Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain

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Fire Mountain Home and Garden Sale to benefit Canine Companions for Independence

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.17.28 AM Don’t miss the annual Fire Mountain Home and Garden sale happening today and tomorrow!

This is not a typical “yard sale”, this is a highly curated neighborhood sale with hundreds of succulents and other plants, plus gently used upscale home decor, small appliances, garden items,dishes, unique pottery, jewelry and more!Canine_Companions_for_Independence.svg

The sale is happening today and tomorrow:
June 3-4, 2016 – 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
2305 Fire Mountain Drive, Oceanside

All proceeds go to CCI, the Oceanside-based service dog organization.
If you have questions about the sale or CCI you can click here to email Kris.



Shop for Local, Organic Veggies at Cyclops Farms

cyclops logo If you haven’t driven down Avocado Road lately then you may have missed it, but you’ll want to make a detour on either Tuesdays or Saturdays to get fresh vegetables and flowers at great prices. Cyclops Farms, a family owned and run CCOF certified organic farm, broke ground at 1448 Avocado Road in February and is serving up flowers and vegetables to residents and local markets and restaurants like Cream of the Crop and The Privateer.

Founder, Luke Girling, attended Oceanside High, graduated from The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems farming program at The University of Santa Cruz in 2013 and has been the farm manager for the farm to table experience at West Steakhouse and Bistro West for the last two years. He, his wife, and two young children started farming their own yard in south Oceanside and launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise what they needed to fund the expanded location on Fire Mountain.  There’s a great video from the Kickstarter campaign that tells all about the project on the Osider web site – be sure to check it out here.

Fire Mountain prides itself on riding that line between urban and rural Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.02.50 PMand Cyclops Farms is a perfect addition to that vibe – taking what was once an empty yard that kept residents guessing what might happen to it, they created something that residents can be a part of and benefit from. The farm to table operation will be growing certified organic seasonal veggies and they anticipate that some of the out-of-the-ordinary items they offer will inspire people to cook creatively.

When you talk to Luke, his passion for healthy food shows and his excitement about the farm and the community will make you just as excited to eat healthy veggies and support this business. When we stopped by the farm they had tons of different types of peppers (from mild to hot) as well as tasty tomatoes, three kinds of squash and fresh, pretty flowers. They plan to have pumpkins available starting this weekend and you can bring the kids and pick out your own. Support your local farmer by bringing home healthy, safe foods!

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.42.33 PMCyclops Farms : 1448 Avocado Rd. Oceanside, CA 92054
Farm Stand Hours: (Updated 11/28/2015)
Wednesday 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Saturday 8:00 am- 12:30 pm

Check the Cyclops Farms Facebook page for updates on what’s available

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Fire Mountain Social Club Events to Visit the Privateer Coal Fire Pizza

The Friends of Fire Mountain invite you to join us for a new series of social events. We will be visiting restaurants and other businesses with ties to the Fire Mountain community. It’s a great way to get to know a business that you might not otherwise know about or maybe didn’t realize they’re your neighbors!

We’re starting in Oceanside with the Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, a business owned by life-long Fire Mountain residents who have been best friends since 2nd grade at Palmquist Elementary. For more information and a menu visit their web site:

This exclusive event is open to the first 20 people to RSVP and everyone joining us will receive a free fountain drink with their meal. RSVP in the form below!

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 6.13.46 PM

Event: Friends of Fire Mountain Social Club Meeting

Location: The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza: 1706 S. Coast Hwy.Oceanside, CA 92054

Date: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm

What: Dinner* with your neighbors and a chance to get local at the Privateer!

*This is a no-host event, we have secured seating and a beverage special but payment is your responsibility.
RSVP Here:

 Any questions please email or email


Thanks to everyone who came out May 3rd  to the Friends of Fire Mountain Clippings and Coffee Event!

There was a big turn out and most everyone had some unique and beautiful plants to share…combine that with donuts and it was definitely a nice way to kick off the weekend.

Check out a few photos below and look for info on our next event here on the site and on

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

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:

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Resources for Water Smart Gardening

Winter is coming and we’re starting to feel a tiny chill in the air (OK, only a little bit…in the evening, but still!). In Oceanside, winter is an ideal time to start planting and we at FOFM like to encourage our neighbors to plant water-wise or food-producing plants.  I hear people say “I just don’t like cactus” quite a bit, but water-wise does not necessarily mean pokey plants.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 1.16.57 PM shows water-wise plants with details

There are lots of great, free resources out there to help you find what you need and make it look great. Here are just a few:

The SD County Water Authority is giving free classes on Water Smart Gardening, the next one in Oceanside isn’t until January, but keep checking back. If you can’t wait or don’t need to attend a class, maybe you have a bit of knowledge and want to dive into more detail the Web-based Gardening Tool has a ton of resources. We were excited to find links to different types of plants based on what you’re trying to achieve, from fire-wise grasses to succulents that do well in shade they include really good photos of what the plants look like all grown up.

Our local nursery, Evergreen, also has regular classes on vegetable gardens, landscaping with natives, landscape maintenance and more. Just check their site for dates and times.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society has a Native Plant Club as well as information about how to choose, plant and maintain natives on their site.

For monthly planting advice, we also like the Briggs Tree Company newsletter and web site, which of course, comes with a handy 10% off coupon.

Lastly, don’t forget there are the archives from Mr. Charles Ledgerwood’s planting suggestions on the FOFM Garden Exchange blog.

We would love to see pictures of your garden – send them to and we will post them next month!

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May Garden Rant

Hello Fellow Fearless Urban Farmers,
Oy! What a couple of month we have had. The weather just has not cooperated this year at all. Unfortunately this calls for some real garden fortitude and some planning for  next year.
As noted in past Garden exchange blogs, March is a dangerous month to plant tomatoes, the weather is too variable and I always suggest to friends to be patient and wait until early April. Well, that advice was as worthwhile as a politicians promise this year. I prepped my beds, went merrily out to Green Thumb in San Marcos and purchased 10 plants and got ready to plant them. I found one plant dead the next day , but planted the other nine ( this was in the first week of April). The weather immediately decided to  chill out, with night time temps dipping into the 40’s up on top of the hill here on Fire Mountain. The tomatoes did nothing good. They withered and developed black patches on the laterals and main stems. I yanked 8 of 9 out and waited until May  to replant. There are two thing to take away from this, one is that once a plant fails to go into a major growth mode you should trash it immediately and replace it. I learned this long ago when I was a budding Rosarian, the experienced growers from around the country were unanimous about discarding failed plants. They may come back, but they will be pale shadows of productive plants. The second thought is to consider your source of plants. Most nurseries are now carrying exotic heirloom varieties of all sorts of plants, but I am I am thinking they are raising them in the usual industrial manner. I think even your weirdo tomatoes are being force fed and light  tortured to produce a salable plant, which will inevitably succumb to the shock of over stimulation. I am pretty sure that that made my tomatoes more susceptible to weather variations. My plan for next year is to use my own seeds and make starters.

This is really simple to do, you need a couple of nursery flats and a bag of potting mix. Myfavorite way is to cut the tray in half with a table saw, band saw or knife and slide one half over the other making a 6 ” x 12″ mini flat, hold it together with a couple of plastic wire ties or string and put a piece of newspaper in the bottom to keep the potting soil in. Fill with soil and add  seeds of whatever you want. I do beets, cukes, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and egg plants this way with great success. Go on the web and buy seeds from one of the myriad killer seed suppliers like Victory ( I personally eschew majors like Burpee, or buying seeds at Home Depot or Lowe’s  just because these small guys are out on the margin protecting out vegetable heritage and they aren’t in bed with Monsanto and the like making non reproducible seeds), just type in Heirloom or heritage seeds in your search engine and you will find years of reading and such cool stuff. The seed packs always have more seed than we need, so I share and exchange. You could get together with a few friends and preplan your purchase and divvy  everything up.
That being said, my property is on the east side of the ridge just past Yucca off FMD so I am protected from much of the coastal wind. This yearI tried a couple of new winter plants, a purple broccoli which failed to produce heads, but did produce a plethora of small little edible florets. The plants were magnificent, huge leafy things, but essentially I was growing compost. I also grew Brussels Sprouts for the first time. They work! We have dined on ‘just as good as Trader Joe’s’ Brussels Sprouts frequently this spring. These too are huge plants, but they had a lot of sprouts, they need food, water, and room. It was fun for us to eat our ‘home grown’ for the first time.
So now the garden is coming along, once again I planted about 16 Kentucky Wonder green beans on climbing trellis’ , I should know better after the bounty of last year (check out the Garden Exchange blog archive), but I love them fresh, steamed and pickled. I love sharing them with friends who don’t have the space I have.  It is so much fun to be able to drop off a head of lettuce or a bag of beans or tomatoes to our neighbors old and young. It’s neat to have your friends with little kids come over and see a tomato on the vine and let them pick it and eat it in the garden. So I over plant, but I never waste it. The second crop of tomatoes is in and apparently thriving, I have egg plants, a summer lettuce crop under shade cloth, and cukes from my own seeds just starting. While it may be a little late to start seeds for some crops now (again check the Garden Blog and Charles Ledgerwood’s advice for us) think about next year. If you go to a nursery or store, don’t be shy about pulling a plant out of it pot to check the roots, if there are a ton of roots bound up that plant is a poor prospect for a producer, pick another.
Since this is now just an occasional rant, let me remind you that soil improvement = production. The no effort way is to buy stuff from Home Depot and mix it in with your soil, but as you read on my blog last year there are many better alternatives, the best being composting your own kitchen and yard waste. I have been planting all of my new veggies in a shovel full of our own compost. I built a small two bin compost box two years ago and I fill one side then the other, the first side is now yielding some of the best compost I could imagine, I could wax poetic, but I shall keep that to myself.
Get out there, there is nothing like your own fresh,clean veggies.

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For some good local gardening tips check out this post from Briggs Nursery and follow this link for a 10% off coupon and the rest of the article

May’s weather is often unpredictable. It can bring an occasional shower, fog and extreme heat along with what is commonly known as ‘May Gray’, overcast skies. May is also one of the busiest and most satisfying months in the garden. There is still planting to be done, some pruning, continual deadheading, mowing, weeding, mulching and much more. At the end of the day when you look back at all you’ve accomplished, you’re pleased with your efforts and satisfied with a job well done.

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Fire Mountain Gardens

Over the last two years Fire Mountain neighbor Jay has kept up the blog called Fire Mountain Garden Exchange. We have lots of great archives for you, but felt like our gardens are part of our lifestyle here in Fire Mountain and so decided to migrate some of the information to this site. Mainly – the recommendations from Charles Ledgerwood’s “Reliable Seeds 1994”. We have all tried many recommendations and I know I have found that these always turn out the best. For a bit more on Mr. Ledgerwood visit the first post from FMGX archives.

So without further adieu, welcome to the monthly recommendations of Mr. Charles Ledgerwood.

Caps indicate best plantings for the month.


For flowers, this is a big month:
Alyssum, Ageratum, Asters, Asparagus fern, Balsam, Basil, Bells of Ireland, Candytuft,  Carnation, Celosia, Centaurea, Cobaea, Convolvulus, Calliopsis, Cynoglosum, Cosmos, Dahlia, Daisies, Delphiniums, Dianthus, Didiscus, Dimorphotheca, Dusty Miller, Fountain Grass, Gazania, Gloriosa Daisy, Geranium, Gourds, Gypsophilia, Helichrysum, Impatiens, Ipomoea, Larkspur, Lavender, Marigold, Nasturtium, Passiflora, Phlox, Petunia, Platycondon, Portucula, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Salpaglossis, Scabiosa, Statica, Sweet Sultan, Tithonia, Thumbergia, Torenia, Sunflower and Zinnia.

Remember this list is from 1994, please check Sunset Western Gardens for more information on plant names and more importantly for drought tolerance.

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Local, Organic, Hydroponic Produce Available at Palmquist!

Your neighborhood elementary school, Palmquist will be selling fresh figs and apples, along fresh produce harvested by the students straight form their organic and hydroponic garden.

Mr. Wagner and his Garden Club students will be selling:

This Friday, Sept. 3rd, starting approx. at 2:30pm located by the flag pole.
Then, every Friday thereafter come by to check to see what new fresh produce has been harvested!