Ask a Question forum: Starting a winter garden - Northern California

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jaine_mgilb
Jan 26, 2017 12:01 PM CST
Dear Gardening Community,
Coworkers and I have an employee community garden where I work in Pleasanton, CA.
Question about winter gardening here in Northern California:

Is it too late to put in a winter garden? I'm thinking seedlings purchased at a local nursery would be fine. I guess it is too late to simply scatter cover crop seeds in our garden beds? I suggested we cover bare soil with compost and a thick layer of straw to protect it. The soil is low in nutrients, washed out by lots of summer watering and then downpours of rain the last couple of months. Winter crop seedlings could be spaced throughout. Does that sound a good approach? Any other suggestions?
Which crops would you suggest? I'm guessing most groups will be wanting to plant summer vegetables come Spring...
Thanks so much!
Jaine
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 26, 2017 12:50 PM CST
Hi Jaine, Welcome! to NGA

What a great project! For others in NGA, Pleasanton is in Zone 9. It is considered an inland valley and is just a few miles from the coast and a few miles from the Central Valley but there is a small mountain range between Pleasanton and the Central Valley and Pleasanton and the ocean. The weather in Pleasanton is... Pleasant - never too hot, never too cold.

Start by digging some good compost into your garden. Then plant peas. Do it now. There is no need to plant pea seedlings so you can plant a big variety for the cost of few packets of seeds: English peas, snap peas, spring peas.

Peas like the cool winter months and will grow until it gets too hot late this spring. Also, peas fix nitrogen in the soil - instead of pulling them later, chop them up and mix them in. If your local nursery still has onion sets, they would work well for you also.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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