Alpine Ranch Creative Health and Ecological Solutions


Camdon and the Garden GateARCHES (Alpine Ranch Creative Health and Ecological Solutions) is a non-profit organization, offering classes on healthy cooking, nutrition, and sustainable gardening. We also sponsor the East County Produce Exchange, Alpine Bulk Food Buyer’s Club, school garden classes at Jamul Primary School, and more!

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Winter Gardening Tips

Soil tips: 

Keep your soil covered with plants or compost. Grow cover crops (lava beans, alfalfa) – they heal and enrich the soil.

If you use only kitchen scraps in your compost pile, you create a bacterial compost which weeds and Bermuda grass love. Add straw and paper to make fungus predominant compost. This is good for most plants.


Plant cool season vegetables such as:

beets                                                            leeks

broccoli                                                         lettuce

Brussel sprouts                                             mustard

cabbage                                                       onions

carrots                                                          peas

cauliflower                                                    radicchio

celery                                                           radishes

fava beans                                                   spinach

kale                                                              Swiss chard

Fall Gardening Tips for the San Diego Area


Fall, especially October and November, is prime planting time for native plants and most perennials.

Remove fading summer plants.

Add compost to your soil, and mulch on top. Keep the mulch a few inches away from tree trucks, as they are especially susceptible to fungal infections when they stay too damp.

Plant cool season vegetables:

Brassicas, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Root veggies, including beets, carrots, rutabaga, and garlic.

Leafy veggies, such as lettuce, spinach, and chard.

Peas and fava beans.

Flowers, such as California poppies, marigolds, snap dragons, stock, sweet peas, and pansies.

Summer Garden Tips

kids and carrots

Maintain a thick layer of mulch around plants to hold in moisture and suppress weeds.

Warm season vegetable seedlings (tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant) and seeds (corn, beans) can still be put into the ground through July for fall harvest.

Plant Brassica family seeds (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) in August for winter harvest.

Carrots, beets, and turnips can be planted by seed all summer.

(Thank you to California Gardening Magazine, published by the San Diego Floral Association for wonderful seasonal gardening information.)

For a more detailed planting guide, go to Master Gardener planting guide.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Cancer Prevention Edition


Environmental Working Group’s latest consumer guide highlights 12 of the worst chemicals that are known to disrupt cancer-related pathways and gives you tips on how to avoid them. You will also find guides to minimizing exposure to pesticides in produce, chemicals in sunscreen and other personal care products. 

 Their website is here.

Let’s Make Pickles!


Learn to make delicious pickles! These lacto-fermented pickled cucumbers and green beans make tasty snacks or finger food. My family loves them! They are a nutritious snack packed with probiotics for health and enzymes that enhance digestion. And they are easy to make! Lacto-fermented, or cultured, vegetables and condiments are a great way to get plenty of beneficial “good” bacteria into your digestive system.

Sunday, July 12, 1:00 to 4:00 PM in Jamul.

Click for more information and to sign up!

Let’s Make Super Salads!

Opening Class, Nancy


We had a wonderful morning at the Ranch last Saturday, learning to make delicious salads.

Chef Nancy introduced us to a variety of tasty salads for various occasions. For example, a tabouli salad with feta cheese would be perfect for a summer luncheon entrée. A side salad of marinated black-eyed peas and sun-dried tomatoes would go with any entree. We also learned the secrets to creating family pleasing homemade salad dressings.

Nancy also shared this important information about purchasing produce and choosing oils.

Grating CarrotsPeeling TangerinesNancy Chopping Onions


Then came a tour of the beautiful garden at the Ranch.

Garden Tour


Last, we had a yummy lunch of salads, bread, and dessert.

Finished salads

 Salad recipes:

Arranged Salad      Home Fermented Giardineira       Black-eyed Pea Salad

Cabbage Salad with Jewels      Corn Relish      Raw Beet and Kale Salad    Tabouli







Making Soup at the Ranch

Curried Winter Squash SoupIf you had walked past the ranch kitchen on Saturday morning, you would have heard lots of chopping, talking, and laughing. The Hearty Soup Class was happening. Aromas were intense and inviting. This fun class was followed by a tour of the garden and a lovely lunch of four different soups, salad, corn bread and sourdough bread. Hope you can join us next time!

Soup Prep 1 soup class 2soup class 3

Here are the delicious recipes from this class:

Cream of Broccoli            Split Pea ala Crockpot            Winter Squash Soup

Fiesta Chicken Soup          Honey Baked Apples

Italian Balsamic Salad Dressing and Za’atar & Tahini Salad Dressing

School Garden Party Recipes

Fun with popcorn

Cooking with young gardeners is so much fun! These recipes are meant to appeal to young adventurous taste buds, as well as more mature tongues. They also offer many opportunities for young hands to help. We hope your family enjoys these dishes as much as we do.

Tossed Green Lettuce Salad

Tea Sandwiches


Kale Salad

Cabbage Salad with Jewels

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Black-eyed pea salad



Produce Exchange Reminder


It’s coming the last Saturday of the Month at the Jamul Primary School parking lot, 14567 Lyons Valley Road, Jamul, 11:00-12:30. It’s the East County Produce Exchange. Bring your extra lemons and oranges. Bring your lettuce and kale and other winter crops that you have been growing in your garden. See what your neighbors are growing. Find out how they grow it. Often people bring seeds and seedlings and flowers to share, as well. Even if you don’t have anything to share, come on by, meet your neighbors and take home some home grown fruits and veggies. For more information go to East County Produce Exchange.