Food Day 2012: From Garden to Table References

For Food Day this year I presented a lecture again for UC Davis Medical Center Employees and the topic was gardening. I admit, although I have a Satsuma Mandarin farm, I feel like I am still a novice when it comes to gardening. I have no advanced degrees or formal training, and everything I know about growing food is partially due to reading books and looking stuff up online, but mostly due to trial and error. However, there are a few references and resources that I go back to again and again, year after year, and I thought I would use this post to share these references with my readers and those who attended my talk yesterday.

Here is a photo of our fairly traditional garden, taken in the spring.

From the back to the front and left to right you can see raspberries, English peas, artichokes, onions and garlic, “Lacunato” kale, chard, shallots, thyme, rosemary, parsley, dill, mesclum salad mix, “Little Gem” lettuce and “Bloomsdale” spinach.

Almost all of my favorite seeds come from the following 4 companies:

Baker Creek Seed company:

Renee’s Garden Seed:

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply:

Botanical Interests:

These are recommended sources in the Sacramento/ Northern California area for plants and seeds:

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Grass Valley:

Eisley’s Nursery Auburn:

Harmony Farm Supply Sebastopol:

Orchard Supply:

Sacramento Natural Foods Coop:

Whole Foods Market:

Talini’s nursery East Sacramento:

Next, my favorite gardening books (I admit, these are oldies and may only be available used). When I started gardening, the web was not available, so I had to look every thing up in books. Can you imagine that?!!“How to Grow More Vegetables” by John Jeavons, “Vegetables: How to Select, Grow and Enjoy” by Derek Fell (HP Books) and The Sunset New Western Garden Book.

Of course, nowadays, most of us use the web instead. How lucky are modern beginning gardeners to have so many great online gardening resources available for free? These are some great links:

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply

Dave Wilson Nursery

UCDavis Garden Web

UCDavis Home orchard

The following download is a full gardening book for beginners:

Vegetable garden handbook for beginners

This download is a vegetable planting guide. I like it because it has planting dates and harvest dates. Many guides only list planting dates:
UC Davis Plant Science Vegetable Planting Guide:
Even though I like to use the web as a primary gardening resource too now, I have found that when I am pruning fruit trees, I want to take a book out in the field that I can refer to while pruning.  The following are my well worn pruning handbooks:
The Sunset Pruning Handbook, Pruning: How to Guide for Gardeners by HP books, and my all time favorite: How to Prune Fruit Trees by R. Sanford Martin.
Years before he became famous for his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I read “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education” by Michael Pollan, and it has remained on my short list of all time favorite books ever since.  It is highly recommended as an entertaining and enlightening read on the challenges and rewards and philosophical dilemmas of gardening. You might call it his “gardener’s dilemma”.
Finally, you will want to know what to do with all that beautiful food you have grown. The next step from planting and harvesting is preservation of the harvest. I highly recommend using a reputable source for preserving food, especially when canning and drying. The following are my trusted sources for food preservation:

National Center for Home Food Preservation:

Ball Blue Book :

Also Ball has a good website with recipes:

UCDavis: includes USDA Complete guide to home canning pdf download:

UC Davis home food preservation and storage website:

© 2012. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.