Believe it or not, starting a successful garden isn’t as easy as just throwing a bunch of seeds in some dirt and showering it with water once in a while. We tried to do some research before planting, and we thought it might be helpful to other potential gardeners if we shared some of the info that we found.
Before I get started, I’ll briefly touch on why we wanted to start growing our own vegetables in the first place. A lot of the inspiration came from friends and family; Molly’s parents maintain a HUGE and diverse garden in northern California, and my friends Nas and Emily pretty much run the gardening scene in Poughkeepsie. On top of our desire to flatter them via imitation, an article by Michael Pollan on the virtues of a nutritionally dense, locally-sourced diet really resonated with both of us.
First and foremost, we needed a place to plant some veggies. I initially thought about planting in my “yard”; the previous tenants had a couple of tomato plants before they moved out, so I thought that might be the ticket. I realized pretty quickly, though, that the patches of dirt around my house were out of the question. The soil’s pretty much nothing but sand, and the sunlight is really limited by fences, trees and the house itself. We had all but given up on the idea of gardening until I got a call from Gillian Ackland, the coordinator for the PB Community Garden. I got myself on the waiting list for a plot back when I first moved to PB, and 2 years later something opened up. The garden is great for a couple of reasons – the plots get a ton of unimpeded sunlight; everyone there is super friendly and helpful; and they provide tools, water, and compost / manure. If you’re in San Diego and interested in gardening but don’t have any space, take a look at this list of community gardens in the area.
Once you have some ground to work with, you need to know what you can grow! We checked a couple of different sites to get a sense of what grows in San Diego at this time of year, and here they are:
Aside from those, we got a ton of advice from folks at the community garden and Molly’s folks. After all was said and done, we planted some basil, rosemary, Stupice and cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow bell peppers and jalapenos. I’d like to say that these choices were based on loads of research, but the truth is that we paid a visit to Green Gardens in PB and grabbed whatever seedlings they had. We figured that if they were selling it, it’d probably grow.
Here’s our garden after we got everything in the ground!