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Del Norte Gardening: A time to reap and sow

Even though summer crops produce the most fruit in August, it’s not to early to think about your winter garden. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Even though summer crops produce the most fruit in August, it’s not to early to think about your winter garden. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Summer’s final chapter heralds the beginning of a new growing season 

As we pass through August and the nights get a little cooler, we are reminded of the coming fall. 

Yet that change can be so hard to keep in mind, as a garden will typically produce the most bounty within the month of August. This time each year at Ocean Air Farms, we find ourselves scrambling just to keep up with the harvesting. In the home garden, it is much of the same rush, except preserving that bounty also takes substantial time and energy. It’s this time of year, however, that can be looked at like a great big fork in the road.   

You can either freeze, dry, and/or can it up and pack away the produce to outlive that summer garden. Or you can look at this as the beginning of another growing season entirely, which is exactly what we do! 

When the hardiest of vegetables are planted within August and early September they have just enough favorable weather and just enough day length to establish themselves before growth seriously takes a dive (November). We sow or transplant our last plantings of root crops and leafy greens, along with broccoli, cabbage and lettuces at this time to ensure a long harvest window throughout the fall and winter. (Note:  all of these crops will perform well without a greenhouse and just grown outside in rows or raised beds, assuming some basic care is taken for soil and fertility.)

This is also the time of year when the first plantings are really starting to suffer and, without a doubt, are either finished or not producing anywhere near their potential. The advice we’ll offer is, “Move on.” Take the plants out that are old and suffering from disease and insect pressure. It’s quite easy to see that both diseases — molds and fungi — and insects will just travel from one side to the other, often very quickly. Removing the habitat for those problems is the easiest, cheapest and an organic step that one can take in growing some healthy and nourishing food. 

Gardening, and even more so, raising livestock, is such a constant reminder of the life cycle of living things. It’s a humbling reminder that nothing is permanent on Earth. We try to soak up the sun while we’ve got it and savor those mornings when a jacket is not necessary. Life is an incredible gift, and we’re lucky to just be alive.

Each column we try to make a quick shout-out to the local food scene. The area farmers markets are really coming together as more producers show up with a variety of goods, many coming from an inland climate that we just can’t quite replicate. If it’s been a few weeks, make sure you check back in with our community farmers markets; the selections are growing each week as new crops become available.

Hopefully many of our readers made it out the Klamath Salmon Festival, which was another great year for the event, highlighting local food and culture. There is much to be proud of and to stand up for within Del Norte County.

We at Ocean Air Farms take an opportunity each year to give thanks to our community and supporters when we host our annual farm shindig. This year on Sunday, Sept. 14, from noon to 4 p.m., we will be having a farm open house, free farm lunch, tours, hayrides and more. Super fun for kids and the whole family. Look for the signs on Morehead Road in Fort Dick. We hope to see lots of folks this year out on the farm! 

Have a question or suggestion for Paul and Julie Jo? Email it to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and it may be addressed in a future column.

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