Skip to main content

The December Garden

Snap Peas (& a garden gnome!)
Beresford Park Community Garden
December 15, 2021

It's hard to describe just how good the winter gardening is in San Mateo.  While most gardens across the country have long gone into a frosty hibernation - we're, at long last,  getting the rain we've been without for the last 9 months or more.  It's finally time to turn off the irrigation systems and let Mother Nature do her thing.  The new moisture is creating a full-on nutrient soup that flows through our soil, fueling an explosion of activity within the soil food web.   Fungal activity is pushing mushrooms to the surface.  Our favorite spring flowers of nasturtium, poppies, sweat peas, borage and yarrow are in a race to establish their growing territory.  And, thankfully, the newly moist soil makes pulling up oxalis, mallow and bindweed sprouts a bit easier.

As you would expect, plants thriving now in the garden were initially planted out in the fall.  Those crowns of cauliflower and broccoli, or the 3 foot sprouts of snap peas - have been in the ground for a few months now.  Now's the time to give those garden beds a fresh helping of compost.  And while sSome gardeners will take a few months off until the weather warms - hopefully they'll plant a cover crop of fava beans, buckwheat, clover or hairy vetch as a natural way to return nitrogen to the soil via photosynthesis.  In many ways, December is a key month in terms of both growing crops to harvest and in preparing beds for the coming year.

Even in the chaos that can be the holidays, getting out into the garden is always a great way to spend time.  Time in the garden lets us connect with other gardeners and neighbors during this ongoing time of "social distancing".  Now is a great time to get some seeds into the ground.  To give you an idea of some of the types of food currently growing, below are a few images from a walk through the Beresford Park Community Garden this afternoon:


Red Beets



Fava Bean

Snap Peas








Wishing you all a very safe & happy holiday season.  See you next year!

-Bill S.


Popular posts from this blog

Peaches and more

Yesterday we handed out the sweetest of peaches thanks to a generous donation from Circle Foot Permaculture .   Along with the quarts of peaches, we also provided Samaritan House Food Pharmacy clients a handout with nutritional information on peaches - how they impact your blood sugar - and a recipe for a Roasted Peach Parfait.  Here are links to the handout: Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (English) Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (Spanish) It all seems somewhat routine at this point:  gather donations of locally grown produce quickly pull together helpful nutritional information based on the week's donations In retrospect, this is the culmination of 3 years of effort to create a network of local gardeners, foragers and volunteers - with a goal of becoming a reliable source of fresh produce for lower income families struggling with diabetes and other health disorders.    While it has been known for some time that eating fruits & vegetables can positively impact a person's he

Getting Started: Wine Barrel Planters

Gardening in a small, urban space requires a bit of creativity.  Our challenges are many: buildings & trees frequently block sunlight;  various critters like to snack on new seedlings and just ripe fruits & vegetables; and here in San Mateo, irrigation is a must.  To increase your probability of gardening success, consider adding recycled wine barrels into your urban garden.    Having tried many types of growing containers over the years, the wine barrel has made it to the top of my list.  My galvanized tubs always seemed to need more water than wooden barrels - perhaps due to the different heating/cool properties of the metal vs. wood?  Aesthetically, a recycled barrel looks like it's been there for years - which I love.  And the smell!  There is no comparison. Cost is definitely a consideration.  A wine barrel at Home Depot is $40 whereas a 35 gallon galvanized tub is $55.  You might say that growing in the ground is $0.00 - but in some locations, the extra 18 inches off