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Mesclun seed is ready to plant now. Courtesy photo/San Diego Seed Company
ColumnsJano's Garden

Time to garden for the holidays

I watch a lot of cooking shows. In October, two of my favorite cooking divas, Ina Garten and Martha Stewart, suggested that we should be thinking about Thanksgiving. Ahead of time.

But to me that doesn’t means thinking about turkey, but about the vegetables!

So I have consulted the experts about what to plant, right now, so that I serve up some of my favorite vegetables for the holidays.

According to the experts at D. Landreth Seed Company:

“Some vegetables actually do better with a fall seeding. Cold weather, with certain varieties, enhances the sweetness of the fruits and vegetable.

“The most important concept to recognize is that in the spring, days are getting longer, whereas in the fall each day is getting shorter and daily temperatures are getting cooler.”


Since North County has a growing climate that is perfect for fall vegetable planting, it is a good idea to purchase seed that is acclimated to our climate. According to Brijette Peña, owner and creator of the San Diego Seed company:

“Local seeds play a critical role in expanding sustainable agriculture. By producing local seeds of food crops that adapt to local growing conditions, we perpetuate sustainable and regenerative agriculture goals. How? These crops are more resistant to local plant diseases and pests. They are also better adapted to the environmental conditions and soil structure in that specific area.

“For growers in Southern California facing drought conditions and changing weather patterns, this is more important than ever. The seeds that we grow in Southern California and the American Southwest should be adapted to our region’s unique climate conditions.”

Brijette and her staff produce over 100 varieties of vegetable, flower and herb seeds on their farm in Ramona, and detailed instructions, videos and catalogue are available on their website,

The website also includes a planting calendar that explains when to plant specific crops.

Their seed is also available at local food and garden shops such as Jimbo’s, Andersons La Costa Nursery and many more shops featured in the map on their website.

At the time of year when many of the garden centers have pulled all their seeds off the shelves, the San Diego Seed Company offers seed to plant now!


According to Brijette, “The eight crops to plant now include spinach, Russian kale, leafy greens, snap peas, carrots, onions, cilantro and chives.”

All of these crops in a multitude of varieties are listed on the San Diego Seed Company website.


When planting late fall crops now, local gardeners will find many of the green crops ready to harvest by the end of November. Your guests will be amazed that their Thanksgiving salads came from your garden!

At the Pine Street Community Garden in Carlsbad, members of our Senior Garden Club have been amazed at the speed with which our romaine lettuce, mesclun and bok choy have grown over the past few weeks.

We have also found that succession planting will extend the growth of our crops.

All of the leafy greens and peas will be replanted every two weeks to extend the season. Many of the greens, such as mesclun and bok choy and considered “cut-and-come again” varieties, so the more you can harvest them, the more they regrow.

One of the local Pine Street Gardeners, Shane Dean, who is part of a landscaping gardening family, has been planting his root crops such as carrots and beets that “might just sit in the ground for a few months, and then be ready to harvest over the winter months.”

He also started his onions, scallions and chives earlier last summer in a greenhouse, so they are ready to pop in the ground in November.

His work has been highly recognized, and he is now the head gardener at the Golden Door Resort in San Marcos.

Some of his crops are available at the Golden Door Country Store at 314 Deer Springs Road in San Marcos, open Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (760) 310-7573 or visit


In the next few weeks we will be featuring ideas gathered from local gardeners, including holiday recipes.

I will include some of my family’s recipes such as Granma VanDenBerg’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce and my mother’s Swedish Nuts and Butternut Squash with Scalloped Apples.

Send us your recipes, and you just might be featured in a future column!

Jano Nightingale is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist and teaches vegetable gardening classes at the Carlsbad Pine Street Senior Garden. She can be reached at [email protected].