make your garden native and Ocean Friendly!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is your garden Waterwise?

The San Diego Botanical Garden is hosting a 3-hour workshop on waterwise gardens. Soils expert Sharon May, irrigation specialist Kathleen Eagle, and local author/garden coach Nan Sterman are teaming up to teach this combined approach on gardening.

Learn to create a waterwise garden from the ground up using an integrated approach: soil organics, appropriate plants and efficient irrigation. Begin by learning how to manage soils and soil organics as a powerful tool for water efficiency. Compost works with microbes in our soils to capture, store, and transport limited water resources to satisfy your plants' needs. Next, they will discuss the enormous palette of waterwise plants suited to our region. With so many beautiful plants to choose from, learn how to combine plants to achieve year-round color and interest. Finally, they will cover the most up-to-date irrigation technologies and methods including how to retrofit existing irrigation, how to install a new irrigation system, and how to manage the water support your new, waterwise garden.

Saturday, September 25th at 1pm

This cost for the class is $70 for SDBG members, and $90 for non-members. Pre-registration is required by September 22. Visit http://www.sdbgarden.org/ or call (760)436.3036 x 206.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ocean Friendly Gardens in the news...

First off, thanks to everyone that made it out to the Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Gardens 'Basics' workshop last week in Encinitas. It was a great class with a nice mix of attendees. If you missed the basics portion of this three-part workshop there is still an opportunity to attend the 'Hands On Workshop' in September and 'Garden Assistance Program' in October, both in Encinitas.

The 'poster-child-garden' from the first OFG series this spring was just featured in the La Jolla Light...

"Surfrider also hopes to teach homeowners about pollution prevention from lawn pesticides and other items entering the ocean. "It's (workshops) for people concerned about ocean pollution and what they can do about it at home. I think it adds a lot of value to the home, and it makes your yard almost maintenance-free," Geever said."

Click Here for the fully story.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yoga Class to Benefit Surfrider

Join us a week from Saturday after your morning session for some yoga bliss in Encinitas!

Encinitas Chiropractic is hosting an outdoor yoga class on Saturday the 28th at Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas. The class is donation only and all proceeds will benefit The Surfrider Foundation!!

The best part about the location is that after the class you can check out the restored Cottonwood Creek that runs through the park, admire the native and drought tolerant plants and check out a working example of biofiltration (where plants and soils filter pollutants from water). This is exactly the purpose of an OFG! Retain as much water as possible on site and filter any water through biofiltration before it leaves the property.

(the second best part is that you are only a short walk from Moonlight beach and downtown Encinitas so you can either head straight to the beach or cruise into town for brunch!!)
What: all levels yoga class
When: Saturday August 28th from 9:30am -10:30am
Where: Cottonwood Creek Park, 95 North Vulcan Ave, Encinitas

Saturday, August 14, 2010

OFG in Encinitas

So nothing could be cooler than arriving at the Olivenhain Water Expo after talking about native and sustainable gardens all day and finding a GORGEOUS native OFG across the street!!

Not only were we stoked to see this garden but the homeowners just happened to be in it and they've agreed to come to our next workshop series to share their experiences in taking out their lawn and converting to a native landscape!
This garden was like a gem in a neighborhood full of dull turf front yards and it was full of beautiful flowers, cool stones, lighting and wildlife!

Here are a few photos of this fantastic garden which, we found out, was designed by Dave Buchanan, a native Californian and landscape designer who has been designing native landscapes since 1985!
(sorry the photos are a bit blurry, it was dusk :) If you would like to see the garden in person it is right across from the Village Creek HOA Recreation area in Encinitas but please do not disturb the homeowners...better yet, come meet them a week from Tuesday at the next OFG series!!)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Native Plant Sale

Interested in using native plants but not sure where to get them? Well look no further. The California Native Plant Society is hosting its' Annual Native Plant Sale on:

Saturday, October 16

11 AM – 3 PM

Balboa Park, San Diego

Casa del Prado Theater Courtyard

1700 Village Place

There will be native shrubs, trees, flowering plants, seeds, books and posters available for purchase. More importantly, the event is held by friendly, knowledgeable local experts who can answer any questions you may have.

For more information about this event or the San Diego Chapter of the CNPS, click here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pictures from our Summer Series

We are super excited to show off some pictures from our first Ocean Friendly Garden in San Diego. Again, we give a big thanks to Steve for donating his yard to this program and to all the volunteers who showed up to work.

To see the step by step installation process click here:


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Olivenhain MWD Water Expo

We will have a booth this Thursday August 12 at the 2010 Water Expo at Village Creek Recreation area in Encinitas. Join us at this free event from 6-8pm as we help to educate homeowners and others about how the choices they make in their garden effect water quality in our watersheds and the ocean!!

Check out the flier for more information!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ocean Friendly Garden Summer/Fall Series Available

The San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is stoked to announce we will be offering another OFG series in the San Diego area. . .this time in North County!

This three part series combines a unique classroom session and hands on courses that will show you how to improve or implement your very own Ocean Friendly Garden. With so many of our water quality and supply issues tied to our current landscaping practices, now is the time to step up and help protect our oceans, waves, and beaches.

Whether you are interested in completely redoing your landscape, or just want to install a few Ocean Friendly features, this is the program for you.

Three easy steps to get the most from the Ocean Friendly Gardens Program:

1) Attend the OFG Basics Course lead by OFG certified landscape professionals to learn the CPR’s of gardening (Conservation, Retention, and Permeability)

2) Attend the Hands On Workshop to apply what you have learned by planning an Ocean Friendly Garden at a local residence

3) Join in on a Garden Assistance Program workday and help your neighbor implement their Ocean Friendly Garden while learning how to implement features yourself

The entire program is only $40 (including all three events) and even includes the official Ocean Friendly Gardens textbook (a $20 value).

You can learn even more about the program and sign up at http://www.surfridersd.org/ofg.php.

Ready to sign up now? Simply click on the "Pay Now" icon to pay through Pay Pal.

Have you attended an OFG program in the past? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Working With HOAs

Installing an Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) can be enough of a challenge without having to face the roadblock of an HOA (Home Owner Association) board which will not approve your project. Making changes without informing your HOA and obtaining the proper approval can lead to hard feelings, fines, and other problems no matter how good the original intentions are. There are steps that every homeowner should take while working with their HOA that will make things much easier and generally lead to a fairly rapid approval of the project.

That being said, even though most HOAs are fairly amenable to low water designs, there are HOAs out there which will try to refuse any design that does not include lawn or lush tropical plantings and it is actually against the law for them to do so.
Our local Surfrider chapter is in the process of putting together some easy guidelines for working with your HOA which will be available next month.

In the meantime, have an HOA that's giving you some trouble about your low water plantings? Here's your backup:
Under the Davis-Sterling Act, Civil Code §1353.8. Low Water-Using Plants. specifically states:

"...a provision of any of the governing documents of a common interest development shall be void and unenforceable if it ... Prohibits, or includes conditions that have
the effect of prohibiting, the use of low water-using plants as a group..."

Have you had a bad or good experience with your HOA? Tell us about it in a comment!

Botanic Gardens

The GAP program was a wonderful success and we are so excited to see gardens all over San Diego become OFGs!!!

Our next OFG program starts in August and one great way to get a head start on designing your new garden is to visit one of our local botanic gardens!

San Diego Botanic Garden (also known to many of us as Quail Botanic Garden) in Encinitas is a beautiful labyrinth of gardens tucked away in the hills between the 5 and El Camino Real. They have a two gorgeous native gardens along with plants from around the world, but their most awesome feature is the new Hamilton Children's Garden which features gorgeous plants, fun artistic garden features and a little Quail habitat with a covey of our shy little state bird that is much harder to find in the wild these days. (They rely on native plants for food!)

For those of you further to the south, The Cuyamaca Water Conservation Garden, is another fantastic resource for learning about plants, irrigation, mulches, and other water conservation techniques.
Curious to learn more about native plants?
Check out some of Southern California's native plant nurseries!
Las Pilitas Nursery, Tree of Life Nursery, Recon Native Plants, and Moosa Creek Nursery are all great resources for buying and learning more about our native plants and wildlife!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Garden Assistance Program a Huge Success

On Sunday, June 6th, over 25 Surfrider volunteers helped implement San Diego's first Ocean Friendly Garden during our inaugural GAP (Garden Assistance Program).

The GAP is the final part of a three part series that helps educate our community members on what it means to have an Ocean Friendly Garden and how they can help reduce pollution that comes from our classic landscaping practices. The GAP followed a 3 hour Ocean Friendly Gardens Basic Class and a Hands on Workshop that highlighted how to incorporate CPR (conservation, permeability, and retention) in their own homes.

We are set to announce our schedule for the next OFG series in San Diego, so stay tuned to the blog for upcoming dates, times, and how to sign up.

Our homeowner, Steve Roeder, who was selected for the GAP from a pool of OFG class members, not only has a beautiful garden at his home, but will serve as a model for the community to check out when installing their own Ocean Friendly Garden. Steve's garden not only conserves water but also captures all the water coming from rainfall and irrigation. This means he will no longer have runoff that contributes/picks up pollutants and harms our oceans, waves, and beaches.

Check out the step by step installation process that happened on Sunday here:


There a few last minute touches remaining, so check back for the final pictures of the garden.

We owe a huge thanks to all our volunteer's who spent their Sunday creating this masterpiece that will help grow our program!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garden Assistance Workday-Volunteers Needed

This Sunday, June 6th, Surfrider SD will be hosting our first Garden Assitance Workday as part of the Ocean Friendly Gardens program. We will be working to install our very first official OFG in San Diego! This garden will serve as a model for other homeowners to use when converting thier own landscapes.

We currently need more volunteers to come help out. The event is from 10am-4pm, but even if you can't make the whole day, we are stoked for any help you can offer. We will have all the tools and supplies you need, and lunch is included.

The most exciting aspect of the day is that it will allow you to experience an entire conversion to an Ocean Friendly Garden in just one day. We will be covering everything from turf removal, composting, grading, installing dry creeks and retention basins, planting native plants, installing driveway cuts and rain barrels and so much more! Of course it will all be centered around our principals of CPR (conservation, retention, and permeability.

We are capping the number of volunteers due to the size of the yard so please RSVP to me (dylan@surfridersd.org) if you can make it. Bring closed toed shoes and a water bottle. The address is 5560 Chelsea Ave, La Jolla, 92037. Steve, the homeowner, has an amazing plan ready to go!

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ocean Friendly Gardens are easy to implement. Here's the latest on our program in San Diego.

If you've been participating in our Ocean Friendly Gardens program, you started by attending an OFG Basics Course which is a classroom style lecture, and then a hands-on workshop.  Up next is our garden assistance day when we will actually implement an Ocean Friendly Garden with the help of our volunteers!  We chose member, Steve Roeder's home for this workshop series.  He's a long-time surfer, and although not a gardener,  very supportive of what Surfrider is trying to accomplish through our new Ocean Friendly Gardens program.  

A few weeks ago, people from all over the county met up for the hands-on workshop at his home to evaluate the yard before we change it.  It was good because other folks who want to implement Ocean Friendly Gardens could come over and review the process with Steve before they do it themselves. 

What was interesting about Steve’s yard is that it is very typical for San Diego: lots of lawn that sucks up water; gutters, downspouts and a driveway that carries runoff right into the street; and old juniper trees and other plants that aren’t native, and require lots of water.

We got together with a bunch of volunteers, and our friends at G3, The Green Gardens Group who are the experts in this field, and are helping us with the program.  After going through their site evaluation worksheets, we realized just how much water Steve was wasting, and all the things we could do to prevent run-off, and add water back to the watershed.  It was unbelievable how much water was being wasted.  Steve realized this about a year ago, and had actually stopped watering his lawn!

We measured the site, did a soil and compaction test, evaluated the irrigation set-up and requirements, and figured out a plan to help Steve go from a polluting waterhog yard, to a sustainable, Ocean Friendly Garden. Essentially he’ll be restoring the natural processes, and native habitat, which means more butterflies and wildlife will populate his yard while native plants thrive.  How cool is that?

After our evaluation, and hands on workshop, Steve decided to hire a professional landscape designer, Jeremy from Artemesia Landscape Design because it’s helpful to have someone draw up the plans, help with plant selection, and understand the implementation process.   Jeremy is a long-time Surfrider member and has been an amazing resource for folks who want to create Ocean Friendly Gardens.  His service is not free, however what is invested upfront in the design service will be saved with lower water bills, and a beautiful landscape that is low or no maintenance.

The other interesting part about this entire project, is that next door is a home that has a tropical landscape that must be costing a fortune in water bills.  I wonder if they would compare water bills with Steve when our make-over’s complete?

If you would like to help us out on the day of transformation, please email Dylan@surfridersd.org, our volunteer who runs the program locally, or if you would prefer to just check out what we're doing, simply stop by and say "hi" on 6/6 sometime between 10a.m. - 4p.m.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Succulent Sizzle

Personally, I'm a big succulent fan, mainly aloe. Not just because I am lazy, umm I mean an environmentalist, and don't like to water much but because they look cool. Some grow like a tree but most are like a big beautiful bush or smaller, almost like a ground cover if you plan enough. It was good to see this article in the U-T recently...

“Succulents make dramatic statements in landscapes large or small and also in container gardens,” she said. “What I hadn’t realized is that they can also produce dramatic flowers.”

And they’re practical to use because they require little water once established and low maintenance. Although not completely fireproof, they are more fire-resistant than most plants because of their high water content.

Succulents are defined as any plant storing water in leaves, stems or roots to withstand drought. Cactuses are succulents, but botanists set them apart in their own category of Cactaceae. Botanists have categorized succulent plants into many different genera. The most widely used in home gardens are aloes, agaves, aeoniums, kalanchoe, sedums, echeveria, euphorbia and crassula. Within each genus are species and varieties, some man-made through hybridization.

Click Here for the full story.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Volunteers Wanted!

At the last meeting we were brainstorming on how people can get involved with the Ocean Friendly Gardens Program in San Diego. Lots of people like native plants, water conservation and pollution prevention but may live in an apartment or condo. There are still lots of ways to help make a difference....

OFG Volunteer Opps:
- add blog entries here to keep the content fresh and local
- create an OFG video to help create awareness on youtube, etc.
- photo/video document the Garden Assistance Program and Hands On Workshop
- identify existing OFG's in San Diego, help create an online database with photos, etc
- graphic design -> create an 'OFG plaque' that people can display at their home landscape
- HOA specialist -> someone to look into hoa rules and help them convert to ofg's
- Community Garden coordinator/specialist -> identify existing OFG community gardens and help develop more OFG's in public places
- 'Unused Grass Removal' specialist -> someone to help identify places that irrigate heavily for no good reason and convert them to OFG
- OFG secretary -> take notes at meetings and email group updates

See, lots to choose from! If you would like to get involved, please email Dylan@surfriderSD.org

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rain Vessels

Rain barrels and other water catchment systems are fantastic ways to save rainwater for later use in the garden or home, but they do much more than that, they can help to reduce runoff pollution by collecting the water that pours off of our roofs before it runs down our driveways, into the gutters and out to our watersheds and the ocean, picking up pollutants along the way.

Thankfully, due to our water crises and increasing education about water pollution, water catchment is finally becoming popular and with it come a wonderful variety of options for catching and re-using that water!

One new option is Rain Vessels, a local company that offers ceramic rain barrels or 'vessels' for those highly conspicuous areas of the garden or patio.
They come in a variety of sizes and glaze colors and can be purchased through Courtyard Pottery in Solana Beach. You can also check out the Rain Vessels blog to learn more!
To learn more about water cachement and other Ocean Friendly Garden techniques sign up to attend the Ocean Friendly Gardens program workshops!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

O'side Native Garden Tour Tomorrow!

Sorry for the late notice everyone but the Buena Vista Audubon Native Plant Club ... that's a mouthful ... is hosting their annual native plant tour tomorrow in Oceanside starting at 2:00pm!

The walking tour is free (although a small donation is appreciated):

Here's the dirt:
Come see over 15 Native Plant Gardens in the historic Seaside Neighborhood of
Downtown Oceanside! Plant experts and neighborhood locals will lead a 1.5 mile
walking tour tosee these wonderful front yard gardens. Meet at 2pm Sunday,April
18th at St. Mary's School parking lot at 515Wisconsin Avenue. The guided walk is
free. Local kids will sell lemonade and cookies along the route. St. Mary'sSchool
is one block east of the 101 Cafe at Coast Highway and Wisconsin Ave. This annual
event is sponsored by theBuena Vista Native Plant Club and the Oceanside
CoastalNeighborhood Association. Go to
BVAudubon.org or OCNA.infoor call the Buena Vista Nature Center at 760-439-2473 for more information.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Water Harvesting Tour

Water Harvesting Tour and Short Film Screening
Saturday, May 8th 9:00AM-10:30AM and 2:00PM-3:30PM

Come see water harvesting in action! Guided by Water Harvesting Professional and Permaculturist, Brook Sarson, you'll see how a 1320 gallon rainwater tank combined with laundry greywater and bath greywater work together to grow a garden of edibles using only 1/4 of the water that most San Diegans use each day.

We will start with a 20 minute short film, produced by the Surfrider Foundation, called The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water. It's excellent and very kid friendly. Space is limited, so RSVP soon.

After the film, about 9:30, and 2:30, we will take a 45-60 minute tour where you will learn about simple greywater systems, do-it-yourself options, rainwater-harvesting systems and resources. You can schedule an appointment with Brook to assess greywater opportunities at your site. Suggested donation of $5/person will go toward supporting water activism in San Diego. Please RSVP to Brook at brook@h2o-me.com or call 619.964.4838 and I will give you the address.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Native Garden Tour in LA this Weekend!

The Theodore Payne Foundation, a native nursery and educational resource in the Los Angeles area will host their 7th Annual Native Garden Tour this weekend which will showcase over 50 beautiful all California native gardens in the Los Angeles area.

Visit their Garden Tour page for a sneak preview of the gardens that will be showcased on the tour and to get more information.

Ready to plant natives in your garden? Along with Theodore Payne, Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano are also great resources for native plants!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Captain Planet in the Making

If you have a few minutes you gotta check out this collection of photos from an Indian Design Group, Captain Planet in the making. I found their photos to be very interesting although lacking some description.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Home developers take a step in the right direction

"Home project takes green to another level" - by Onell Soto, Union Tribune

At a new home development now going up in Carlsbad, the gutters run into big plastic buckets shaped to look like terra cotta vases.
Homeowners will be expected to use a hose attached to the buckets to water the drought-tolerant landscaping — which is included in the purchase price.
It’s a little thing, collecting rainwater, but it’s a sign of the steps that Brookfield Homes has taken to build homes that use less water and less energy. The company has spent the last two years coming up with ways to green up its first development since last decade’s housing boom.
The goal is to tap into a growing ecological mindset in the marketplace, said Stephen Doyle, who oversees Brookfield’s operations in San Diego and Riverside counties.

Read the rest of the article here: LINK

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh the Insanity!!!

World Water Day marked the premiere of Surfrider's new short film, the Cycle of Insanity, as well as the official kickoff of the Know Your H2O and Ocean Friendly Gardens Programs.

The animated 20 minute film addressed with humor and clarity the differences between the water cycle as we learn it in elementary school and the much darker and more complicated water cycle that really brings water into our homes and landscapes.

Funny and sometimes scary the film easily slides from runoff pollution to desalination to rain barrels and, in SchoolHouse Rock style, presents in layman's terms all of the problems and solutions that must be addressed with our current water cycle.

Click here to view this must see film: http://vimeo.com/10328536
Or you can access it through Surfrider San Diego's website at: http://www.surfridersd.org/

ALSO: Stay tuned for more info on OFG's NEW series of garden workshops starting April 7th or click here for more info and to sign up!! http://www.surfridersd.org/ofg.php

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

World Water Day Events

Since the major driving influence behind the OFG campaign is water conservation (which in turn leads to less polluted runoff running into our oceans) we wanted to share with you some of the upcoming events related to World Water Day (03.22.10)

  • Saturday the 20th the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation will host their 4th annual WWD Festival which will include native plant giveaways and a garden tour, Wetlands and Watersheds models, and other water and waterconservation related exhibits. The Festival runs from 10am-4pm at the Lagoon Discovery Center in Carlsbad.Check here for more info: http://www.aguahedionda.org
  • Monday the 22nd (World Water Day!) Surfrider's new short film THE CYCLE OF INSANITY will premiere at The Loft at UCSD. The premise of the film is that the water cycle we all learned about in the 4th grade has been dramatically altered over time, leaving us with a broken system that wastes water and energy, pollutes our natural waterways, harms critical marine life, and poorly deals with flooding and other water management problems. There will be three showings (4pm, 6pm, and 7:30 pm) and you are encouraged to attend any or all three! For more info and directions go to: http://www.surfridersd.org/water.php

Thursday, February 25, 2010

O.C. Couple Faces Fines for New Garden

This is an example of what we hope to prevent with education through the Ocean Friendly Gardens program. Check out the attached newsclip to see video of the garden, the plants in front will eventually fill to completely screen the bark areas.
The property owners could resolve their issue by planting more drought tolerant plants to come up to the city's 40% coverage requirement but the issue at hand is addressing the strict restrictions and regulations set by local governments and HOA's regarding what is or is not acceptable in front yard landscapes.
While a bark yard with annual wildflowers is not necessarily the ideal replacement for a front yard lawn it does save water, allows for permeability, and does not require any fertilizers or other chemicals.

Jail for an eco-friendly frontyard? Couple in Orange defend themselves for ripping out their lawn

February 25, 2010 12:28 pm
If you missed the KTLA link from The Times' home page, here's the story: While some cities in Southern California are calling for mandatory water conservation, officials in Orange are taking a family to court because their drought-tolerant lawn alternative is not up to code.In what sounds eerily similar to the “yard cop” stories Steve Lopez has reported in the past, Quan and Angelina Han have been going back and forth with the city for more than a year about their lack of lawn. Prompted by one neighbor’s anonymous complaint, the Hans were cited for not having 40% of their yard landscaped, per city law. The couple were contacted after they tore out their lawn and left the yard bare. They have since planted drought-tolerant landscaping, including some lavender, rosemary and native wildflower seeds, which they say are germinating under wood chips. You can see the current landscape on KTLA video here: http://www.ktla.com/videobeta/?watchId=21ff7dd4-0e1b-4de6-91df-6eb2169b9d41
The Hans have been summoned to court on Tuesday. The maximum penalty: six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.-- Lisa Boone
Photo illustration: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rainwater Harvesting - Surfrider San Diego's February Chapter Meeting

In case you missed the last chapter meeting, we have posted the video online;


Brook Sarson is owner and founder of H2OME, San Diego's first rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling installation business. Offering consultations on water reuse and storage opportunities, H2OME provides a complete solution from consultation to installation, including passive and active rainwater harvesting and greywater use in conjunction with appropriate plantings and landscaping. Brook's vision for H2OME is to educate people about real yet simple solutions for San Diego's water shortage. Brook graduated with a B.S. in in Electrical Engineering and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. She has studied Permaculture in Arizona and completed a farming internship at City College Urban Farm. Brook has been an instructor with Victory Gardens San Diego, is a member of San Diego Roots - Sustainable Food Project, Food Not Lawns and The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association. She currently holds workshops, classes and Open Houses to educate people about water harvesting.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

and it really got me fired up again about HOAs and how they are the #1 culprit behind wasteful water practices, contributing to invasive plant expansion, and usage of highly toxic pesticides. I have been roadblocked several times by my HOA for building a Ocean Friendly Garden in front of my unit. They still turn on the sprinklers after i turn them off, continue to use a highly toxic pestiside as weed killer (even days prior to a major rain event) and have even told me to remove my garden because it looks "wild, dead and unkept" -  the proper term is dormant. There are so many HOAs throughout san diego and along the coast that are preventing people from following OFG practices. Its sickening!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Ocean Friendly Garden Design

Isn't it amazing to think that by simply changing the design of your garden you can stop thousands of gallons of runoff pollution from reaching our oceans!?
If you're thinking of putting in a new Ocean Friendly Garden now is the perfect time to plan out your new garden so that you can get things in the ground before the hot summer sun arrives!

One of the most important and overlooked steps in the planning of an OFG is, well....planning! Once the lawn is ripped out what then? For many people the next step is a trip to the nursery and a carload of plants that look pretty in the pots but aren't necessarily compatible in the landscape or good for year-round interest in the landscape....and what about mulching, irrigation, and grading? The results of these crash-landscapes can often result in years of damage control.

So how do you plan out your new landscape anyway? There are literally thousands of plants to choose from, countless garden styles, and a plethora of stone, pottery, mulches and other materials....where to start!?

Luckily the new upcoming series of OFG Workshops will cover not only how to design your new garden but will also include subjects such as lawn removal, irrigation recommendations, intallation, and care and maintenance of your new garden. The seasonal series will offer not only informational classes but will also feature on-site assessment and installation workshops!
Stay tuned for dates and more information and in the meantime check out the new Ocean Friendly Gardens Book for lots of great information on creating OFGs and how they work to reduce runoff pollution and save resources!