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Del Norte Gardening: Last chance for some jobs before winter

Del Norte Gardening runs monthly. Paul Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick.

We have had beautiful weather this October, and we could have an equally beautiful November.

We are happy to have such a great ending to what was a cool, wet and late-starting summer. Cooler temperatures were common throughout the West this growing season, so a warmer and sunny fall was just what we needed.

Our gardens have held on longer than usual and we are just now saying goodbye to summer squash, cucumbers (not much of a year), and basil to name a few. However, on Wednesday we did feel our first frost of the season in Fort Dick. So, there it is, we could have a mild November, or like nearly every other year, it could get cold and wet real fast.

We have spent a lot of time this October preparing for the winter weather to come. That is where we have found our energy best spent. 

Lots of folks have been asking us what things they can plant for the winter garden now. Our response has been consistent … We have passed the prime time for planting winter vegetables. These crops need some time with fair weather to grow big, like to make a cabbage, then winter sets in and that cabbage is suspended in time, so to speak.

It might be possible to start stuff right now, but our experience usually takes us back to this fact: active plant growth is really, really slowed down by November.

We answer the second part of this question by sharing our plans. This winter with some increased greenhouse space we

plan to put in a carrot planting in mid-November, alongside of that a hardy lettuce and greens planting. So there are some options within a greenhouse for planting this time of year.

Hopefully, if you have been thinking ahead, you’ll already have some things going, which benefited from all this wonderful weather, we’ve been blessed with.

On a final note, this is the last chance to sow your cover crop and have any real chance of growing big. Remember, we are just starting to feel (and see) the frost, which is nature’ precursor to freezing!

What germinating seeds don’t like, even cold hardy plants like peas, vetch and grasses  are freezing temperatures.

So, make it happen! We have put together a slightly different mix for throwing this late in the fall, which, is now available at Crescent City Hay and Feed.

Sorry for any inconvenience due to the availability of our mix.  We have been surprised by all the interest in growing cover crops and hope to find many satisfied gardeners come spring when we’ve had a chance to see what organic matter we have been able to grow.

Also, don’t forget, the Saturday Farmers Market at the fairgrounds will continue through November, and possibly beyond, so once the outdoor market ends look for us from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Arts and Crafts building on Saturdays.

Have a question or suggestion? 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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