FARM TO TABLE: The time is now for planning and planting fall and winter gardens | TheUnion.com
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FARM TO TABLE: The time is now for planning and planting fall and winter gardens

Laura Petersen
Special to The Union
Randi Pratini of Fresh Starts Organic Farm grows a diverse variety of veggie and herb starts for backyard gardeners who care about buying locally grown, certified organic plants.
Photo submitted by Laura Petersen

It’s odd to be thinking of fall and winter when it is so hot out, but now is the time to prepare for cool season gardens.

“Most people think about summer gardens and don’t think about the other seasons. We have a lot of things that will overwinter in Nevada County, said Randi Pratini of Fresh Starts Organic Farm.

Leeks, greens, Dino kale, parsley, different lettuce varieties like Mayan Jaguar Romaine are really hardy in the cool months. Romanesco Broccoli is ready to harvest in January and February and Chard will often overwinter.

“It is time to prep your beds for fall into winter plantings — for vegetables, herbs and perennials alike. If you are looking forward to harvesting fall crops such as cauliflower and broccoli, the window is now,” said Pratini.

Get them in soon — now through mid-September at the latest, said Pratini, as plants need to get established before the daylight hours wane.

Overwintering crops like sprouting broccoli, leeks and onions will benefit from getting established, even though there is a little more “wiggle room” with getting these in the ground.

Fresh Starts Organic Farm was started in 2012 and Pratini has been growing for BriarPatch Food Co-op since the store was located on Joerschke Drive where she worked as a volunteer gardener. Up to 80% of her business is from BriarPatch customers who have come to expect her deliveries once a week February through October. She also sells direct to customers at the Nevada City Farmers Market and by appointment at her small home-based nursery in Nevada City.

On a small space less than an eighth of an acre, Pratini grows a diverse variety of veggie and herb starts for backyard gardeners who care about buying locally grown, certified organic plants.

“I have a lot of stock on the property. I like unusual varieties of edibles and I like to do a lot of perennials,” said Pratini. Her biggest sellers are zinnias and basil.

A self-taught gardener, Pratini developed her skill set through hands on learning and observation.

“I watch, I read, I learn, I ask questions. I’m not shy about getting information from people,” she said.

Look for Fresh Starts Organic Farm fall and winter starts at BriarPatch every week. Next month, find her at the Nevada City Farmers Market from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 7 and 14 where she will be offering many fall and winter starts, perennials and gallon sized Mission Figs. Bring cash and boxes or trays to carry plants home.

To make an appointment at her home-based nursery, contact by email freshstartsorganicfarm@gmail.com or phone at 530-478-0800. Visit http://www.briarpatch.coop to learn more.

Laura Petersen is a communications specialist for BriarPatch Food Co-op.


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