El Cerrito Landscape and Garden
True to its name, El Cerrito features many hills scattered across its 3.6 square miles, with Albany Hill being the most prominent. Stretching from the Bay’s eastern shores up into the hills bordering Kensington, with Tilden Regional Park to the East, El Cerrito is almost directly aligned with the Golden Gate Bridge. This means the town is exposed to consistent wind and fog from the Pacific Ocean during spring and summer, leaving many yards exposed to the elements, which can hinder growth for many plants.
Under these circumstances, planting windbreaks of durable shrubs like Sea Buckthorn, Oleander or Ceanothus, a California native, will slow the winds and help to establish a protected area for less hardy species to grow. Periodic pruning of windbreak plants will be necessary to preserve the view of the sunset.
In terms of climate, El Cerrito is warmer than nearby San Francisco, but cooler than Oakland or even nearby Berkeley, due its location parallel to the Golden Gate.
The Bay creates cooler summers, which means that heat-loving plants like squashes, tomatoes, melons or eggplant are harder to grow, while greens like chard, bok choy, brassicas (kale, broccoli, cabbage) and peas do well almost all year long. Shorter season summer vegetables that are a good bet include cherry tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus, potatoes, garlic and beets.
If you’d like help creating a windbreak, establishing a vegetable garden or enhancing the built landscape of your yard, we at Planted Earth Inc. are happy to help. We’re located nearby in north Berkeley, have done several projects in El Cerrito and are familiar with the conditions.