Your cold season crops should go into the ground by late September. These are things like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, romanesco, kale, and potatoes that will generally start producing in about 60 days. If you’re on the East Coast, you’ll eventually be under snow, but you can grow a bit indoors—all the Italian herbs, basil, and cilantro are a few options.
Step 4: Maintaining your new crops
“After planting, you’ll want to water thoroughly so the soil is saturated, checking with your trowel or finger to see that the soil is moist a few inches deep. Following this you’ll water once a day–preferably in the morning–taking special care to ensure seeded areas don’t dry out until they’ve safely germinated and sprouted,” instructs Douglas. “As long as your soil is damp and the plants don’t look wilted, you’re watering enough. Remember that you’re growing healthy soil with living microbes and worms, which need a moisture to survive.” To get the best harvest possible, Douglas says you’ll want to feed your plants periodically. There are two ways to do this: You can add nutrients to the soil for the plants to take up in their roots, or you can dilute nutrients in water for them to absorb through their leaves. For either option, Douglas’s favorite brand is E.B. Stone Organics.
Notes on sourcing
Douglas is a fan of several organic seed companies based in the Midwest and on the East Coast, including High Mowing Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. “Locally, in Marin County, we love Fairfax Lumber & Hardware—they have the soil, compost, seeds, vegetable starts, fertilizers, and really everything you need to get started. The San Francisco Bay Area has so many great places, including a number of Sloat Garden Centers, Green Jeans Garden Supply in Mill Valley, and The Living Seed Company in Point Reyes Station—they’re all still stocked and have great heirloom seeds.”
Other metropolitan areas may not have as many accessible garden centers, but Douglas contends it’s not impossible to source your starts. “It might be a little different if you’re living in downtown Manhattan, but all you have to do is go up the Hudson and there’s the Hudson Valley Seed Company. Wherever you are, there are all these small retailers crying out for business.”
“We want to redefine how we perceive the landscape by turning it into a resource we can use to feed our families and still maintain a space for entertaining,” remarks Douglas. “We want to prioritize food in our landscapes and shared spaces—if nothing else this may inspire people to think differently about their spaces—particularly with what’s happening in the world today.”