Tips for Starting to Grow Your Own Food from a Local Farmer

Deepseeded Farm in Arcata
Deepseeded Farm in Arcata

The North Coast’s long growing season and rich soil can make growing one’s own food too tempting to resist.   Eddie Tanner, owner of Deepseeded Farm in Arcata, has some easy tips for the novice gardener, looking to start growing their own food.

“We get a sunny day and it’s fun to get started, but really, it’s nice to just keep a long picture in mind,” Eddie begins, on a bright and sunny day in February.

Eddie is also the author of ‘The Humboldt Kitchen Gardener– A Concise Guide to Raising Organic Vegetables and Fruits in the Greater Humboldt County Region’

“We have a long growing season here and there’s really no rush to get started this time of year, it’s still early, even for our cool season crops,” says Tanner, who is also a Farm Advisor to the University of California Extension Program. “For the cool season crops like lettuce, spinach, carrots, onions, peas mid-March time is sort of the first date to plant things outside in the garden.” Eddie continues, “And so if you do have space to start, your own seeds inside can definitely get them started sooner. I would just keep in mind that if you don’t have a greenhouse and you’re growing seedlings inside, that they really need light directly above them because leggy seedlings are weak seedlings.”

Eddie says to wait even longer if you are looking to plant warm-season crops. “Summer is still a couple of months away,” he expands, “and some of those summer veggies, cucumbers, squash, beans, they all like it a little warmer.”

He also says that planting strategic flowers alongside fruits and vegetables can help ensure that your garden thrives. “Plants that flower throughout the year in our gardens can provide pollen and nectar and habitat for beneficial insects, and those will regulate the ecology in your garden and help keep some of the other pests down.”

Eddie focuses on growing flowering plants that provide pollen and nectar to flying insects: “For bumblebees, I really like for phacelia or borage, for hover flies, I like to grow alyssum and for the parasitoid wasp that can keep your caterpillar problems down, they really enjoy flowering cilantro.”

Eddie’s farm offers community supported agriculture to the Humboldt Bay area. “So folks come out here once a week,” he says, “and get whatever the farm is harvesting and are able to pick flowers and culinary herbs while they’re here.”

If you would like to sign up for a share of the array of produce Deepseeded Farm has available, registration for their 2024 boxes is now open.

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