Garden Planner

Additional resources to support my Planner and Journal for year-round vegetable gardeners

The Garden Planner and Journal brings together several concepts I’ve used to grow abundant fruits and vegetables over nearly three decades in Los Angeles gardens:

(1) What to plant when: In Southern California, we can harvest something every month of the year, so long as we pay attention to what to plant when.

Our cool season can potentially be the easiest and most productive time of the year to grow food. Our warm season is prime time for traditional “summer” crops. Our hot season — which I’ve begun calling our “golden season” as a reminder of what our gardens should properly look like — is the resting time in Southern California. It’s the time to curl up with a tall glass of iced tea and create your garden plans for the next round.

(2) Crop rotations: Farmers rotate their crops. Over the 11 years when I managed a Community Garden in Westchester, I developed a rotation system which works within Southern California’s year-round-growing season. I continue rotating crops in my home garden for two reasons: (1) soil building and (2) pest control.

Guilds are groups of plant friends which grow happily together – you can think of them like a complex version of companion planting. In my crop rotation scheme, I rotate entire guilds of plants.

(3) Planting with the moon: The moon’s gravitational pull doesn’t just affect the tides at our lovely beaches. It also affects plant growth. We can use this to our advantage, and witness a burst of growth, if we plant our seeds at the right time of month by timing our planting with moon phases. The Garden Planner and Journal’s “Best planting days” give you when-to-plant information for the current year.

(4) Soil building: Healthy, alive garden soil is at the heart of every successful organic garden. Each month’s Journal prompts you to focus on what you did toward soil-building. Additionally, the Planner offers a “living soil test” – a list of questions on page 33 to help you enrich your soil.

(5) Water wisdom: SoCalif has always depended upon imported water, and now with climate-change-driven aridification, we’re feeling it. For decades I’ve explored vegetable plants and varieties which grow well with less water. It also takes a shift in consciousness toward growing a low-water vegetable garden.

(6) Planning your garden: In the Garden Planner and Journal, I’ve shared with you some diagrams that I use to plan my garden each year. To keep things simple, I tend to plant only one variety of each botanical name.

(7) Garden ecosystem: Your garden includes not just you and the plants you put there. A healthy garden includes a lively assortment of wildlife – and your Journal pages invite you to observe them each month. A garden ecosystem also includes trees – so your monthly Planner pages include tips for fruit tree care.