Well, it looks like this is another spring in Del Norte County where planting your garden is going to be a real challenge.
We create a planting schedule sometime in the winter and do our best to make it happen once the soil dries.
The thing is, sometimes the brief window of dry soil does not correlate with your ability to get out in the garden. Or, even more discouraging, your space has never dried up to begin with.
It may seem like it is just too late for the garden this year. Do not fret! And, definitely, do not give up. You have not missed your opportunity.
We may have missed our opportunity to have an early harvest from the
garden, but may I remind you, it is the late summer and fall where we
see some of our best weather.
That being said, I'll let you in on a little secret. Almost,
everything we have planted at Ocean Air Farms (to date) is doing quite
Last fall, we added lime and amended most of our fields. We grew
bigger cover crops than ever before and our soil prep wasn't too far
So, I blame weather for all of these struggling plantings. Are we
going to give up? No! Is everything going according to plan? No, not
this time. What we are going to do is keep planting and do our very best
to work around the unpredictable weather.
There have been a number of seasons similar to this year, and the
same thing has happened each time. The first planting has been terrible,
but the second planting of things has done great!
The gamble comes with the crops that are planted once a year. For
example, say you have planted all your potato seed in early May, then it
rains most of the month. You are left with rotted seed and your wasted
I know, it's frustrating! Sometimes, I get really frustrated, as my
friends, family and farm crew can attest. I feel you must have some
amount of passion for the garden to be fulfilled, if not, you give up.
If you decide to give up entirely, we will be at all the Farmer's
Markets in Crescent City and Brookings. You can see what we have been
able to grow and harvest, despite the "weird" weather.
I am happy to share every technique we have used to grow fruits and
Now, for those of you who have a strong will, my simple piece of
advice here, is to keep planting.
If you have planted out every square foot of your garden, well, you
put all your eggs in one basket and that hardly ever gives you a long
harvest season. Remember, to provide a lengthy harvest, many crops need
to be planted often.
For example, we plant broccoli, lettuce, radish and spinach every two
weeks. Squash, cucumber and greens we plant two or three times each
season. This provides us with a long harvest window and lots of food on a
more realistic schedule to eat, preserve, sell or give to the
If you have found yourself frustrated with the late rains, focus on
the second and third plantings. The Saturday Market at the fairgrounds
begins June 11 and the Wednesday Downtown Market begins June 15. We will
be there to talk gardening and food.
Del Norte Gardening runs the first Thursday of every month. Paul
Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick.
Have a question or suggestion? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and
it may be addressed in a future column.