Starting September 2019, regular monthly meetings are held on the second (not third) Friday of the month, most of the months. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and are held at North County Lifeline Center, 200 Michigan Ave, Vista.   Meetings are open to members and guests.

Starting May 2020, due to COVID-19, regular monthly meetings are held virtually via Zoom until further notice.  Please contact Dawne Dickinson at for information on how to join our Zoom meetings.

 Upcoming Events and Meetings

Zoom Meeting:  Friday, May 8, 2020 7:00 PM –  Home Wine Grapes with Susan Pacheco for information 



Past Events and Meetings

Cancelled:   Friday, April 10, 2020 7:00 PM – Growing Apples with Kevin Hauser

Cancelled:  Friday, March 13, 2020 7:00 PM – Home Wine Grapes with Susan Pacheco

Sunday, March 8, 2020 1:00 to 4:00 PM – Grafting Workshop in Encinitas area. Location to be sent upon RSVP. You need to be a member of CRFG Inc. and Our North San Diego Chapter to Participate. Please RSVP to Dawne Dickinson at to reserve your spot. Click for more information.

Friday, February 14, 2020 7:00 PM – Growing in SoCal with Rolf Defthlefsen

Friday, January 10, 2020 7:00 PM – Scion Wood Exchange

Sunday, December 8, 2019  11:00 AM – Closed annual Holiday party for Chapter members only.   For Details, call Dottie at 760-806-6678.

Friday, November 10, 2019  7:00 PM – View DVD on Persimmons and Members Plant Swap.                             We obtained a DVD done by CRFG Orange County with Jim Bathgate. Jim is no longer with us, but he grew Persimmons commercially and considered a persimmon specialist.

Friday, October 11, 2019  7:00 PM – Drought Tolerant Edibles with Dennis Sharmahd.

Friday, September 13, 2019  7:00 PM –Five years of testing stone fruits in Carlsbad, CA with Paul Bingham.

Friday, August 16, 2019  7:00 PM – Citrus with Philippe Rolshausen

2019 Festival of Fruit sponsored by CRFG Foothill Chapter 8/16 – 8/18

Saturday, July 13, 2019  11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Closed annual picnic for Chapter members only.   For Details, call Dottie at 760-806-6678.

Friday, June 21, 2019  7:00 PM – All About Avocados with Julie Frink and Denny Luby.

Friday, May 17 7:00 PM – Early Season Fruit Tree Care with Greg Alder.

Friday, April 19 7:00 PM – About Garcinia with Richard Reid.

Friday, March 15 7:00 PM – All about Figs with Amy Kinsey.

Saturday, February 23  9 AM -12 PM – Grafting Demo/Workshop for Chapter members only. For details, call Dawne at 760-522-3596.

Friday, February 22 7:00 PM –  Backyard fruits we can grow in San Diego county with Tyler Trimble.

Friday, January 18 7:00 PM –  Annual Scion Exchange

Sunday, December 9, 2018  11:00 AM – Closed annual Holiday party for Chapter members only.   For Details, call Dottie at 760-806-6678.

Friday, November 16, 2018 7:00 PM –  Cherimoyas with Ben Kotnik

Friday, October 19, 2018  7:00 PM –  Fall Vegetable Gardening with Roy Wilburn.

Friday, September 21,  2018  7:00 PM – Plants Propagation using Tissue Culture with Josè Miguel Gallego.

Friday, August 17, 2018  7:00 PM – How to Integrate Fruit Trees into a Fire Safe Landscape with Alden Hough

Saturday, July 14, 2018  11:00 AM – Closed annual picnic for Chapter members only.   For Details, call Dottie at 760-806-6678.

Friday, June 15, 2018  7:00 PM – All About Avocados with Julie Frink and Denny Luby.

Friday, May 18, 2018  7:00 PM – Growing Lychees and Longans in SoCal with Dr. Gary Bender

Friday, April 20, 2018  7:00 PM – Thom Curry of the Temecula Olive Oil Co.

Friday, March 16, 2018  7:00 PM – Grafting Demo and Starting Subtropicals from Seeds 

Friday, February 23, 2018  7:00 PM – New and  Unusual Vegetables in the World with John Bagnasco

Friday, January 19, 2018  7:00 PM  –  Annual Scion Exchange

Friday, November 17, 2017  7:00 PM

Cultivating in Containers: How to Grow Food and Medicine in Limited Areas with Nathan Lou

Have you ever been interested in growing plants, but find yourself choosing not to because of lack of area or soil? Come learn from a local San Diegan about how you can offset your nutrition with a container garden. Nathan Lou grew up watching his grandparents grow their own food in their backyard in the middle of El Cajon using raised beds and containers. With over a decade of experience growing his own food and medicine in an urban setting, Nathan will share with you the ins-and-outs of container gardening. With a little guidance and knowhow combined with a diligent practice, the sky is the limit as to what you could grow.

Nathan Lou is an artist and connoisseur of life. He is a native San Diegan holding degrees in Agriculture and Natural Resources, with a focus in fish and wildlife conservation. Through his interests and endeavors, Nathan has gained an extensive understanding of plants, specializing in the cultivation of foods and medicines. He is an avid gardener, creating enriching landscapes and managing thriving environments, even in the most limited settings. Nathan currently cultivates on 1-acre in Bonita, consults for Mt. Hope Community Garden in City Heights, and is the host of a quarterly “Small Space Gardening” program at the National City Public Library. Nathan has a passion for inspiring humans to better understand themselves so that they may enhance their relationships with the world around them. Nathan loves to drink tea and has been cultivating his practice of gongfu cha (traditional Chinese tea ceremony) for over a decade.

Pomegranates with Jose Gallego

Friday, October 20, 2017  7:00 PM

MiraCosta College Student Center, Aztlan Room A/B

José’s interest in growing rare fruits started in 1973 when he was getting his B.S./M.S. Degrees in Chemistry in Guadalajara, México where he was introduced to many unusual fruits. When he returned to Tijuana in 1978, he was told by many people that he would not be able to grow any of them.

He recently retired after working for over 27 years for the City of San Diego as Supervising Chemist and recently returned as a Provisional Employee to assist in implementing a database for all the City’s laboratories.

José has published three computer books, holds two patents and written many scientific articles in the areas of chemistry, physics, computers and psychology. Has participated as a speaker at scientific conferences, conducted computer training, and workshops in many major US cities, as well as a guest speaker at several CRFG Chapters.

José has been a member of the San Diego Chapter in 1996, since then he has served as webmaster, Vice-Chair and, for several terms, as Chairman for the San Diego Chapter, and Co-Chair the 1998 and 2007 Festivals of Fruit.

José is a member of the Board of Directors of CRFG, Inc., for the second time, and is Contributing Editor and Department Manager for the Fruit Gardener Magazine.

José currently has over 100 different fruit trees at his home in San Diego, CA which he will brag about it tonight in his presentation.

Finally, he is also a recognized coin collector and is the President of the Heartland Coin Club in San Diego as well as Historian for the San Diego County Inter-Club Numismatic Council.


Friday, September 15, 2017  7:00 PM  All About Dragonfruit with Richard Reid



Richard has been an avid gardener for as long as he can remember. Growing up in San Diego, with its 365 day growing season, never a day went by when he was not getting his hands dirty.

After finishing his PhD in Chemistry at the University of California Santa Barbara, Richard returned to the San Diego and moved out to the East County to start a life and backyard garden. Soon after settling in, a chance encounter with a forlorn potted jaboticaba at the old Simpson’s Nursery would change his life forever. He had been bitten by the exotic fruit bug and started collecting and growing every exotic fruit he could find. Time passed, and he left that collection, but not his interest in exotics. He currently lives in Carmel Valley with his wife, daughter and far too many potted plants on a too small suburban lot. Among those pots are close to one hundred different dragonfruit plants encompassing at least 70 different accessions.

In addition to dragonfruit, his plant interests are finding new species of fruit to grow in Southern California as well as “zone pushing,” trying to figure out just what tropical fruits might be able to adapt to our climate zones

Friday August 18, 2017 7:00 pm  Fruit Beverage Fermentation Techniques by Ben Pierce


Ben’s presentation will cover various fruit beverage fermentation techniques with an emphasis on wine making. He will explain the basics of setting up a basic wine/mead making system. Other topics covered will be making kombucha, jun, hard cider and tepache from fruit.

Ben Pierce has been growing all types of fruits and vegetables since he was a child. He is a 5th generation Californian and has a keen interest in California agricultural history especially the state’s fruit growing history. Currently he farms his 1/2 acre lot in suburban San Marcos and keeps bees in the Twin Oaks Valley area. Ben is an advocate of sustainable and organic growing methods. He has been a member of CRFG since 1991 and currently serves as CRFG Inc. Co-Vice President.


Annual Pot Luck and Plant Sale
 July 15, 2017, 11:00 San Diego Botanic Garden

Picnic & Plant sale will again be at the beautiful San Diego Botanic Garden on Sat. July 15th from 11 AM to 3 PM

Attending members mustbe members of our chapter’s limited and also be members of our parent CRFG organization. We have, again, invited our friends from the San Diego City Chapter to join us. Let the Admission person from SDBG know you are there for the CRFG picnic and you will not be charged admission or parking. This is for Members & Family. You must have reservations. Members please call 760-806-6678 to rsvp by July 12th. Space is limited.

We will be in the patio area next to the Ecke Building, near the Undersea Succulent Garden. The picnic is from 11 AM-3 PM. This is a potluck. Please bring a ready-to-serve dish that will feed 8-10. Food should be on the table before noon.

Friday, June 16, 2017  7:00 PM

Composting and Growing sub-tropicals from seed
MiraCosta College Student Center, Aztlan Room A/B

Due to an unfortunate last minute change in our scheduling, we will be having a two-part program for you. It is like two meetings for the price of one!

We will be starting with an introductory program on composting,composting basics, how to get started and tricks to make it easier.

  • Increases organic matter in your soil.
  • Helps plants absorb nutrients already in your soil and provides some extra nutrients too.
  • Makes clay soils more airy and helps them drain better.
  • Makes clay and other soils more friable, which means they’ll be easier to crumble and dig in.
  • Helps sandy soils retain water that normally runs through.
  • Helps balance the pH of your soil.
  • Can extend the growing season by moderating soil temperature.
  • Can even help control soil erosion!

Have you ever wanted to get into growing some of the more unusual tropical and sub-tropical fruits and plants? Many times, the only way to do this is to start from seed, and many times those seeds will be coming from a foreign country. We will talk about getting seeds, import permits, restrictions and rules. Once you have your seeds, what do you do? We will discuss different types of seed germination treatments, methods for germination and care for your new plantlets.

May 19, 2017

Bee Aware: Keeping bees in San Diego County presented by Jaime Garza, San Diego County Dept. of Agriculture

Mr. Garza will discuss beekeeper management practices, pests and diseases of bee colonies, and the revisions made to the San Diego County Bee Ordinance that allowed more beekeepers the opportunity to keep bee colonies legally in the unincorporated areas of the county. He will also have a short presentation about nursery licensing and the shipping/receiving of plant material.

Persimmons with Greg Rager
Friday, March 17, 2017 7:00 PM
MiraCosta College Student Center, Aztlan Room A/B
Passiflora with Bob Holzinger

Friday, October 21 7:00 PM

MiraCosta College Student Center, Aztlan Room A/B

Bob joined CRFG in 1984 as a member of the San Diego Chapter. Immediately he began to search for an area of speciality, which lead him to meet Patrick Worley, a renowned grower and hybridizer of passifloras. Without the space to plant lots of passifloras at his house, Bob spent many weekends at Patrick’s greenhouses learning about passifloras and taking pictures of the many flowers open during the visits. When Bob moved to Ventura in 1994 he acquired a property with an extensive fence line, and in two years the chain link surrounding the yard was completely covered by over twenty species and hybrids of passiflora. At his new house in Carlsbad Bob has again tried to create a green fence line covered by passifloras, growing the vines for both the fruit and the beautiful flowers.

Friday September 16, 2016 7:00 PM 

Permaculture with Peter Ash

MiraCosta College Student Center, Aztlan Room A/B

Friday September Peter Ash is an organic farmer with over 40 years experience. Peter is a Certified Permaculture Designer,
Master Composter, Environmental
Educator, and a Trained Naturalist. After 35 years in commercial agriculture Peter
became dedicated to sustainable and
regenerative practices focusing on building
 healthy soil and returning all organics back
to the environment. He studied
 microbiology under Dr. Elaine Ingham and 
studied and taught Biodynamics with the
 Biodynamic Association of India. Peter has 
designed and implemented commercial
compost and recycling operations in India 
and Zanzibar and has an ongoing permaculture design project in Madagascar. From his work and research in India Peter has written several papers on bioremediation of toxic soils through the use of compost and natural planting systems. In 2002, Peter started StraightAsh Environmental Solutions, an international consulting firm on Permaculture Design, Sustainable Food Systems, Agroecology, and Integrated Waste Management. Peter continues to teach and consult internationally.


Regular monthly meetings are held on the third Friday of the month, most of the months. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and are held at MiraCosta College Oceanside campus. Meetings are open to members and guests.