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'

Monday, August 8, 2011

Save the Dates for our next OFG Series!

We are excited to announce the dates for our Fall 2011 Ocean Friendly Garden Series, which will be taking place in Oceanside! 

OFG Basics Class:  Thursday, September 15th, 2011.  Location and Time TBA, but it will be in north county sometime in the evening.  Come learn how planting an Ocean Friendly Garden can benefit you and the environment.  Learn how to promote healthy soil, select the right plants, and install the most efficient irrigation system for your space.  Class is taught by a certified G3 Sustainable Landscape Professional.

Hands on Workshop (HOW): Sunday October 2nd, 2011.  10:30am-noon.  1807 Alvarado Street, Oceanside CA.  Come join us at the site of our future Garden Assistance Program as we assess the site's current landscaping and discuss different ways we can turn the space into a beautiful OFG!

Garden Assistance Program (GAP) Workday: Sunday November 6th, 2011.  1807 Alvarado Street, Oceanside CA.  Come and get your hands dirty as we put the concepts discussed at our HOW into practice!  No gardening experience necessary, just bring your love of native plants and desire for a healthy ocean!

Additional details will follow as the events get closer.  If you have any questions, please contact ofg@surfridersd.org

You can also stay on top of future events by "liking" Ocean Friendly Gardens - San Diego on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

OFG Tours Scripps Insitute of Oceanography!

On Saturday July 16th, the public and members of Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens program met with Cammie Ingram of Scripps Institute of Oceanography to tour the exciting new landscape changes on campus.

How we treat our landscaping can have a significant impact on our natural environment, including the ocean. Pesticides and Herbicides applied to our gardens can be washed away into our storm drain system. Overspray from sprinklers can also pick up oil and heavy metals from car exhaust and brake pads while running along the gutters and into the storm drain. Water that enters our storm drain system when it is not raining is known as a dry weather flow and can carry high concentrations of pollutants. Water that enters our storm drain systems is not usually treated before discharging to our creeks, bays, and ocean. By reducing the number of pollutants in our yards and stopping the overwatering that carries pollutants into our waterways, we can help keep our ocean healthy.

For this event, participants met at Scripps pier, and got a chance to learn about how the campus has been working to implement OFG's concept of garden "CPR" - Conservation, Permeability, and Retention - as a way to reduce water pollution.

Scripps has been implementing conservation by removing unnecessary lawn areas and replacing them with native and other low water use plants. The native plants, once established, will help control erosion on the many slopes found throughout the campus. They also provide much needed habitat for native wildlife that are often displaced due to residential and commercial development. Native butterflies, bees, and birds are just a few animals that rely on native plants for food and shelter. A significant amount of lawn has already been removed, and more conversion is planned in the future. Additional benefits from using native plants include lowering to eliminating the need for fertilizers and pesticides, less pollution from gas powered maintenance equipment, and reducing the amount of yard waste that must be transported to and processed at the landfill.

Permiability is achieved by having healthy biologically active soil, and by reducing the amount of impervious surfaces (such as concrete and asphalt). Due to safety and transportation requirements on a large campus like Scripps, it can be difficult to incorporate pervious hardscape like unit pavers. One way to use impervious surfaces but still allow for water to permeate into the soil is by directing runoff from impervious surfaces like streets and walkways into a landscaped area rather than allowing the water to directly enter the storm drain system.

Retention is being achieved by the installation of rain gardens, bioretention areas (see picture above), and rain barrels (see below). Rain gardens and bioretention areas have been installed throughout the campus as a way to retain water from the surrounding slopes and hardscape. By allowing the water to pool in these areas, water percolates into the soil rather than directly entering the underground storm drain system. The resistance caused by the vegetation also slows down the surface water which can help reduce erosion. Rain barrels can collect stormwater runoff from the roofs of buildings and later be used to water nearby plants.

Another water treatment feature recently installed at Scripps is an "ecology embankment'. This large series of media filters directly along the beach treats dry weather flows and the "first flush" of stormwater flows, which typically contain the highest concentration of pollutants during a storm event. These filters are connected to the underground storm drain system which collects the flows that cannot be retained by the landscaping. While studies have shown media filters to be effective at treating a large variety of pollutants including bacteria, these "end of pipe" treatment systems can be very expensive. Also, their long term effectiveness and maintenance costs are relatively unknown. Scripps plans to closely monitor the effectiveness of the media filters through ongoing water sampling. OFG hopes that through the implementation of CPR throughout our landscapes, from the smallest residential yard to a large campus like Scripps, we can eliminate the need for these large and costly structural treatment devices in the future.

A big thanks to Cammie Ingram from Scripps for providing such an informative tour. OFG hopes to work closely with Scripps in the future to help them meet their water conservation and pollution prevention goals though their landscaping. To learn more about the stormwater treatment devices installed at Scripps, you can read the story featured in the San Diego Union Tribune. If you would like to participate in future OFG garden events and/or learn more about our program, please continue visiting our blog and "like" us on Facebook at 'Ocean Friendly Gardens San Diego'.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lawn Patrol in Imperial Beach

The next "Lawn Patrol" for Ocean Friendly Gardens will be in Imperial Beach on July 17th from 9am-11am.

Lawn Patrols are a great way to learn about what makes an Ocean Friendly Garden ocean friendly, the impacts of the choices we make in our gardens on the health of our local environment, and what easy steps you can take to turn your garden into an OFG! We talk about soil health, plant choices, how to retain rainwater on-site, and how to use organic choices instead of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides! Come learn about what you can do in your yard, or see how you can lead a Lawn Patrol in your own neighborhood!

The tour will begin at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center 301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach, CA

For more information please contact ofg@surfridersd.org

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Planning For Climate Change

Just found this informative (and somewhat unnerving!) website by the Calfornia Energy Commission that tracks the projected effects of climate change on local climates and how this influences how we plan our cities. There was also a recent NPR show about the City of Chicago's Climate Action Plan: Preparing for a Warmer Planet. Many of their recommendations include the same sustainable practices we recommend: using permeable pavement, climate appropriate and drought tolerant plantings, and rainwater harvesting.
Check out the website, lots of interactive maps, articles, and other info!

Measured and Projected San Diego Temperatures

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three Upcoming Water Harvesting and Greywater Workshops from H20ME

Laundry-to-Landscape Greywater Workshop

Cost: $35
Saturday, June 4
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Clairemont
Learn the fundamentals of using greywater as you help install a simple, laundry greywater system according to county regulations which requires no permit. By using greywater, compost, and mulch we will turn this previously unproductive area into an abundant three sister's garden of corn, beans and squash. This system can be replicated in most San Diego homes, since laundry water is usually easy to get out to the garden whether your house is on a slab or not due to the pump on the washing machine. Potluck lunch and discussion after the workshop.
Learn how in this informative workshop led by Brook Sarson, water harvesting educator and permaculturist. Through her business, H2OME, she has created many water harvesting landscapes throughout San Diego focusing on simple, cost-effective rainwater and greywater solutions. For more information check out http://www.h2o-me.com/
Limited Space so RSVP soon to Brook at 619.964.4838 or brook@h2o-me.com.

Branched Drain Greywater Workshop
Cost: $60
Discounts for couples and work study opportunities

Design Lecture including fundamental water harvesting principles, Branched Drain concepts, and permitting requirements
Friday, June 10
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Talmadge
Attendence is not required, but strongly suggested.

Water Harvesting Tour and Installation Workshop
Saturday, June 11
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Bring your own lunch
Location: Mt. Helix
In this workshop we'll install a branched drain greywater system according to the principles we learned in the previous evening's lecture. We will split the water into 8 passive lines feeding fruit trees and other companion plantings. We will discuss and design a guild for one of the trees and evaluate the earthworks.
This will be a chance for homeowners to understand the logistics for shower, sink, and laundry greywater in a gravity-fed environment. We will transform a gently sloping weed/lawn into a food providing resource, fed primarily from our reclaimed household water.
The workshop will be led by Brook Sarson, water harvesting educator and permaculturist. Through her business, H2OME, she has created many water harvesting landscapes throughout San Diego focusing on simple, cost-effective rainwater and greywater solutions. For more information check out http://www.h2o-me.com/
Limited Space so RSVP soon to Brook at 619.964.4838 or brook@h2o-me.com.

Water Harvesting Tour
Saturday, July 23th 10:00AM-11:30AM
Come see water harvesting in action! Guided by Water Harvesting Professional and Permaculturist, Brook Sarson, you'll see how a passive water harvesting techniques, combined with a 1525 gallon rainwater storage system, as well as laundry and bath greywater work together to grow a garden of edibles (including 20 fruit trees) using only 1/4 of the water that most San Diegans use each day.

As you tour this urban farm setting, you'll see natural building techniques including a cob chicken coop, decorative benches as well as an earth pizza oven. Brook will be on-hand to talk to you about solutions for your space and how you can make a difference by conserving and protecting our most vital resource.

There will be a tour starting at 10:00, with light refreshments and materials to peruse relating to water in our community. You will learn about simple greywater systems, do-it-yourself options, rainwater-harvesting systems, resources, or you can schedule an appointment with Brook to assess greywater and rainwater opportunities at your site.
Suggested donation of $5 will go toward supporting water activism in San Diego. Please RSVP to Brook at brook@h2o-me.com or call 619.964.4838 for the address.