Posts Tagged ‘agriculture


growing things

Down the Garden Path

I live in Albany in the SF Bay Area. I like to garden, and I especially like to grow edible things. I am originally from Fresno, CA. Fresno is smack in the middle of the most productive agricultural region on the face of the planet. Collectively, these facts usually add up to some cognitive dissonance for me about this time of year.

In Fresno, you can grow practically anything and reap a bountiful harvest. In much of the Bay Area you can grow even more things, but the harvest part is much, much more challenging. This is often referred to as a “Mediterranean” climate, and to me, that brings to mind Greece. Note however, that Mark Twain did NOT say, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in Athens”. The correct reference would be to San Francisco.

So while it is true that the climate in the Bay Area is mild and lots of things will grow, not everything fruits and ripens here. It just does not get hot enough for a sustained period for many fruit trees and vegetables like tomatoes and peppers to really produce a nice harvest. It gets frustrating because things do OK, but not great. Sometimes a plants, like tomatoes, just don’t look happy at all, no amount of feeding, watering, not watering, trimming, etc., cheers them up.

As with real estate so with gardening: location, location, location. I am still experimenting with varieties and locations. And admittedly, some things do just well. Lettuce comes to mind.

In the case of fruit trees, which no self-respecting Greek-American would omit from anything but the tiniest of gardens (for example pots on the apartment veranda), I began my efforts with a Blenheim apricot. But that is enough ranting for now; my experience with the apricot tree will be the subject of the next post.