Growing vegetables in your home or garden is good for you, your neighborhood, and for helping to reduce your global footprint on this earth.
Growing vegetables at home can be done in a single pot on your patio or on a larger scale depending upon the space and time you have available.
Good planning and preparation will reduce the workload in your garden. For example, if you install a drip system that can accommodate all of your beds, you will never have to drag an irrigation hose around. If you apply a heavy layer of course mulch between the beds, your weeding will be minimal. If you build raised beds, your garden will be more organized and less likely to degrade to weeds.
Knowing your planting zone is critical. In the counties of Humboldt and Del Norte according to Western Sunset Garden Book there are 6. Both counties' Maritime zones are 17. Humboldt's Coastal zones are 14 and 15 depending on your location. Other zones in various areas of Humboldt are 4, 7 and 1a. Del Norte's various areas include 7 and 1a. Look at Sunset Zone Map to determine your Zone.
Planting Calendar by Zone
Cool season vegetables grow best and produce the best quality crops when average temperatures are 55-75o F. They usually tolerate slight frost when mature. Some crops can be grown year round in parts of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Cool Season Planting Calendar
Warm season vegetables require long, hot days and warm soil to mature. They grow best and produce the best quality crops when average temperatures are 65-95o F. They are intolerant of prolong freezing temperatures. Depending on your zone and your own microclimate Tomatoes and peppers are difficult to grow except in a greenhouse environment. Warm Season Planting Calendar
California Weather Data App
Current daily and hourly data from stations throughout California, plus long-term data for climate stations. PestCast research networks provide hourly and daily values from selected locations. California Weather App
CIMIS Weather Stations
Knowing weather information and frost date history is important when planting vegetable gardens. Linked data is from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) weather stations. Visit CIMIS web site.
VEGETABLE GARDENING GENERAL INFORMATION
The California Garden Web
The vegetable section is a great resource to find most of your answers on how to grow your own vegetable garden.
Garden Basics (ANR Publication 8059) Planning, planting, tending to a home vegetable garden.
Understanding a Seed Packet (GN 128)
How to Start Seeds (California Garden Web)
Vegetable Seed Saving (ANR Stanislaus County)
Vegetable Container Planting Tips (GN 140)
Growing Edible Flowers in Your Garden (GN 155) Edible flowers can bring lively flavors, colors, and textures to salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes.
Using Cereal Straw Bales for Home Gardening Washington State Publication
SOIL, COMPOSTING AND FERTILIZERS
Know your Soil (EHN 55)Soils vary greatly from one place to another. Some are ideal–they are deep, easily worked, and fertile. Many have physical or chemical limitations–they are too shallow, too sandy, too clayey, too steep, or too low in fertility. Some are too salty or contain other chemicals that are toxic to plants. On the other hand, there are very few places where good gardens and landscape plantings cannot be grown. The secret is to know the nature of the soil, the kinds of problems to expect, and what can be done about them.
Managing Clay Soils in the Garden (EHN 54) Find out ways to manage clay soil
Gardening on Hardpan Soils (EHN 53) Hardpan soils are noted for the problems they present. However, if the nature of the soil is understood the problems can usually be overcome.
Sheet Mulching (EHN 94) Sheet Mulching is a layered mulch system. It is a simple and underutilized technique for optimizing the benefits of mulch.
Composting for the Home Gardener (EHN 98) Compost promotes soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development.
Composting Tips and Tricks (GN 142)
Worm Composting (GN 144) Vermiculture - Basic steps for creating a worm bin
CULTURAL PRACTICES AND PEST MANAGEMENT
IPM Vegetable and melon section. Information on best cultural practices as well as identifying and managing pest problems.
Attracting Beneficial Insects (GN 129)
Attracting Native Pollinators (GN 156) Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. Unfortunately they are in trouble. Some species have seen a 90% decline in their populations over the last decade. But you can help. There are a number of ways you can enhance your garden to be more pollinator-friendly.
Cultural Practices and Pest Management (IPM)
Publications with detailed information on growing these edibles:
Beans (UCD Veg Research)
Potatoes (UCD Veg Research)
Tomatoes (ANR 8159)