Cheese Making 101

For anyone interested in San Diego, there is a Cheese Making 101 class in Spring Valley this Saturday at 10am – 1pm.  Here is a link to the class:  I wanted to go to this last year but I was out of town when they held the class.

I love to eat goat cheese and that is one of the cheeses that you learn how to make.  I have visited quite a few websites in an attempt to get into cheese making and it doesn’t look that difficult.  Here is one site that I found with simple directions.

I am going to go this class on Saturday, hope to see you there.

Introduction to my new plot at the Ocean Beach Community Garden

Agridude - Ocean Beach Community Garden SignAbout a year ago, I moved one block from the Ocean Beach Community Garden.  I called to see if there were any open plots but there were none.  I was put on the waiting list and finally received a plot in late September.

Agridude - Ocean Beach Community Garden EntranceThis is the entrance to the garden.  It has a nice archway to go through before getting to the locked gate.  There are 51 plots in the garden, but 2 are used for chickens and ducks.  I have received plenty of chicken eggs and 2 duck eggs from the garden.  The eggs are tastier than store bought eggs.  I used the duck eggs to make some Christmas cookies and they were uber tasty.  To get to my garden plot, you go through the gate and make your first left and walk past two gardens and it’ll be on the right.  Most of the plots are 10 feet by 20 feet depending on where the plot is located.

Agridude - Our new plotThe picture to the right is the plot that I have.  This picture was taken a few days after I started to weed out the plot.  The plot was completely covered with weeds, along with those flowers, some carrots and beets, and an artichoke plant.  My plot receives full sun and I can’t wait to grow summer crops!  The garden has a bunch of garbage cans for green waste.  I think I loaded three of them after all the weeding.

Agridude - Digging for weedsSpeaking of weeding, here’s a picture of me digging into the ground to loosen them up before pulling them out.  It’s been a while since my last post, but you can tell I haven’t upgraded my wardrode…still rocking the sleeveless Corona shirt.  We had some really nice weather out here in San Diego last fall which really made it easy to get out there and churn through the plot.

Agridude - Peas along fenceSo after weeding was completed, it was time to plant.  There is a fence that wraps around one end of my garden.  I decided to plant peas along the fence so that they can climb up it.  The plant on the far right is an artichoke.  The previous owner had dug out the artichoke and left it in a garbage can.  I pulled it out and replanted it since I had never grown one before.

Agridude - Peas and broccoli

This is across from the other peas.  You can see the rest of the fence and more peas next to it.  I decided to plant broccoli in this corner and a brussel sprout plant is on the far left.  It’s fun seeing these pictures now because these plants are monsters now.  I have been eating broccoli pretty much every day for the past two weeks.


Agridude - Cauliflower and Kale

I planted 2 purple and 2 yellow cauliflowers, some romaine, and a dinosaur kale plant.  I didn’t know there were different colors of cauliflower until I found these at the nursery.  Kale was an experiment and it turns out that it is super healthy for you and doesn’t taste bad like I imagined.  You should check out this recipe if you like kale.

Agridude - Carrots, beets and chard

Here’s a picture of some of the beets and carrots that were in the plot when I took it over.  My dad hates beets so I’ve never eaten one.  As you’ll learn, we ended up having gopher problems and were unable to eat any of the beets.  We got a couple carrots, but the gophers got the rest… There is also some swiss chard growing here too.  The gophers will eventually eat 5 of the 6 plants…

Agridude - StrawberriesIn this corner of the garden, I planted a bunch of ever bearing strawberries.  They taste great straight from the garden.  Eventually I ripped up the flowers when they were dieing and planted 6 more strawberry plants.  I have been pulling the flowers since I have planted them in order for them to grow a nice root system to supply me with bigger/more berries this summer.

Agridude - Sage, Lavender and FlowersIn the corner opposite of the strawberries, I planted some herbs.  I planted sage and lavender next to each other.  We used some of the sage this past thanksgiving.  I was told that sage and oregano are good things to plant to bring in the beneficial organisms.  The lavender flowers are now blooming and I need to learn how to use it.  I have seen a lot of drinks that had lavender in it so I’m interested in harvesting it.  After ripping out the flowers, I additionally planted oregano and some dill in this herb corner.  I would like to use the dill this summer when we are making pickles.

Agridude - Plot Profile

So that was all of the planting I did after weeding.  The picture on the right is the garden after planting.  I must have been shaking when I took the pic because it’s pretty blurry.  Ill post a few more pictures below for you guys to check out.  One is of the chickens and the one turkey, another of me bending over and weeding, and lastly a close up of the artichoke.  I can’t wait to post the most recent pictures of it…it’s taking over the plot!

Agridude - Chicken CoopAgridude - Weeding the new plotAgridude - Artichoke

Zucchinis Gone Wild

These photos were all taken back on July 19, when I did my second real harvest. am still playing catchup with my posts, and unfortunately my garden isn’t looking as pretty today as it was a couple weeks ago when I took the below pictures.  TExpansion Plot 7-19he real story here is my zucchinis. Check out how these guys totally took over the expanded patch. They came, saw and conquered the already growing eggplants and onions.




I hope the onions still turn out. But the huge submarines we’ve been pulling off zucchini plant have made it worth it. I really wanted to try this squash blossom recipe too, but all the flowers started flowering before I got around to picking them.

Zucchini 1Zucchini 2


TomatoesThe tomatoes were still doing pretty well and producing at this point. Here’s the second haul that we got that day. We got these just in time in time to take up to Big Bear. The awesome bruchetta we made is shown in the pictures in the Big Bear post, and the recipe will be available soon too.


Last and most certainly least is my struggling fruit/lettuce plot back by the fence. You can see the little lettuces trying to come up in the background, bless their hearts. Keep fighting the good fight guys. Poppa needs his greens. All the berries in the front are pretty much on their last legs.

Fence plotI have to do some reading to figure out what went wrong here. I know Paul suggested that I need another blueberry plant because you have to have two to get them to cross-polinate. But I don’t know what happened to the strawberries. I am just hoping the raspberries over on the right hold on and by next year grow into an actual producing plant. Wish me luck.

Stay tuned for my next updates with an awesome bruchetta recipe and finally the building of my trellis.


Grant’s Garden in Progress

Here are a few pictures of my SoCal garden as of June 3, 2012. I’ve been working this tiny 5’x2’ plot in my apartment complex’s backyard for the past couple years. This year I’m going to work on expanding it. My gf’s parents own the building and have graciously agreed to pretty much takeover the back and let me expand however I want. My current plan is to rip out that bush/flower thing next to the garden, dig up all that crab grass, box it off, add a shit ton of good dirt, and expand. Then I’m going to run a tressle up the side of the wall and let some cucumbers run wild. I may also line up a bunch of lettuce boxes and flowers along the fence across the little walk way. There were previously a ton of dead plants and garbage sitting in the corner that totally destroyed all the grass in that corner. I laid out some sod pads  a couple weeks back, but they are struggling in the summer son. Depending on how much work I can get done, I might tear it all back up and box that off for future expansion too.

Growth wise, I previously had a couple tomato plants, pepper plants, kalarabis (if you don’t know what this is, go find a store that has it. It is basically like a radish and should be used squarely as a salt delivery vehicle. Don’t be afraid to just douse it), basil, and other herbs. The loan holdover is a jalapeno plant that is still producing. The tomato plants always did well, but after two years kicked the bucket and are making themselves into dino juice for some robot’s use millions of years from now (yes, I am doing my part to meet the future’s energy needs indeed). The herbs never really took off, so I’m staying away from those for now. There are four new tomato plants that are really taking off, three heirlooms and one cherry. On the advice of Agridude Paul I planted a bunch of marigolds that seem to be really helping the tomatoes. Apparently they attract bees to help with the pollination and other good bugs.


I’ll keep adding more pictures as the expansion proceeds. Not really sure what plants I’m going to go with in the main part of the expanded spread, so please chime in with any recommendations. The plot gets hit with almost constant sun year round (yes living in SoCal has its benefits), but the air and dirt are pretty much atrocious. There is also constant danger posed by people walking by on the way to the trash and laundry room, and on the weekend, almost constant drunken horse play. And the wildlife extends beyond your mere lady bugs and caterpillars; we see more than our share of raccoons, possoms, alley cats, and people running from the police (gotta love urban gardening). So any plant that go into my spread have got to be hardy. I’ll probably run up a shrubbery, but still….