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Updated 11:00am - Nov 26, 2014

Home arrow Opinion arrow Columns arrow Del Norte Gardening: Before the big rains, clean up your garden

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Del Norte Gardening: Before the big rains, clean up your garden

Greetings from the farm!  As the holiday season arrives, and most certainly the “wet and cold” season, we are scrambling to put things to rest.

Thankfully, a year like this provides us with a November that is suitable for cleaning up the gardens, ripping out exhausted plantings, planting cover crops and even planting garlic and strawberries.

It looks like some solid stretches of rain are not far off, so, if you haven’t already put things to rest, we advise you do so quickly. One of our most helpful tasks of the late fall is combing the property of all items that are likely to blow all over the place in a storm. The alternative can really be a mess, and we’ve found ourselves all kinds of reluctant to be tidying in the wind and rain.

So take advantage of what dry weather we’ve had and make a push to clean up your space. You won’t regret it in December.

In the garden, there is still plenty of time to plant garlic and strawberries, and this is the time of year we plant those crops. Rain and soil moisture are the biggest factors in planting right now, so if there’s a window, you might as well take it.

With garlic, a successful planting could be made as late as January, but we strive to have those cloves in the ground in October. We are always looking for a harvest that aligns with an opportunity to sell. Thankfully, this is not a concern to the home gardener, providing more flexibility when planting.

We typically plant strawberries in October or November, but many growers plant in the spring, too. Fall plantings have just been easier for us to find dry soil, which can be very risky in the spring.

Fall-transplanted strawberry plants will bear fruit the following summer, and we like that result.  

If you’ve found some cover crop seed and thrown it, you’re doing good. We had a difficult time finding all the seed we wanted to plant and did not put together mixes for sale at Crescent City Hay and Feed. We apologize for the inconvenience.

A cover crop could still be sown, but with limited results the farther from October we get. If you have a greenhouse, this is an exciting time to plant things in anticipation of a spring harvest, which is the hardest season to be harvesting garden vegetables. We just space out our plantings at longer intervals to adjust to much slower growing.

As the farmers market season comes to a close, with only one weekday market running on Wednesdays at the Chetco Grange in Brookings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., we are turning to a different strategy to sell.

We’ll be having a Winter Farm Stand at our farm in Fort Dick one weekend each month. Our first installment happens to be today (10 a.m.–5 p.m.) and Sunday (noon–5 p.m.).  Come on out (there’s a sign pointing to the farm on Morehead Road.)

We still have lots of fresh vegetables, some wonderful local gift ideas, and it’s a great opportunity to come out and see the farm and some of the techniques we use to grow food. Like always, there will be goats, cows and pigs for young (and old) to visit with.

This also marks the beginning of the CSA and Market membership registration season. Sign up early to guarantee a spot in either program.  Or, just come out for a visit and a chance to talk about growing food or the growing movement to reconnect with our food.

Have a great holiday season and remember to be thankful!

Del Norte Gardening runs monthly. Paul Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick. Have a question or suggestion? Email it to ocean 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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