Resource List for Starting an Edible Garden
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Get Some Help…
→ My Backyard Farmer works with customers east (and west) of the Caldecott Tunnel to create and help maintain edible gardens—with as much or as little participation as a customer wants (mybackyardfarmer.com).
→ All Edibles, based in Berkeley, will collaborate with you on the design and installation of your customized edible landscapes and gardens (alledibles.com)
…Or Hire It Out!
If growing your own is not in the cards, the next best thing is sourcing your produce direct from the farm. There are several farms with CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture projects) that operate locally:
→ Eat Outside the Box (localharvest.org/farms/M4022)
→ Full Belly Farm (fullbellyfarm.com)
→ Terra Bella Family Farm, Pleasanton (terrabellafamilyfarm.com)
→ Riverdog Farm (riverdogfarm.com)
→ Frog Hollow Farm (froghollow.com/CSA)
Read All About It
→ “Edible East Bay,” a quarterly publication that promotes the abundance of local foods in the East Bay area (ediblecommunities.com/eastbay)
→ “Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer” by Novella Carpenter
→ “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver
→ “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan
The experts’ favorite suppliers
→ Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore has a website packed with helpful information for edible gardeners, including a guide/list of ripening times for berries and grapes, a pictorial guide to tomato varieties, and instructions for building your own burlap and straw raised bed. Alden Lane Nursery, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, (925) 447-0280, aldenlane.com.
→ American Soil & Stone, 2121 San Joaquin St., Richmond, (510) 292-3000, americansoil.com. For soil, soil amendments, compost and stone.
→ Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, 1310 McGee Ave., Berkeley, (510) 526-4704, berkeleyhort.com.
→ McDonnell Nursery, a family-run business, has been in Orinda since 1933. It offers a full selection of edible plants and can offer advice on frost protection and seasonal planting. McDonnell Nursery, 196 Moraga Way, Orinda, (925) 254-3713, mcdonnellnursery.com.
→ Orchard Nursery, 4010 Mount Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-4474, orchardnursery.com.
→ Seed catalogs: Territorial Seed, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, Seeds of Change, Renee’s Garden Seeds.
Raise Your Gardening Game
→ BioFuel Oasis in Berkeley offers classes in homebrewing biodiesel as well as growing food in containers, raising chickens in the city, olive curing, and backyard beekeeping. (510) 665-5509, biofueloasis.com.
→ Contra Costa Master Gardeners is the go-to place for all your questions about gardening, be it how to tackle the pests that are eating up your strawberries or to find out which veggies do particularly well in Contra Costa. The Help Desk operates Mon.–Thurs., 9 a.m.-noon, (925) 646-6586.
→ “Maximum Veggies, Minimum Space,” a class run by master gardener Janet Miller at Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, October 31, 10–12 p.m. The class focuses on bio-intensive gardening and is part of the nursery’s Harvest Festival series of classes. Watch out for a new schedule of classes starting in January, including Pruning Fruit Trees, orchardnursery.com.
→ The Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland offers a beginner’s course covering soil types and amending, seeds and starts, water, and weeds. Other classes include how to can tomatoes, make cheese, raise rabbits and chickens, and keep bees. (510) 927-3253, sparkybeegirl.com.