California gardening can be a special treat. Many of us who grew up here take it for granted, but unless you live in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada you probably have 10 months of growing season. Most other parts of the country are in the grip of early winter now, but we are planting cool-season annuals, cole crops, and root veggies. Welcome to paradise!

Lemon - Illustration by Helen KrayenhoffNow that we are into our rainy season, we can breathe a sigh of relief that wildfires are not such a concern, but with the wetter weather comes new challenges for gardeners. One of the best parts of Bay Area planting is that you can do it any time when the soil is not saturated. This means check your weather forecast and wait for a 24 hour dry spell before digging or turning your soil. Seeds for cover crops and wildflowers can be scattered and covered without disturbing the soil.

Some favorite flowers for planting at this time of year are Alyssum, Viola, Stock, Calendula, and Iceland Poppy. In edibles, consider Collards, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, and Kale. Of course, root veggies like Radishes, Beets, Carrots, and Onions are best planted from seeds, carefully protecting from birds, and thinning the sprouts as they grow.

Not interested in working outside in cold weather? Consider planning your 2018 garden. Some prime considerations will be edible trees and shrubs. Many of these will be available at the nursery in January and February when we kick-off our bareroot season. Give us your contact information and we’ll let you know when they arrive.

And then there is Citrus. Perhaps the only silver lining to global climate change is our new-found ability to grow things like Blood Oranges, Grapefruits, and Mexican Limes where we previously lacked the heat required for proper ripening. Imagine a potted Kumquat bush just steps away from your front door, or a Yuzu on your back porch. There’s no need to wait for spring to plant these treasures.

Embrace your CA roots; get out and grow!

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