My Dad’s Garden

Herbs and Flowers

One of the many things I love about being back in central California is that I’m near my family again.  My grandparents are only 30 minutes away and it’s just an hour’s drive to see my Dad, who lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near a tiny little mountain town called North Fork.  I’m currently in an apartment without much outdoor space to call my own, so this year I’m trying to get up to my Dad’s house as much as possible to help out in his huge, beautiful garden. 

Artichokes in the Garden

He’s expanded the garden this year and has just about finished setting up drip irrigation in all the beds.  The garden is organic and my Dad uses biodynamic practices as much as possible.

Drip Irrigation in Garden Beds

So far we’ve planted potatoes, tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, lots of sweet and hot peppers, broccoli, onions, and more. Soon he’ll be putting in corn, beans, and winter squash. My project this summer, in addition to helping out with the garden (and creating recipes with the produce), will be to document the process through photographs and share what I learn along the way.  Will you be gardening this summer?


  1. Ruby

    He garden looks amazing! Love it.

    2:15 pm  May 18th, 2012
  2. Alex

    I absolutely love this project! I’m so jealous too…my backyard only has enough room for a small garden, everything done in small sections. This year I’ve started my first garden. I planted tomatoes, jalapenos, habaneros, carrots, green onions, cucumber, green beans, radishes and for the first time ever, a small corner set aside for pineapples.

    I look forward to watching your progress!

    2:23 pm  May 18th, 2012
  3. Kris

    Hidey ho their, neighbor. Greetings from 45 minutes south of Fresno!

    Your dad’s artichokes are amazing! I just planted three tiny plants this year. It will be a long time untilt hey produce, but I feel inspired.

    Hope you have a wonderful time gardening with Dad. I have been working on the gardening learning curve for many years. Can’t wait to learn from you !!!

    3:45 pm  May 18th, 2012
  4. Johnny G

    If you haven’t already, when you’re up in North Fork, try La Cabaña Mexican Restaurant. Also call Ray Krause at Westbrook Wine Farm to taste some really good wine. It’s a great spot. You will be suprised.

    3:48 pm  May 18th, 2012
  5. Kris

    I am so embarrassed. THERE, not their. Until they, not untilt hey.

    3:51 pm  May 18th, 2012
  6. charles g

    i lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve gardening, small time farming. I grew up on the farm in Tennessee, heck, bet I didn’t see store bought groceries til I was in the service. Nothing like fresh fresh. tomatoes, corn, beets, taters, beets, cucumbers, and all those other goodies. Your dads garden makes me home sick for the hills.

    3:57 pm  May 18th, 2012
  7. Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See

    Love how much thought goes into your dad’s garden 🙂

    4:35 pm  May 18th, 2012
  8. Jay

    We have lots of room, but have to be careful of water use, so it’s a small bed of tomatoes & not much else for us. The summers are so hot here in inland SoCal that even the tomatoes don’t do all that well. They’re nothing like the tomatoes we grew in northern IL, with that rich black soil. mmm mmm mmmm!

    5:02 pm  May 18th, 2012
  9. Liz

    Definitely gardening this summer, and blogging about it!

    6:03 pm  May 18th, 2012
  10. Jen S

    Congrats on having a garden space this summer! After living in small apartments in San Diego for nearly 10 years in I’m happy to finally have a garden plot in my Portland apt complex. I can only imagine what wonderful crops you and your dad will have. Looking forward to photos. My parents live in Folsom and each summer I love to visit and see and eat the progress!

    6:13 pm  May 18th, 2012
  11. monica

    Hi Nicole: So glad you are back on line-I missed your blog. Garden is so beautiful!!! I just had some organice peaches from Paul and Nita’s garden-sweet as sugar!

    6:47 pm  May 18th, 2012
  12. rkr

    Yep, Northern IL – Here’s where it’s definitely AT!! Black dirt (composted, of course!) Began gardening as a kid at parent’s home with sibs 65+ years ago and there’s still nothing like freezing and canning our own corn, chili sauce, green beans, apple sauce, peaches, etc… etc..
    Hubby agrees!

    8:13 pm  May 18th, 2012
  13. christina

    Your dad’s garden looks amazing! Love the artichoke plants. I used to go to a dentist in North Fork. Loved the drive up there.

    8:19 pm  May 18th, 2012
  14. Sarah

    I am! My mom gardens every year, but I’m experimenting with leaf mulch this year to conserve water and deter weeds.
    Love your pics and look forward to more.

    5:52 am  May 19th, 2012
  15. Marissa | Pinch and Swirl

    Just beautiful – at what point is it not a garden, but a mini-farm? 🙂 Looking forward to following your progress!

    8:53 am  May 19th, 2012
  16. Kalyn

    Your dad has a great garden! I am so glad you get to share it with him.

    1:50 pm  May 19th, 2012
  17. Christie

    What an amazing garden! I am drooling over those artichokes and the whole soaker hose setup. I can’t wait to see it progress as the summer goes on

    Here in Southern IN, we’ve got a few new raised beds going in our backyard. I can’t wait to start canning and pickling again this year.

    9:01 am  May 20th, 2012
  18. Kel

    Hope you are doing well! Nice to hear from you. The garden is lovely. I would love to hear more about the irrigation system.

    2:41 pm  May 20th, 2012
  19. Laids

    Hi Nicole. I saw that Pinch my salt ranked top 1 among the list of 50 food bloggers published by Blog Rank. I am thinking how do you do that:) Care to share some tips:)

    10:10 pm  May 21st, 2012
  20. Lauren T

    My dad is also a big gardener in central IL. He plants green beans, radishes, spinach, peas, onions, black berries, blue berries, raspberries, and more. Every year it’s a big process to get the garden up and running, and to keep the rabbits from eating everything he had to build a big fence to keep them out. I usually try to help him out when I can get back home over to summer to pick green beans, peas, and berries, and then I get to enjoy it everything since it’s all so delicious!

    1:54 pm  May 22nd, 2012
  21. Joanna

    Beautiful garden, how does your father deal with gophers, rabbits, mice orsquirrels? I have a small garden which has wire under the soil & thought I finally beat them but they figured a way in last summer, so I plan to remedy the situation. I noticed his garden doesn’t have raised beds or fences. I live in North County San Diego below Palomar mountain on 16 acres + cattle pasture in front & open land behind so we are exposed to every kind of critter. We have a dog so poison is not an option as she catches them. I have fence around area & place more wire around each plant but its always a battle + I use mouse traps.

    7:53 pm  May 22nd, 2012
  22. Nicole

    Joanna – They had a lot of trouble with gophers last year! He has been using steel gopher traps stuck in tunnels along the perimeter of the garden. He’s caught quite a few already this year.

    11:34 am  May 24th, 2012
  23. David

    That’s no garden. That’s a farm! Have a good time in the garden this summer.

    10:33 am  May 26th, 2012
  24. Barbara

    Fabulous garden! I’m jealous!

    9:55 am  May 29th, 2012
  25. Virginia

    The absolute joy and sense of calm that comes from working in the garden is sublime. How wonderful to share it with your father. Virginia

    10:49 am  May 30th, 2012
  26. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings

    I live in a condo, too, with no gardening space, although we have a community garden (I have no control of what’s being planted, though – mostly flowers). My dream is to have a wonderful garden. You dad’s looks fantastic!

    10:10 pm  May 31st, 2012
  27. Leucadia Chiropractic

    I adore your Father for having such a neat garden, it’s very rewarding and fulfilling! Great feeling too especially during the harvest, you can have organic veggies from your own backyard. I always wanted to have a garden like this but don’t have time to do it ugh

    2:25 am  Jun 5th, 2012
  28. San Marcos Chiropractor

    This looks fantastic. I’ve been wanting so much to have a garden but I only have pots. Can you recommend plants that will grow well on pots?

    2:28 am  Jun 5th, 2012
  29. kellypea

    So happy that you are enjoying being close to your family again — mine seems all over the place now, and I miss them. Swooning over your dad’s garden and love that you get to work with him in it. Such rewarding work from so many perspectives — I’ve never had a relationship with my real father. I’ve got an herb box this year with a few strawberries and eight tomato plants in two big pots. I need more space!

    9:48 am  Jun 9th, 2012
  30. Darcy

    I just started using biodynamic practices in my garden too – in my area, there is an awesome guy who has been teaching monthly gardening classes and it’s been awesome! I even wrote a few posts on what I’ve been learning.

    Love the garden! Can’t wait to start seeing that first harvest…

    2:12 pm  Jun 13th, 2012
  31. candice

    Great pics, California is the perfect place to grow most stuff, so I’m a little jealous. I have my little back yard garden with a white picket fence…used to have a gate to protect from unwanted intruders. ( my little kids and the black and white furry beast that steals sugar snap peas..)
    trying to grow peppers again this year because i have become addicted to pickled jalapenos. So far my efforts have been thwarted by cool weather and slugs. (urg..the slugs)
    got lots more stuff too ~ and so does your dad, so my hat it off to you guys, keep it up:)

    8:15 am  Jun 15th, 2012
  32. Jessica

    I used to live in Oakhurst before moving to San Fran. I miss the pine trees and the mountains!!!

    6:45 pm  Jul 10th, 2012
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