By Rae Matthews
The title says it all – “July & Winter” – the two seasons of Tahoe. Ok, so that’s not entirely true. We also have Cone Season and Fire Season. But seriously, keeping a garden at 6,200 ft is not easy. This book is here to answer all of those climate and elevation specific questions that inevitably come up when growing your own food – something those at sea level take for granted.
In his thorough, yet accessible book, Gary Romano shares his in-depth knowledge of cultivating the Sierra. You’ll find useful tables, step-by-step instructions, and specific advice for your elevation level. All of which is sprinkled with a sense of humor that we at Elevation Eats can relate to: “Those of you in bear-country have your work cut out for you in trying to control bear problems…” No doubt. “Bears are discouraged by the smell of human urine. I have a couple of organic friends that go around peeing on their fence line…they swear it works! Well, get a keg of beer and have a party and everyone take a section of fence.” Yep. Good book.
In addition to colorful approaches to pest control, he also addresses everything from soil maintenance to water management to cover crops. He is an avid supporter of organic growing and working with native resources and plants, “Native berries don’t produce as much as domestic varieties but they are more adaptive, the fruit is smaller, and they have unique tastes and more nutrition than commercial berries.”
Gary Romano is the owner and operator of Sierra Valley Farms, a 65-acre organic farm in, you guessed it, Sierra Valley, about 45 miles north of Truckee. He’s been at it for over 20 years, plus an additional 10 years running a native plant nursery. July & Winter gathers together his extensive experience into one concise, user-friendly package.
We’re glad someone’s managed to figure it out!