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Home Vegetable Gardening

Few experiences can match the pleasure of savoring a homegrown vegetable, especially if you raised it yourself from a seed or seedling. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce. Growing vegetables is also a pleasurable activity in its own right, giving you an excuse to spend time outdoors in the warm sun.

Growing vegetables doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming, especially if you follow the advice on this site. You'll soon discover, however, that experience really is the best teacher. As your knowledge grows, so will the rewards of this productive pastime.  

Getting Started

 Planting Guide - A useful chart that shows planting and harvesting dates of warm and cool season crops that do well in our area.

Vegetable Garden Basics - ANR publication #8059 (PDF 86kb), is a 7-page document that covers planning and planting a home vegetable garden

Vegetable Planting Guide (From Master Gardener Handbook)

Understanding a Seed Packet - Sacramento Master Gardeners

Seed Starting - Starting your vegetables indoors early can give your garden a jumpstart on spring. It also reduces the cost of seedling transplants

Soil temperature conditions - Sacramento Master Gardeners. Soil temperatures for vegetable seed germination

Vegetable Seed Saving: Discusses how to save seeds from vegetables grown in your garden. It also lists information on the storage life of seeds and provides directions for testing the viability of seeds. UCCE Stanislaus

Crop Rotation -  lists the top ten vegetable families and their members to help vegetable gardeners plan a crop rotation schedule. From Sacramento MGs.

Growing Vegetables in containers - You can still grow fresh vegetables even if you don't have the yard to plant a garden in. Try container gardening!

Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden - A helpful 10 page guide on growing tomatoes that covers planting, varieties and common problems found in the home garden. 

Soils, Irrigation and Fertilizers

Clay Soil, Finger impressions (Small)

Managing Clay Soils in the garden

Know Your Soil - Sacramento Master Gardeners
Soils vary greatly from one place to another. The secret is to know the nature of the soil, the kinds of problems to expect and what can be done about them.

Sheet Mulching - Sacramento Master Gardeners

Sheet Mulching (Lasagna Gardening) - Oregon State (includes pictures)

Soil Solarization - UC IPM program explanation of soil solarization for gardens and landscapes using the heat of the sun to manage soilborne pests.

Compost in a Hurry - Making compost to use in your home garden



Drip Irrigation in the home garden

How Do I Water My Garden?



 Fertilizing the garden - Vegetables grown in most California soils often require some fertilizer for best growth. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient and can be applied using either organic forms such as manures or compost or inorganic forms (chemical fertilizers) to supply needed nutrient

Using Manures

Using commercial Fertilizers

Other Helpful Resources

Cover cropping (PDF 168kb) in home vegetable gardens explains how and why to plant a cover crop to improve soil quality and nutrition.

Want to learn more about growing beans or turnips?  Click here for information related to specific vegetable crops in the garden

Growing Edible Flowers - Sacramento Master Gardeners

Growing Herbs - Lots of information on growing herbs in the home garden and landscape

Raised Beds - Information on growing vegetables in raised beds


Helpful Websites to Visit

UC Websites

UC CA Garden Web Vegetable web-site - Includes information on planning your garden, caring for plants and harvesting vegetables.

UC IPM ( Integrated Pest Management) - Information on growing and harvesting vegetables as well as common diseases and pests

UC Davis - Good Life Garden

Free UC Publications related to Vegetable Garden Material

SJ UC Master Gardener Pinterest site - Vegetable Gardening


Non-UC Websites

Bonnie Plants

Organic Gardening Website

Seed Savers - Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds

Sunset Garden Website - Lots of articles and videos related to vegetable gardening. We are Sunset Zone 14 (USDA 9)