Growing Organic Veggies in the Bay Area

Fog? Shade? Hot Sun? The Chronicle has a good article about defining terms and determining what you can grow. Here’s a sample, but click through for the whole thing.

The short answer is that you can grow leafy and root crops, such as lettuce and beets, if you have at least four hours of sunlight, while fruiting ones, like squash and tomatoes, need six hours or more. However, I have found that a number of crops can grow with fewer than four hours of sun….

In the first situation, known as “full” or “deep shade,” it isn’t likely any food crop would thrive, while in the second, known as “open shade,” some leafy crops, such as parsley or arugula, will do just fine….

And what about all that summer fog? Photosynthesis is definitely slower on low-light days. But a certain number of such days are factored into the standard advice for growing plants….

The same number of hours of sunlight on a cool coastal day will allow for less plant growth than they would on a warm inland day…. At the coast, even full all-day sun is unlikely to be enough to let a melon plant grow to maturity and develop sweet fruit.

On the other hand, on extremely hot days, photosynthesis will shut down, and plants will not be able to use all the sunlight they get. This is why we hear, for many plants, the advice to “grow in full sun at the coast, partial shade inland.”

So there you go. It’s a long excerpt from a much longer article.

Up next we have a backyard farm tour of Oakland and Berkeley so you can see for yourself how others do it. That Chronicle, with such helpful information!

Next Sunday, the institute will offer tours of five backyard farms of varying sizes to demonstrate various sides of urban sustainability and show people how they can use the land they have….

The Institute of Urban Homesteading’s Urban Farm Tours take place at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. next Sunday (June 19) in Oakland and Berkeley. Choose up to three farms to visit; each tour lasts up to 45 minutes. $5 per tour; $3 for children under 12. To register and receive maps and directions, contact the institute at

In case you were wondering, we do still have lots of organic veggie starts at the store, and we will keep carrying them throughout the summer and fall too since we can really grow them year round around here, if the articles above are any indication.

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April 2023

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