Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain

Change Your Gardening Habits During the Drought + Coffee and Clippings May 3rd

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Since 1986 (4)In Oceanside we live like it’s an oasis, but while it may seem like a never ending sunny beach-side paradise, the truth is, we live in a desert and we’re in the worst drought in history.

There are a lot of ideas and opinions about what to do about it  and the state is even hosting a congressional meeting to try to figure it out, but in the mean time, we’re trying to do what we can to conserve.

On the morning of May 3rd, 2014, the Friends of Fire Mountain will be hosting a Coffee and Clippings exchange in the Mellon residence garden –  Meet your green-thumbed neighbors and plan to trade plants clippings, swap tips and maybe even enjoy a cup of coffee or two as the spring gardening season begins.  Bring plants clippings of all sorts from your garden beds to share. While you’re at it, pack up anything else you might like to swap, including fruit and veggies from your garden.

Friends of Fire Mountain neighbor Jay has written multiple blog posts dedicated to the subject of gardening, including tips, rants, and planting suggestions which you can find here, so we consulted Jay as to what his household has done to keep the garden growing in the middle of this difficult situation. Here’s his helpful rant on the subject:

Being a good Oceanside citizen, I did what I considered responsible. I turned lawn into succulent beds in some areas, turn off the sprinklers in others and reduced the watering times on others. In the last two years we have reduced our water consumption by 40%!. HOWEVER, our water bill has gone up, which totally sucks. I understand the business case for covering fixed costs. MWD and SDCWA have to cover the same expenses with lower water use so the price has to go up. This would be at the least acceptable if I didn’t think both MWD and SDCWA were both operated by dishonest scoundrels serving powerful political and financial interests beyond the control  of the voting public.

That being said, I have accepted thinner grass and dead spots in the yard. For the last two years I have spread mushroom/horse compost on the lawn, making it much hardier. The trees and succulents will survive, I hope, on less water and we will have to kill off more lawn and turn to cactus and desert grasses.

One place that is getting water is the vegetable garden. I am using a different method for my leaf crops this year, what with the extreme early heat. In the past I have used over head sprinkling on timers for beets, lettuce, garlic and carrots. This year I have gone back to hand watering with a wand. I am using water when I need it, exactly where I need it and how much I need. This obviously takes more time, but the results are outstanding. I have the best crops I have had in years and am using the same or less water as last year. When I go to the next crop   sequence, which will be tomatoes and eggplant and cukes and peppers I will do the same.

Speaking if which, in the last several crop cycles I have been attacked by nematodes on all of the above mentioned plants, resulting in really marginal crop production, expressed in small, single bloom crops of all of the above, plus unbelievably, green beans. A local friend turned me on to Mighty’mato/Garden Life. The sell grafted plants on nematode resistant root stock. There products are available on line at

http://mightymato.com/ or at Armstrong Nursery and I think the Vista farmer’s market. I trialed 3 winter tomatoes from them that produced well until about two weeks ago. When I pulled the plants the roots looked normal. They are a  pricey option, but I hope to get 2-3 times the production. I chose this route rather than the only other proven solution which is VAPAM. This product will kill nematodes all right, but very much like all wars, there is collateral  damage, everything else in your soil, good or bad dies too. I have spent too much time composting in beneficial components and critters to start again.

That’s about it-don’t pretend we don’t live in a desert, put your water where it counts and pray for rain. Wouldn’t hurt t tell your paid politicians  that there are too many people here.

— Jay, on Fire Mountain Dr.

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One thought on “Change Your Gardening Habits During the Drought + Coffee and Clippings May 3rd

  1. I am looking forward to meeting our neighbors who are interested in gardening at the May 3, Clippings and Coffee Event. I have info to share, questions to ask, and clippings to share or trade!

    One important bit of info that I want to share is how we collect water off of our roof on foggy or dewy mornings. Although there has been no rain, our gutters collect the dew, send it down our rain chains and gutter drains right into our water containers.

    Jim has a worm farm and we compost our left over veggies and fruit. We have many plants/clippings to share and are looking forward to meeting you Saturday morning, 9-12! We’ll have coffee, goodies, and bags for your clippings! 🙂

    See you then,

    LeAnne Mellon

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