Tom's Edible Gardens

Specializing in year-round gardens.

Welcome to Tom’s Edible Gardens!

If you have found this site then you must be a dedicated urban gardener like myself or you are just beginning to explore the possibilities of what edibles you might be able produce in your own yard. In either case I will be able to assist you in producing a bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs right on your own property. I have been producing and maintaining an edible garden for over 30 years here on the San Francisco Peninsula. Have a look under the Services tab and you can see by month what my wife and I are currently producing from our 6500 sq.ft. lot in Redwood City.

Spring Season – Edible Gardening Recommendations

Spring Garden Preparation

With this warm and dry (drought!) February we have been having this year I am getting asked every week, “When should I put in my spring garden?”   Of course the answer to that is, ‘it depends’.

Some questions  I ask include;  are you putting in a new garden for the first time, is the garden a raised bed or in-ground plot,  was the garden used as a fall garden, what did you most recently plant in the garden, what is the condition of the soil, what do you want to plant for the spring, etc, etc…

With that all said or asked, my usual advice is to put in your spring garden between March 15 and  April 15. The reason this is usually a good window is that by then the heavy spring rains are over so the seeds and small started plants will not be washed away. Also by then the evening air temperature is warm enough to actually keep some heat in it for the plants to grow.  Any sooner and things just sit in the garden waiting to get washed away (we hope this will happened this year).

So if that is the window here are the things you can do to prepare for your spring garden:

  •  Add 2-3 inches of compost to your beds and dig in to mix with the existing soil
  • Determine what and how much you actually will eat this year from the garden
  • Lay out a plan for your beds and determine how many seeds/starters you will plant
  • Check your watering system to insure there are no breaks/leaks and clean out any sediment in filters

 Spring Garden Planting

  • Plant herbs early in a sunny spot close to the kitchen for easy access
  • Cool season veggies like broccoli, carrots, kale and radishes can go in early to get them started before it’s too hot
  • Plant veggies closely enough together so when they mature the neighboring plants touch (This will help reduce evaporation )
  • Add fine textured organic mulch on top of the soil but away from any plant stems to avoid mold.  The mulch will decay over time and reduce evaporation

Drought Tactics

There are many steps you can use to respond to the drought and still have a successful spring garden.

The compost and mulch mentioned above adds organic material to the soil which will help hold the water longer where you want it to… be on the plants. By planting a veggie garden you will use much less water than a large scale grower and have a smaller carbon impact by reducing transportation time/costs.

Some other tactics include:

  • Water early or late in the day to reduce evaporation
  • Water close to the ground with a drip or soaker system
  • Water crops deeply and let the first inch of soil dry before watering again
  • Use household gray water for fruit trees and ornamentals

Composting Tips

I receive a lot of questions about composting and just saw a good article in the current edition of Sunset Magazine. Below is a summary:

1) Place bin in a shady spot. If you put it in a sunny spot it dries out to quickly and you will need to water it often. You will have two ingredients; brown material (dried leaves, straw, sawdust, etc) and green material (lawn and garden trimmings, fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps, etc ). The smaller the pieces the faster the composting will go.

2) Alternate layers starting with brown first then green. Brown layers should be twice as thick as green layers.  If green material is not very moist add a bit of water between each layer. Always end with a brown layer to reduce smell and bugs

3)  Turn the pile at least once a week to add air to the mix.  Once it resembles soil, sift out the big pieces and add to your garden.


If you need any help to do some of your spring garden projects or would like to be trained at your house on your plants and trees please let me know. I can help you create a productive, healthy and attractive edible garden. I provide a free one hour assessment of your garden and a project quote for each client.

Hope you have a bountiful spring!


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