Your California spring and summer garden is just around the corner! Here at Revival Roots Nursery, our first round of warm season crops have reached peak maturity and are ready to ship directly to you. While the shop is a great place to learn more about your backyard-to-table crops, we want to dive deeper into which RRN selections are right for you. Let’s take a closer look at when to start your summer garden, our secrets to success, and an in depth comparison of our tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers. Your best garden yet, starts here!
Juicy ripe tomatoes, ready to harvest straight from the vine.
Secrets to success
We are so lucky in California to be able to garden for most of the year. That being said, we have a wide array of local climates and understanding which climate you’re in can be the difference between a garden success or a learning experience (there are no failures in gardening!). These summer crops perform best in soil temperatures above 60° F. Testing your soil can easily be done with a low-tech soil thermometer. Ideally, check your soil temperature at night, when temperatures are at their coldest, it can also be tested in the early morning hours before the soil warms up. Generally speaking, most of California can expect to plant their tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers around mid March.
Here are some tips from the Revival Roots Team on how we ensure crop success in our collective 35+ years of growing experience.
- Perform a daily check-in for the first week. This may seem like a no brainer, but check in on your plants! This will allow you to make sure your watering schedule is right, monitor for any pests, and ensure the plant was transplanted correctly.
- Adding a small amount of general purpose fertilizer in the base of your planting hole will ensure these crops have all the macro and micro nutrients they need. This is the single easiest thing you can do to increase your yields.
- Taking notes is a vital way to learn about your garden. It can be tricky to remember what happens from season to season. Some of the things we track across our gardens are: Things that were successful, did any of our crops shade others as they grew in, things that didn’t work, and pest problems.
- Prevent pest damage by checking your seedlings thoroughly and when necessary, apply organic pest sprays or deterrents to prevent your seedlings from becoming damaged as they mature. A healthy pest-free plant will grow stronger and yield larger harvests.
- Keep an eye on the weather! Sometimes it may be necessary to protect your crops from high temperatures or unusually cold nights. Most plants will do well adapting to inclement weather, but drastic changes in weather conditions can affect growth.
- Ask questions, like, “Who’s that good-looking green thumb gardener in the mirror?” or ask our garden experts any questions you may have!
A beautiful terraced spring garden growing abundant amounts of fresh organic veggies!
Next, we will explore the growth habits and taste profiles of nine of our favorite vegetables! Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Zucchini are just the beginning of our warm weather lineup. Let's dive into some of our current offerings and learn more about our favorite veggies!
Indeterminate tomato plants mean they continue to grow and produce fruit until the first frost, also referred to as "vining" tomatoes. Determinate tomato plants mean they will stop growing once they reach a certain size, known more for their low growth habit, they are referred to as "bush" tomatoes. Most tomato plants will require support, such as a trellis or tomato cage, to keep them upright as they mature. Tomatoes prefer full sun and well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. They should be watered regularly, especially during hot weather.
A colorful array of summer veggies!
Gold Medal Tomato: This is a large, yellow and red striped tomato variety. It has a sweet flavor and is great for slicing or using in salads. Gold Medal tomatoes are indeterminate plants. They should be watered regularly, especially during hot weather.
Black Krim Tomato: This is a medium-sized, dark red to black tomato with a slightly salty and smoky flavor. It is perfect for adding depth to sauces or for eating fresh. Black Krim tomatoes are also indeterminate plants. Black Krim tomatoes are more tolerant of heat and drought than some other varieties, but still require regular watering.
Better Bush Tomato: This is a determinate variety of tomato that quickly produces medium-sized, round fruits that are meaty, juicy, and flavorful. This variety is known for its compact, bushy growth habit, which makes it ideal for container gardening or small spaces.
Mr. Stripey Tomato: This is a large, yellow tomato with red and orange stripes. It has a mild, sweet flavor and is great for sandwiches or salads. Mr. Stripey tomatoes are also indeterminate. These tomatoes have a long growing season and can take up to 90 days to mature.
Juliet Grape Tomato: This is a small, oval-shaped tomato with a sweet flavor. It is perfect for snacking, adding to salads, or roasting. Juliet Grape tomatoes are determinate plants, meaning they stop growing once they reach a certain size, typically around 4 feet tall. Juliet Grape tomatoes have a shorter growing season than indeterminate varieties, taking around 60-70 days to mature.
These deliciously fresh veggies have a speedy growth habit that will continue to produce pounds of cucumbers throughout the season. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil, and require regular watering. Trellising is recommended to help increase airflow, make harvesting easier and mitigate pest damage.
Cucumbers are prolific growers and will continue to produce all season long!
Baby Persian Cucumber: This is a small, thin-skinned cucumber with a sweet flavor. It is perfect for salads or for eating as a snack. Baby Persian cucumbers are a fast-growing variety and can mature in as little as 45 days.
Diva Cucumber: This is a long, thin-skinned cucumber with a sweet flavor and crisp texture. It is great for salads, sandwiches, or pickling. Diva cucumbers are a relatively fast-growing variety and can mature in around 58 days.
Zucchini plants are bush-type plants that can grow to 3-4 feet tall and wide. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. They require regular watering, especially during hot weather. While the zucchini fruit is most sought after, both male and female flowers are also edible and can be harvested as the plant matures.
Zucchini plants are vigorous growers and will need plenty of room to grow.
Black Beauty Zucchini: This is a dark green, oblong-shaped zucchini with a rich flavor. It is great for grilling, sautéing, or baking. Black Beauty zucchinis have a relatively short growing season and can mature in around 50 days.
Golden Zucchini: This is a yellow, oblong-shaped zucchini with a sweet flavor. It is perfect for grilling, sautéing, or roasting. Golden zucchinis have a relatively short growing season and can mature in around 50 days.
Understanding the growth habits of different vegetables is important for successful cultivation. Whether you choose indeterminate or determinate tomato varieties, vine cucumbers or sprawling zucchinis, providing the appropriate growing conditions and regular care will ensure a bountiful harvest of fresh, home-grown vegetables. We look forward to providing you with the best quality seedlings and we cannot wait for your bountiful harvests to come!