By Autumn Yanez-Jacobo
Research Coordinator for Earthwatch’s Community Gardens Project
On November 16, 2019, nine members of the local community and participants in the Earthwatch Community Gardens research project met at Huerta del Valle to learn about ideal planting times for seeds. This was a topic that was highly requested by participants in the program through word of mouth and responses from our monthly surveys. Many knew what to plant in the Spring and Summer, but there was less knowledge about what to plant during cooler times of the year and they wanted to learn. They wanted to be able to have things growing year round, and never have an empty garden plot!
We invited Julieta Muñoz from the Growing Roots organization to facilitate this workshop. Growing Roots is “a non-profit organization that strengthens community through building and maintaining urban farms and gardens in southern California.” Julie
ta is an urban farmer with a degree in Plant Science and a minor in Soil Science from Cal Poly Pomona.
Participants learned the best seasons for planting different types of vegetables in order to improve harvest, reduce pests, and save water. Julieta explained how California has 3 major growing seasons, the cool season, the cold season, and the warm season. Planting during the correct season can help to avoid pests and diseases, and increase leaf coverage for optimal photosynthesis.
Cilantro, broccoli, and kale can be planted in cool weather. Cabbage, beets, and spinach can be planted in cold weather. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant can be grown in hot weather. One concern voiced by many participants was that their cilantro was not germinating during the warm season. From this presentation, they learned that cilantro actually does best when planted during the cool season, not the warm season.
After the presentation, participants and community members planted their own lettuce, carrot, and cauliflower seeds in seed trays. Overall, the workshop was a success thanks to Julieta, the participation from community members, and the wonderful participants in our research project!