Growing Guide for Fruits and Vegetables
In general, California has a variety of growing climates that allow for all-year growing of vegetables. According to gimour.com, much of the state has climates that range from polar to subtropical. While the southern portion of the state rarely experiences freezing temperatures, the northern regions can be much cooler and wetter. This also defines the growing zones. The northern regions range from growing zones 5a to 10b; The southern parts range from 5a to 11a. With as many as 200 crops grown in California, one has plenty of options to choose from. Keep in mind, however. each of these zones have specific individual growing conditions, challenges, temperature ranges, amounts of humidity and dry weather and rainfall. Growing zone 6b will have a shorter growing season than zone 10b, where it may be advantageous to have a greenhouse to have multiple seasons for the same varieties. To start planning your garden and when to sow or plant by, go to this link and enter your city or zip code in California for spring and fall planting options.
Remember to check seed packets for recommended planting zones. Hybrid and heirloom seeds of the same vegetable or fruit can have different days to maturity and even growing zones. Because greenhouses draw more heat earlier and later in the year than growing in ground without one, there is some flexibility to stated planting dates.
Growing Challenges in California
Crop Eating Animals:
Our Solutions: Critter exclusion
High Winds / Extreme Weather:
Our Solutions: Strong tie-downs, connectors & structural components
We use ratchet straps that have a working load limit of 3333 lbs / strap and a breaking strength of 10,000 lbs / strap. A 70-mph ind produces a force of 12.5 lbs/sf, which produces a total force on our 12’ x 20’ model’s surface area of 4583 lbs. We use 3 lengths of straps on this model, as pictured above, meaning the cover alone has a working load limit of 10,000 lbs with a breaking strength of 30,000 lbs. Overkill? We’re guilty.
We use heavy-duty long lasting galvanized steel components to connect all bows, purlins, and end struts to make a solid cohesive structure. To brace for Northern Arizona snow loads our bows for 10’ & 12’ wide units are at 4’ centers rated at 40,000 psi yield / 45,000 psi tensile strength per bow. 24’ wide greenhouses are rated at 50,000 psi yield / 55,000 psi tensile strength and further supported by seven lengths of steel purlins.
Intense Heat and Sun
Our Solution: Adjustable low tech UV protected cover system for ventilation
Shade cloth blocks out mid-day hot sun
Low tech roll-up roll-down assembly provides more than adequate ventilation for cooling
Drip systems are easily integrated into raised beds, while mesh covers allow rain to add natural nutrients to the soil and plant roots
Most California soils consist of weathered rock, volcanic ash and plant residues, which produces sand, loam and clay. PH ranges go from 5, which is acidic to 8.5, more alkaline. Ideally a ph range of 5.5 to 7.5 will facilitate the absorption of beneficial minerals for plants. The most fertile soil in the state is located in the Central Valley region. To ensure success with growing plants and crops, soils may need to be amended and balanced with the right texture and by adding nutrients to ensure growth and allow water and air to reach roots properly. Raised beds help control the quality of amended soil for season after season. To have your soil tested, go to this link:
Our Solution: Structurally integrated container gardening system
Raised beds not only help control the quality of the soil; they also support the structure of the greenhouse so there is no digging or concrete involved, while lending long term stability.
Gardening Comfort / California Demographics
Californians that are 45 years and up comprise just over 31% of the population, in the most productive agricultural state in the U.S. It produces nearly half of fruits, vegetables, nuts and 99% of artichokes in the country. It may be of interest that the most popular vegetable grown in California is broccoli. ure. Community gardens, especially, are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas. They relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. Retirees have more time to garden but are physically limited as they get older. Up and down movements required when sowing seeds and weeding, squatting, and reaching while planting and harvesting all take a physical toll on the body that may discourage this activity.
Our Solution: An outdoor living space built for gardening & comfort
Simple! Benches on top of the raised beds for potting and entertaining.