Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fall & Winter Gardening, Zines! Small Farm School & Seed Petition

Carrisa, Naomi and zee veggies
What we are doing in our home gardens + local happenings, by Carissa, Naomi and Chris: 

It is August and we are in prime season for planting with Fall and Winter deliciousness in mind. ‘Fall and Winter’, you say? Nay, it’s 90 degrees! DENY their existence! They are nothing to me! I am the heat. I am a lizard warming on a rock sucking up as much sun and warmth as I can hold...for those months are dreary at best and I REFUSE to acknowledge their existence in the same plane of time and space as I. The Lizard. The sun Worshipper. 
Carissa in her garden  ....ahhh

Often when people speak of Fall and Winter gardening we shiver with the memory that Fall and Winter even exist and stare at our juicy, ripening tomatoes to reassure ourselves that the heat we feel is not a full spectrum light bulb. Helpful, but a substitute at best. However - The thing is, Fall and Winter Gardening is AWESOME. In fact it is on par with being just as awesome as summer, with some arguing MORE awesome. Are you screaming liar? Would you never trade eggplant for sugary carrots after a frost? Or Basil for fresh greens harvested out of a layer of snow? Well lucky for you, you don’t have to choose, you can have both! The biggest perk of the Pacific Northwest Maritime climate is that we have Amazing growing abilities ALL year long! Many of us don’t take advantage of this and we ourselves are in our early years of experiments but WOW. Let me tell you its worth it. Here’s what we are doing in our own gardens right now:
we vant your dirt!

Look for veggie varieties that say ‘Winter’ or ‘Fall’ on the package when possible. Some are better suited for chilly weather.

For early August we are seeding:
Arugula, Asian Veggies (Pac and Bok Choi, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Braising Mix), Chicory!, Radicchio, Cilantro, Endive, Escarole, Kale,  Collards, Lettuce, Mesclun Mixes, Rutabagas, Swiss Chard, Turnip, Carrots, Beets, Winter Spinach and more

Wild Fermentation

  *Tip for germination: August is hot, hot, hot. Using mulch for your seeds such as coco / coir fiber and/or straw will help them stay cool and more evenly moist. Seeds in the ground, mulch on top, daily morning watering and your good to go!

and transplanting starts:
Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Leeks, Kale, Parsley, Swiss Chard, Collards, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Scallions, Herbs

Coming up in September, October & November:
Garlic, Cover Crops, Flower Bulbs, Broad Culinary Fava Beans, Herbs, Perennial Flowers, Fruit shrubs and trees & Planting More Veggies. 

Seed Saving and more Preserving by Freezing, Drying, Canning and Fermenting… check out all three Sandor Katz books we have, Wild Fermentation in book and DIY Zine, plus The Art of Fermentation and Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton.
Love this seed zine!
Sarah & Andrew of Adaptive and Seed Amb

Want to know more? 

Here is a favorite PNW Fall/Winter Gardening Guide online.  It is written by The Seed Ambassadors Project, a collection of impressive people including Andrew Still and Sarah Kleeger of Adaptive Seeds in Sweet Home, Oregon.  They Rock! We also carry their Seed Saving Zine.  And the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide (that awesome garden guide we all read again every year) has great month by month planting suggestions for winter gardening, along with Seattle Tilth's new book, Your Farm in the City - both available in our shop to purchase or peruse for ideas.
more in depth PNW guide
over 450 copies sold here..!

For gardening guides always remember to push the limits and see what works in YOUR garden. If something is suggested for July and it's already August, try it anyways. Winter Gardening is weather dependent, the timing can vary and of course we all have our own little micro-climates and soil conditions.  Other factors are whether you use season extension techniques like floating row cover, aka Agribon / Reemay or greenhouse plastic (we carry both by the roll and by the foot), cloches, hoop / tunnel / greenhouses. Too many factors to limit yourself to one timeline of advice. Along with veggies also think about flowers and herbs - what goes to seed naturally in fall? and let it or plants those seeds in fall and winter for well rooted spring surprises.  Viva la experiments!

And as always Write It Down! Personal garden journals are worth a thousand guides written by other people in other places. Knowing what you planted, when and which varieties, what you added for fertility, will be invaluable when you set out to do it again next year. Embrace your inner growing nerd, hee hee... :)

In local news and happenings:
Home Sweet Home Grown
1) save organic vegetable and clover seed crops!!  the Oregon Department of Agriculture just opened up 1.7 million acres of the Willamette Valley's protected area to canola production, including GMO, genetically engineered/modified seed, without public notice or comment.  Canola easily crosses with other brassicas, like cabbage, kale, mustards and more and thus is an intense concern for both the organic and conventional seed-producing farms and contaminates other seed crops like clover.  Often used for oil – industrial, bio-fuel and food/feed grade.  
Small Farm School

Friends of Family Farmers were the first to alert us about this and have started a Petition, please sign and take action. ODA does many great things, too, please let them know your thoughts!  More information and action steps are at the FoFF website.  Also check out this article from Aug. 9th in the Captial Press.

2) Sharpening and maintaining hand tools? Plant problem diagnosis? Fruit tree care?  OH MY. On September 8th, OSU is sponsoring a Small Farm School Program with workshops and we will be there! A place for small-scale growers to meet and share skills with lots of helpful workshops throughout the day. Registration deadline is August 17th so be quick about it! Checkkkkk itttttt ouuuuuuuuut:

To really make the most of your weekend, head to Boondockers farm after the Small Farm School for a rollicking good time. Potluck, Party and Live Music, plus camping if you want.  RSVP for details
Organic Certifiers visit from Hong Kong

3) In the shop, we now have Microcosm! Hoo-ha! a Portland-grown publishing and distribution company of book and zines to change the world. They truly believe in making knowledge accessible to all and have been at it for over a decade. Read more about them and browse their goods in our shop! D.I.Y. books and zines, patches, stickers and notebooks! We have plans for some of our own in the works, too...  Thanks Joe!

4) Hong Kong Connections and Community - thanks to Lindsey at 

Hong Kong visit
the Oregon Dept of Ag, Organic Certification Program for connecting us with a group of government officers, organic certifiers, scientists and organic farmers from Hong Kong on a tour of organics in our state. Hong Kong is promoting organic farming and organic eating, and has two organic certifying agencies. We were happy to welcome them to our store and chat a bit about how organics work here and learn about their operations. 

Seed Ambassadors summer peas
Most farms in Hong Kong are small scale vegetable operations.  In talking and looking at HKORCC website, the organic certifier farm listings show that half of the farms certified are under 1 acre and often in farmers' yards, as they have a large population on a small space of land. We shared adventures of small scale urban farming and the ups and downs of weather systems. We loved talking with them and welcome them back anytime. Yay!

Summer decadence = stay hot, hydrated and sassy in beauty of Oregon in August.  Eat your jammin’ veggies and delicious fruit and we’ll see you soon  : )