this is what
petaluma spring 2021 program
Thank you to all of the Starter home gardener volunteers! Vegetable starts are now continuing to grow in the hands of your neighbors who received them at regional food pantries.
We encourage new friends to join our mailing list so we can let you know how to be involved in the future.
Following a successful pilot last summer, getstarted once again partnered with Petaluma Bounty to continue the program in spring/summer 2021 in Petaluma, CA!
Based on requests gathered from surveying approximately 60 local families receiving food assistance— including their interest in receiving edible plant starts, preferred plants and growing conditions— we expanded the array of edible plants to be seeded and tended by "Starters” this spring and to be shared, grown and enjoyed by under resourced “Growers” throughout the summer. New this season, we created two kits— one designed for growing in partial, the other for full sun.
In addition to new plants offered, the spring/summer 2021 program also included more educational materials to support everyone throughout the process. Helpful tips and videos were supplemented with on-going, personalized email and phone support from knowledgeable professionals, courtesy of a new collaboration with the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County.
Via collaboration, getstarted is able to leverage local know-how to reinforce and expand the gardening skills of the community, as well as increase knowledge of, and interest in, year-round edible gardening, which is viable in the region.
The Details (from spring/summer '21 program):
There is no cost to participate, either as a home gardener “Starter” or recipient “Grower.”
Each Start Kit consists of a recycled 6-cell pack (approx. 7" long x 5" wide x 3" deep) pre-filled with soil, three different types of seeds, and directions for growing and care. "Starters" can be amateurs or experts and will not need to plant the kits in-ground.
getstarted is prepared to provide 300 kits, so please spread the word, and kindly register your planned “Starter” participation by clicking the button below by Wednesday, March 31, 2021. NOTE: Registration is now closed. Thank you for your enthusiastic response!
If you are organizing for a group of 10 Starters or more (i.e. a school garden program), please email us directly at so that we can help you coordinate.
This spring, we will have two days for Starters to pick up and drop off Start Kits at Petaluma Bounty, located at 55 Shasta Avenue, Petaluma, CA. For questions, please call 707.775.3663.
Pick up reserved complimentary Start Kits on either Saturday or Sunday, April 3 or 4 from 2-5pm. Visit the News page for videos on starting, tending and thinning your kit, as well as other troubleshooting tips.
Drop off the resulting, sprouting Start Kits on either Saturday or Sunday, May 8 or 9 from 2-5pm.
Established starts, along with bi-lingual educational and resource information, will be distributed at the following locations free of charge to families and individuals receiving food assistance, for summer growing season enjoyment!
Tues 5/18: Salvation Army Petaluma Food Pantry
Thurs 5/20: Elisha’s Pantry, Santa Rosa
Fri 5/21: Petaluma Family Resource Center at McDowell Elementary School
Tues 5/25: Una Vida Community Market at Hillside Church, Petaluma
Thurs 5/27: West Side Interfaith Pantry at Elim Lutheran Church, Petaluma
Fri 5/28: Redwood Empire Food Bank Distribution at Petaluma Fairgrounds
Thurs 6/3: Redwood Empire Food Bank Distribution at Resurrection Church, Santa Rosa
Spotlight on a very Special Starter
Paula Glogovac is a powerhouse. In addition to being a Starter, she offered to single-handedly grow from seed a whopping 300 tomato plants for getstarted’s Spring/Summer 2021 program. No small beans, given that they needed to be started, tended and maintained before the program’s official cycle began. Plus, c’mon, 300 starts?!
We think it takes a pretty special person to make a commitment like this—so let’s get to know Paula a bit, shall we?
gs: What’s your professional connection to food gardening?
paula g: I became an Alameda County Master Gardener in 2010. When I moved to Sonoma County I transferred to their program. My focus has been on edibles and my favorite thing is propagating plants.
gs: How long have you been growing food?
paula g: I’ve been growing food since I was a little kid. I helped my father in our home garden. When I got older and I had my own space I gardened again.
gs: Who originally inspired you to grow food/who “got you started?”
paula g: My father did. We had the best raspberries and fruit trees at our home. We always had great tomatoes in the summer. I was in charge of amending the soul, watering and harvesting. My parents tell me that whatever I ate that had a seed, I would go plant it out in the garden.
gs: How did you find out about getstarted and what inspired you to reach out and participate?
paula g: It was through the Master Gardeners of Sonoma County that I heard of the program. I’m such a big believer in home gardens that I wanted to help others have that same opportunity.
gs: Why did you offer to grow tomatoes, how many did you grow, what are the types you decided to grow for the program and why?
paula g: I know how much my family loves the fresh tomatoes from our garden and wanted others to have that experience. I grew 300 tomato plants. I grew 3 varieties that would require less staking and could be grown in containers. Inca Jewels is a dwarf determinate tomato, Litt’l Bites is a super dwarf cherry tomato, and Super Bush is a dwarf slicing tomato.
gs: What’s your all-time favorite tomato to grow?
paula g: That is so hard to say as it’s changing all the time and I have so many favorites for different reasons. I love Big Beef as a great slicing tomato, I love Black Krim, Persimmon and Green Zebra for a caprese salad, San Marzano, Granadero, and SunRise For Sauce, Principe Bhorghessi for sun dried and dust, Nova, Sun Gold, Five Star, Sweet 100’s, Green Bee, Pink Bee for cherry and grape tomatoes. Roma and Orange Caprese for salsa and pico de Gallo.
gs: Any tomato-growing tips?
paula g: I plant my tomatoes as deeply as possible with at least three sets of leaves at the top. In the hole or bottom of the container I put a fish head, a handful of bone meal, 2 non-coated aspirin and a handful of worm castings. Put the plant in and bury it to those top sets of leaves. Tomatoes are unique in that those cute little hairs on the stem when buried will grow roots making for a stronger plant.
gs: Anything else you’d like to add?
paula g: What a great project to support in my new community. I hope everyone enjoys their tomatoes.
getstarted would also like to give a very special thanks to Charlie Parker (Starter 2020), who helped transport the tomatoes Paula grew, and to Claudia de la Pena, Claire Jahns and Erika Sweet who went above and beyond to grow additional starts for the program.
Enjoy ongoing updates and see photos of the program on our news page.
getstarted continues to be grateful to program partner Petaluma Bounty for its leadership, network and outstanding record of promoting healthy food choices to its region’s families. A program of non-profit Petaluma People Services Center, its mission is healthy food for everyone through collaboration, education and promoting self-reliance. They seek to foster a thriving local food system while improving low income families’ access to sustainably grown, local food.
The University of California Master Gardener Program's mission is to provide unbiased, high quality, science-based information to non-commercial home gardeners, taking a proactive role in extending information for community improvement.
Thanks also to the following product donors:
future program communities
getstarted is designed to be scalable and applicable to other communities. we are currently in the process of bringing the program to other Bay Area neighborhoods. If you are an individual organizer, non-profit organization, or relevant business interested in seeing getstarted sprout up in your city, email us at .