Finally! A long overdue blog post.
For nearly 15 years we had lived in Half Moon Bay, CA (a wonderful, small-town community just south of San Francisco). The soil was pure clay, the climate cool and often foggy. While we eventually were successful in veggie gardening in raised beds and containers, I look back at our mistakes as we begin planning for our new garden.
We’ve recently moved to Lake County (just north of Napa County, CA) where we have a bit of land and a chance to set up a vegetable garden the right way from the start. And by they ‘right way’ we simply are going to try to minimize the number of mistakes that we make!
How I pledge to do things differently:
- Learn habitat and climate. Even though I knew Half Moon Bay was different, I tried to apply too many things that I had learned when growing up and gardening in the Midwest. I’ll also take advantage of free advice from master gardener volunteers at the county extension office.
- Test the soil. Know what’s in it and amend where needed. This will save many seasons of frustration.
- Prepare and plan. Before I wrote Plangarden software, I would just plant whatever I “thought” might grow, without doing research on specific varieties that thrive better in my climate. Getting too much harvest or seeing crops fail wasn’t fun!
I have already spent time at the local nursery and with my neighbors learning about the climate, soil, and certain varieties of plants that do well out here. I haven’t sent in the soil sample yet, so nothing goes in the soil other than compost until I get the test results. I know I have a loam/red clay soil, and the ratio of calcium to magnesium is not ideal for most plants (too much magnesium).
The charming fauna – deer, jack rabbits, squirrels – are a new pest for us. Fencing will be critical. Also, rocks and boulders seem to “grow” on this property (Sonoma rock – the kind suburbanites pay landscapers to put in their gardens). I will try to create raised beds with these rocks (as my wife rolls her eyes, amused at my youthful enthusiasm).
What else have I left out?
Wishing you an excellent gardening year,