It is that time of year when we all make New Year’s resolutions. This is truly the time to regroup, regrow and reassess our vegetable gardens.
Recently, while teaching my vegetable gardening class at the Carlsbad Senior Center’s Community Garden, my students and I cleaned up and recomposted our 4-by-16-foot raised bed. We took a vote as to which crops we would like to plant for the new year.
We used the 2024 Urban Farmers’ Gardening Calendar, available from the San Diego Seed Company to plan our winter garden. This highly informative calendar includes planting schedules, garden troubleshooting, seed planting tips and how to build healthy soil.
According to Brijette Peña, owner and head grower:
“Winter gardening in Zones 9 and 10 is very enjoyable. The hot weather has passed, days are cooler, and we will have gotten some rain if we are lucky. These conditions are great for growing crops like lettuce, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) and root crops such as beets, radishes and carrots. Some green kale and cabbages even taste better after cold weather.”
Brijette’s company offers over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers and hosts a three-day urban farming class. Contact her at sandiegoseedcompany.com, and she will gladly answer your questions about what to plant now!
If you have children at home during the school break, this is a great time to create a garden plan with their favorite vegetables. There is no point in planting kohlrabi or Brussels sprouts if no one in the family will eat them!
Using a large sheet of poster board, take a survey of your family’s favorite vegetables. Then look up those vegetables on your planting calendar, to be certain they can grow in this climate, Zones 9 and 10. The kids can even fill in planting dates and growth periods on the chart themselves. Or use a large desk calendar to plot the time from start to finish.
A free guide to planting individual vegetables is also available on Master Gardener Association website, mastergardenersd.org.
AN EXCITING APPROACH TO GROWING FOOD FOR FAMILIES
“The bottom line is, kids aren’t getting the healthy food they need,” said Mim Michelove, who co-founded Healthy Day Partners in 2012. “We have enough food to end hunger. What we need is the infrastructure to make sure more food goes where it is needed instead of into the landfill.”
What began as an effort to improve access to healthy, environmentally friendly food options in public schools has evolved into a multifaceted approach to improving access to healthy, locally grown food for communities throughout San Diego County.
“For me, the evolution of Healthy Day Partners has been a personal journey that is powered by a sense of responsibility to grow a healthier future for everyone” Michelove said. “Equal access to healthy food should be considered a basic human right no matter your ZIP code or income level.”
Mim began her Grab & Grow Gardens program during COVID-19 as a long-term solution to food scarcity. She and a multitude of volunteers are growing hundreds of vegetable seedlings that they will distribute in the coming year to schools and food banks with bilingual instructions as to how to grow them in a garden or a simple plastic pot.
Over the past five years, over 10,000 Grab & Grow Gardens have been distributed across the county.
LEARN FROM THE EXPERT
Mim will share her vegetable gardening knowledge in a new series held at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. This monthly class, “Grow Food – End Hunger – Save the Planet,” according to Mim, will “empower people of all gardening levels to grow an abundance of food for themselves and their community.”
The class will be held the fourth Saturday of each month for the next few months and is free with a $10 refundable registration fee. For more information, contact Mim at healthydaypartners.org or the San Diego Botanic Garden at sdbg.org or (760) 436-3036. Preregistration is required.
Jano Nightingale is a Master Gardener and teaches vegetable gardening at the Carlsbad Senior Center. Contact her for more information at [email protected].