November 8, 2016

The hills are turning green already from all the rain we’ve had. We have registered over 11 inches of rain in October alone at both our Ocean St. Extension and Rancho del Oso farms, so we are very happy! On top of that, the weather is like June in November so things are growing again, including all the cover crops we sowed before the rains came. The ground has not cooled off too much so there’s even a lot of volunteer beans and squash starting to sprout here and there.
 
As we prepare for, uh, winter it’s time to start pruning trees. We start with the citrus and avocado trees that we prune for shape, sunlight and deadwood. Next we do the harder pruning of the deciduous trees. It is also a good time to do early winter fertilizing so the rains can soak the fertilizer in around the root zones of the trees. 
 
At some point, we are hoping to get some cold weather which has been lacking the last few winters. Some fruit trees need the chill in order to set fruit, namely peaches and apricots, which is why we don’t get very strong and predictable crops on those two fruit. 
 
As far as row crops go, we are planning to keep lettuce, kale, chard, parsley, beets, cabbage and cilantro going all winter long if conditions permit. It’s always a crap shoot through the months of January and February, depending on temperatures and rainfall. This year we planted and harvested a good amount of winter squash to eat and sell through out the winter months.
 
It’s the time of year to look through seed catalogues and to start thinking about next years’ crop plan. We are thinking of adding some new dahlia varieties and colors and boy are the pictures fun to look at! It’s hard to pick ones out when there are hundreds and hundreds of color combinations. We will do the dirty work of looking at beautiful flowers though and picking out some of the most striking ones!