When should I get started on my garden?

The best time to start a garden is ten years ago. The next best time is today!

Living in Southern California affords us the ability to grow food year-round, though most crops are seasonal (cool season or warm season) and what grows best at any given time of year changes with the seasons. What is initially planted will be appropriate for the season, though crop selection will change throughout the year.

The key to gardening success is the development of rich, living soil — not something that can be bought, but more of a reward for persistence. The more and longer you actively garden, the better your soil becomes. As your soil activates with life, your plants become healthier and more resilient to pests and disease, with deeper roots that help the plant withstand environmental conditions such as heat and drought.

We cover how to develop living soil in our Gardening 101 course.

Does a veggie garden use more water than a lawn?

The “crop” with the largest area under cultivation in the U.S. is lawns. Maybe we could use some of that to grow food?

Vegetables do not need more water than grass. Grass takes between 30 and 50 inches of water per year, depending on the type. Vegetables can use about the same amount.

However, if you install timed drip irrigation, irrigate strategically, and work to develop rich, living soil (we recommend all three), you will greatly reduce your water usage while growing food to feed your family.

In the Gardening 101 course, we teach how to install a timed drip irrigation system and how to water strategically.

Where can I put a garden?

Almost anywhere …containers, raised beds, large plots… wherever you have space!

The two most important things your garden needs are ample direct sunlight — 10 to 12 hours in the summer and 6 to 8 hours in the winter — and access to water.

Apartment dwellers can start with container gardening on a patio or deck. Many homeowners can find additional sunny space for growing their own food. If you need help siting your garden, check out our Informational Links.

We cover factors for locating a garden in the Gardening 101 course.

Why should I grow my own food?

There is nothing better than the taste of fresh, flavorful food grown locally, and nothing is more local than your yard.

  • Gardening is a fun, shared activity for your family, friends, and community.
  • There’s no better way to get kids to eat veggies than to have them help grow veggies.
  • Gardening provides ample opportunity to enjoy and learn about nature, healthy food, and how good fresh produce tastes.
  • Creating your own garden is a great low-cost outdoor activity that helps you reduce your carbon footprint!
How do I get involved with VGSD?

It’s easy…and free! Just sign up for our newsletter (bottom of page) and you’ll be notified of upcoming VGSD classes, educational garden builds, volunteering opportunities, and activities.

Subscribers gain access to our three, free gardening guides, written in English and Spanish. 

Gardening 101: How to Grow Your Own Food

Gardening 201: How to Start and Manage Community Gardens

Gardening 301: How to Start and Sustain a School Gardening Program

Be assured that we value your privacy and any information you send will be kept private and be used only to assist you in getting your garden started.