We are about to turn the corner from the summer season towards the crisp and coolness of the fall. The apples are turning red, the Kabocha squash and persimmons are turning orange and even some of the chestnuts are beginning to fall from the trees.
Usually September is the sunniest and warmest month we have here in Santa Cruz. Not so this year. Thirteen days into the month and it has been pretty cool and quite foggy. The fog usually burns off mid-morning but it has not been burning off in many parts of the county all day long. Some of our crops love foggy weather but others prefer the warm sun.
Planting a diverse crop system helps with unpredictable weather patterns by adding insurance that there are always crops coming into harvest regardless. We have been pretty lucky this year with enough water in the creeks and the wells to keep things going and with good crop quality to help our markets thrive.
Even though it’s still summer we have started cover cropping open areas early this year. It’s not that we are using our psychic abilities to predict an early winter (which we are) but more so, we just don’t have the crew to keep up with planting any more than is already possible.
There will be a big push to get winter crops in among the cover cropped areas over the next month or so even though it is still peak harvest time. It’s a balancing act; by using more frequent plantings to take into account the shortening day lengths going forward, things will mature at a more consistent level. We will be finished planting our last fall crops by the first of November. By then the task list will allow us a bit of a rest, but for now it’s still GO time.