family garden San Diego Living

Urban Farming Inspiration

Kristen and I are now 5 months into our experiment. Our goal is to grow or purchase 25% of our food locally in 2010. So far, it’s been a fun experiment! And in the process we’ve found a hobby that the whole family can participate in.

One thing that has been incredibly satisfying is knowing that we aren’t the only family on this journey. I’ve met a number of co-workers, friends, and youth workers who are leading their families on similar experiments.

It’s been super encouraging and satisfying to discover that you don’t have to have a lot of acreage to feed your family. In fact, we’re pretty confident that if we keep improving the soil quality, expand to just a few more planting beds, and a few more seasons of experience under our belts, that we can actually produce much more than 50% of our families produce right here in the city. (Thank God for a landlord who loves gardening!)

Here are two bits of inspiration for Kristen and I. One of which we discovered months ago while the other we only discovered this weekend.

City Farmers Nursery This place is legendary in San Diego. A massive organic nursery in the heart of City Heights (aka, the hood)

Path to Freedom One families attempt to live off the land in the city of Pasadena. Now they are launching a movement the are calling, Urban Homesteading.

Here’s a rundown of what is growing in our garden right now:

  • Artichokes
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thai basil
  • Sweet basil
  • Peppermint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Mr. Stripey tomatoes
  • Traditional beefsteak tomatoes
  • Acorn squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet corn
  • Eggplant
  • JalapeƱos
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Strawberry
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
  • Green beans
  • Green peppers
  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mandarines
  • Lemons
  • Sunflowers
  • Pumpkins

What’s really crazy is that this probably only takes up 20% of our backyard. Here are some things we want to add in the next year:

  • Chickens!
  • Herbs in the front yard
  • 2-3 raised beds
  • Avocado
  • Triple our worm composting (we have 1 container, need about 3 more to capture all of our food waste)

Some quick facts:

  • No, this isn’t taking over our lives. If anything, its a major stress reducer.
  • No, this isn’t expensive. There are some start-up costs with getting drip irrigation, basic tools, and composting equipment. We’ve spent less than $500.
  • No, we don’t have a rain barrel yet. Shame on us.
  • Yes, we are spending more money on gardening stuff and our CSA. But that is offset by less money spent at the grocery store. And we’ve already down-graded to the smaller box of our CSA.
  • Yes, the kids are involved. They love helping! There’s nothing quite like the joy of picking carrots or strawberries with your kids.
  • Yes, we really can have chickens in the city. Our neighborhood is zoned for up to 25. (No roosters) There are people near us with goats and pigs, too.
  • Yes, we really are doing all of this on property we rent!
  • Yes, we do live in the city of San Diego. (Though not a super urban neighborhood.) We live in a quiet neighborhood about half a mile from San Diego State University.

Quick site update

Photo by ElitePete via Flickr (creative commons)

As many people noted, yesterday my site(s) suffered a pretty ugly malware attack. For Mac users this was pretty benign and transparent, but for PC users the site(s) had a weird pop-up thing that tried to redirect you to another site.

My sincere apologies to anyone who may have had problems.

I still have no clue how my sites were hacked or for what purpose. Since tens of thousands of other sites were hacked at the same time it seems as though someone just sought to disrupt and exploit the internet in general instead of specific sites. There is a hypothesis that the sites were infected at the server level, meaning they wouldn’t have attacked me personally, just any site on a shared server.

I maintain my WordPress sites in the recommended way. All of my WordPress sites are running the latest version, 2.9.2. All of my plug-ins are updated. All of my passwords are “strong.” In other words, I’ve done everything possible to prevent something like this from happening.

All that to say, I’m back to normal. (Or as normal as I get) And thanks for your patience.

If you want to read about the nasty bug my sites had, the solution, and the discussion, here are some links:

  • WordPress 2.9.2 hacked
  • Simple clean-up for latest WordPress hack
  • WordPress hacked with Zettapetta
  • Thank you to the amazing WordPress community and especially David at for writing some code to fix the problem.

    social media

    Some McLane Creative Jives

    There’s a lot going on with the funkier side of my life. That is, the fun projects I take on to fill my waking moments and force me to learn new skillz about all things design, social media, and WordPress.

    Here’s the last three:

    San Diego Spiritual Directors Association | WordPress theme | WordPress theme w/custom landing page which we’ll continue to morph

    Youth Ministry Advance Team: Haiti | Social media strategy & branding

    What’s next? I have a couple more smallish projects that will wrap-up by the end of May. Beyond that? I’m open. I’ve learned that although there are way more people looking for WordPress design, social media strategy, and other design stuff… I need to be picky. If I’m not energized by a project than I just have no enthusiasm to do it. Since this is what I’m doing as a hobby– I’m not tempted to do projects I don’t give a hoot about.

    In general, McLane Creative (it’s not just me, I’ve got friends who I sub-contract with) can handle 2-3 projects per month. Any more than that and it stops being fun.

    If you’re looking for someone to do a WordPress theme or do some general web design or talk social media strategy, head over to my contact page and we can chat.

    Just a note: I love helping people fix their broken WordPress blogs. If you regularly bust your blog and want my occasional help, I’m happy to put you on an annual retainer. (aka My kids college fund)