What and When to Grow with a first timer!

I'm about to shock all of you. Even though I work for Planting Justice, I really didn't know that much about planting when I first started. Literally, I had planted 2 or 3 things before I started and killed them all. I even killed rosemary which according to everybody here is basically impossible to do. I know, I'm an expert at killing plants.

But, since starting with Planting Justice almost 2 years ago a couple of our permaculture designers have made it their personal mission to teach me how to grow my own food. One of the first things I was taught by Gavin was that when planting, even in the Bay Area where we have 3 growing seasons (What?!), you have to know when to plant your plants.

This was complete news to me. I pretty much just knew you planted some things in the Spring and some things in the Fall but had no real idea what they were. So, Gavin gave me a copy of the Planting Justice Permaculture Primer and showed me the page below that included a full calendar of what to plant when!

Planting Guide
Planting Guide

So, with this newfound knowledge, I started to to gain more confidence in my ability to (possibly) grow some food myself. And, I'm happy to report that I have officially planted my first plants this week! I've planted (after consulting my growing calendar) lettuce and peppers and cannot wait for them to actually grow up.

After some more reading, I learned that in our first growing season (February/March to May/June) it's best to plant quick growing plants and those that can handle the cold and rain that we experience. Apparently this includes: ALL of the salad greens (lettuce, arugula, sorrel, spinach, and chard); root crops such as radish, carrots, beets, rutabaga, parsnips, jerusalem artichokes (I know it as sunchoke), and potatoes; herbs such as parsley and cilantro; quick growing asian cooking greens such as bok choy, tatsoi, mustard, mizuna, shiso; members of the brassica family such as kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts; and other cool weather crops such as sweet peas, strawberries, fava beans, onions, leeks, and shallots

So much variety! AND on top of all of this you can even plant fruit trees, berries, herbs, and other perennials because they really benefit from the cool weather and moisture of the spring before it gets hot and dry.

I hope that you'll all join me in growing some food this season; even if it will be your first time. I promise, if I can do it, anybody can. And, now you have a fun growing calendar and ideas on what to plant now to help you out!

- Tomas

Growing Calendar from Pam Pierce's Golden Gate Gardening