DIY Succulent Terrarium

Lifestyle, Newsletter

For this DIY project we have decided to highlight succulents. Not only do most varieties of succulents thrive in San Diego’s warm climate, but they are nearly indestructible. When it comes to my outdoor garden, I seek out plants that are low maintenance but still aesthetically pleasing. Succulents satisfy both these criteria. There is an almost endless variety of succulents to fit any decor scheme or outdoor space. As a bonus, they are especially easy to clone yourself.

Succulents have adapted to dry dessert regions with thick leaves to retain water during droughts. For this reason, succulents do not need to be watered as often as other plant varieties. This attribute makes them perfect for the novice or busy gardener; skipping a water every now and then won’t kill your succulents.


Most succulents need direct sunlight and grow well in a wide range of temperatures, even in temps as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer water succulents about once a week. Make sure the soil is completely dry between waterings. In the winter reduce waterings down to about once every other month.

Materials Needed:

– Jar or container

-Soil Mixture – We used Sanctuary Soil’s Victory Mix then added in Growstones for better drainage.

-Activated Carbon -Can be found at a pet supply store.

-Drainage material – We used Growstones and seashells

– Succulents in 2 inch pots – Armstrong Garden Center had a great selection.



1. Place a layer of drainage material in the bottom of your container. We used a mixture of Growstones and seashells. Rocks and pebbles also work well.

2. Next, add a layer of activated carbon over the drainage materials. We purchased our activated carbon from Pet Kingom for $9.99. The carbon removes impurities from your terrarium.

3. Make sure the soil you choose is well aerated. We mixed in smaller Growstones to the soil for better aeration. Succulents require a lot of aeration near their roots, so this step is extremely important.

4. Finally, add a layer of your soil and then plant the succulents in the container. Fill in any gaps with soil. I found that the succulents were delicate, and I used a paint brush to remove any excess dirt that had accumulated on the leaves.

5. Lightly water the soil so that is damp all the way through. Do not over water, you don’t want an excess of water at the bottom of your container.

Energy Dense Super Foods

Glossary, Lifestyle, recipe, Uncategorized

Below is a list of ingredients full of fiber, that if worked into your diet, will add that extra punch of energy you need to be energized all day long. Each ingredient has its own benefits but we used all of them in one awesome energy-packed snack bar. Check out this recipe for our Munchie Bites if you’d like to try them for yourself!



Dates: for extra energy in thirty minutes eat a date. Rich in vitamins and minerals they have the added benefit of fiber (dates are a solution to both constipation or diarrhea. Versatile!) They do have a lot of sugar in them-which is a great natural sweetener so don’t overdo it.

Chia Seeds: a complete protein that provides energy and a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, good for weight loss, hydration, balancing blood sugar, feeling full and fiber. (also got information from here)

Hemp seed: they carry many of the same benefits of Chia seeds-also being one of the few complete plant based proteins-(meaning it contains all 8 essential amino acids that your body needs to ingest and cannot produce), they contain essential fatty acids and are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Coconut Improves digestion, boosts energy and endurance while killing viruses, bacterium and fungi. It relieves symptoms and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and inflammation.

Cashews Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, raw cashews lower the risk of cardiovascular disease; they have healthy monounsaturated fat which is linked to lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Almonds: The protein, folic acid, mono-saturated fats and potassium in almonds aid in a healthy heart, blood pressure regulation and an uncomplicated pregnancy (folic acid reduces risk of birth defects). Almonds also boost energy levels, contains nutrients for brain development and are good for hair and skin.
(caution: those with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds)

Pepitas: Loaded with essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrates and healthy fatty acids such as Omega-3 which reduce inflammation, while lowering risks of heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Pepitas also produce chemicals associated with improving mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and appetite.

Bell Pepper and Winter Greens Salad Recipe

Articles, Gardening, Lifestyle

The recipe of the month is a Bell Pepper and Winter Greens Salad. Our goal was to use all locally grown ingredients. Everything in the salad was either grown in our shop or came from a local farm!

We wanted to showcase our winter crop harvest.  Leafy green vegetables, such as chard, kale, and lettuce, are perfect crops to grow during the San Diego Winter season. This salad has all of these tasty greens that we grew right here in the Bay Park shop. We also hit the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market to get the rest of our ingredients and were able to support six local farms!

As a challenge, we gave ourselves a budget of $10 to feed our team of eight using this recipe. Below is a breakdown of our food expenses and the recipe:

Grocery Bill: Hillcrest Farmers Market (Sundays)

  • Suzie’s Farm $2.75
    • Spring Mix
    • Kale
    • Sprouts

  • Archie’s Acres $1.50
    • Jim Bacon Avocado

  • Valdivia Farms $2
    • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Proios Family Farms $1.50
    • Red Onion
  • Sweet Tree Farms $0.10 Cents
    • Pink Lady Apple
  • TOTAL: $7.85!!!!!!!!


We were able to buy all the food we needed at the farmers market. Everything else was home grown! We were able to feed 8 people for only $1 a person while at the same time supporting organic, sustainable, and local food systems!


Bell Pepper and Winter Greens Veggie Salad (RAW, VEGAN)

  • 4-5 small Bell Peppers (Hydroponic Window Farm)
  • 5-6 leaves of Swiss Chard (Aquaponics)
  • 4-5 leaves of Nevada Lettuce (Outdoor Soil Garden)
  • Handful of Basil (Outdoor Soil Garden)
  • 4-5 leaves of Kale (Suzie’s Farm)
  • Handful of Spring Mix (Suzie’s Farm)
  • Handful of Sprouts (Suzie’s Farm)
  • 1/2 Red Onion – to taste (Proios Family Farm)
  • Jim Bacon Avocado (Archie’s Acres)
  • 2 Large heirloom tomatoes (Valdivia Farm)
  • 1 Pink Lady Apple (Sweet Tree Farm)
  • 2 Oranges (From Jen’s Front Yard)


  • Chop all ingredients for the salad to desired size. Mix all together.
  • Squeeze fresh OJ on top.
  • Enjoy!

How to Dry & Preserve Herbs For Later Use

Articles, Lifestyle

Drying and storing garden herbs is one of the best ways to enjoy their flavor throughout the year, and it allows you to save money instead of buying prepackaged herbs at the supermarket.  Just about every herb can be dried and preserved for later use, however some leafy herbs store better than others.  This process works best with herbs that don’t have high moisture content, such as bay, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  Herbs with broad, flat leaves and high moisture content, such as cilantro, parsley, chervil, and basil do not dry as well and are often best when used fresh.

Harvesting Herbs

The best time to harvest herbs is when the oils responsible for their flavor and aroma are at their peak. The longer after their peak you wait to harvest most herbs, the less flavor they will have.  Proper timing will vary depending on the specific herb you are harvesting and its intended use. Herbs grown for their foliage, such as chives, should be harvested before they flower, as flowering can cause the herbs to develop an off-flavor.

Some general guidelines to follow include:

·      Harvest herbs just before the plant flowers to ensure flavors are at their strongest.

·      Harvest plants early in the morning, after the dew dries from the leaves, but before the heat of the afternoon sun.

·      Herb flowers have their most intense oil concentration and flavor when harvested after flower buds appear but before they open.

·      Harvest tarragon or lavender flowers in early summer and then shear the plants to half their height to encourage a second flowering period in the fall.

Preserving Herbs

The most commonly used method for curing herbs is by allowing the leaves or entire stems to air-dry at room temperature.  If the herbs are dirty, first rinse away any debris, shake off the excess water, then spread the herbs out to dry on paper towels or dishcloths and pat them gently until dry.  Remove any dead or damaged foliage, then tie each bunch together into small bundles with string and hang them upside down in a dark, well ventilated room where temperatures typically range between 70-90°F. Be sure to make small, loose bundles and allow for good air circulation around each bunch.  Herb leaves should dry in three to four days under proper conditions.

With herbs that have large leaves and high moisture content, such as basil, mint, lemon balm, and lemon verbena, strip away the leaves from the stems before drying them. Spread these leaves in single layers for quickest drying. Herbs with smaller leaves, such as thyme, oregano and marjoram can be dried with the leaves still on the stems, then strip away the leaves after the drying process is complete.

In humid weather, it may be necessary to place the herbs on a cookie sheet and dry them in an oven at 125°F for several minutes before storing them in an airtight container. Food dehydrators can also be very useful for drying herbs. Follow the directions provided with the dehydrator.

Storing Herbs

After the herbs are completely dried, store them in airtight jars in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. If entire stems were dried, remove the leaves and crush or crumble them before placing them in jars.  Be sure to label and date your containers.  It is very important to have the herbs completely dry, otherwise, they may mold. It is best to use dried herbs within a year. As your herbs lose their color, they are also losing their flavor.

Drying and storing garden herbs is one of the best ways to enjoy their flavor throughout the year, and it allows you to save money over buying prepackaged herbs at the supermarket.  Just about every herb can be dried and preserved for later use, however some leafy herbs store better than others.  This process works best with herbs that don’t have high moisture content, such as bay, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  Herbs with broad, flat leaves and high moisture content, such as cilantro, parsley, chervil, and basil do not dry as well and are often best when used fresh.

Celebrating Community Gardens From The Ground Up

Articles, Events, Lifestyle

The San Diego Community Garden Network is a local non-profit organization whose mission is “to create a healthy community garden movement in the County of San Diego by assisting in the formation of community gardens through education, technical assistance and by linking gardeners.” On May 19, 2012, San Diego Hydroponics & Organics will be participating […]

Growing Green While Going Green at SD Hydro

Events, Lifestyle

At San Diego Hydroponics & Organics, we take environmental awareness to heart. As a business, it is important to be conscious of the footprint we leave upon the Earth. April 22nd is Earth Day, and in support of this cause, SD Hydro is making an increased effort to go green and lessen the impact we […]

Organically Speaking 101

Gardening, Grow Tips, Lifestyle

As the Green Revolution continues to evolve and influence modern society, the word “organic” is becoming recognized as an important yet controversial term on ingredient labels of popular products.  As responsible and progressive consumers, many of us face the decision whether to go organic or not. While an organic lifestyle has adopted an eco-saavy, or […]

Terra Preta Soils: The Benefits of Biochar

Articles, Gardening, Lifestyle

Thousands of years ago, the Amazon Indians created Terra Preta soils, which are, in every which way, the most amazingly productive form of agriculture. It is 300% more productive than the very best modern efforts – and this without any chemical fertilizers, equipment, and application costs. The indigenous farmers in these regions simply dug a […]

Living Christmas Tree Programs

Articles, Lifestyle

For this holiday season, celebrate the gift of life with a living Christmas tree. Each year, thousands of Americans embrace the tradition of choosing a Christmas tree for their home and decorating it with their families. Part of that custom includes going to a Christmas tree lot where countless trees are cut down to decorate […]

Little Helpers: From Shooting Powder to Bushmaster


As gardeners, we always try our best to replicate our plant’s natural environment to the best of our abilities. Sometimes there is only so much we can do. And for the rest of the times, we have specialized additives and products designed to assist us on our quest. The products below range in use from […]

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