At Lake Tahoe, “extending the season” typically applies to a certain desperation felt by skiers and snowboarders as spring makes its inevitable advance on their sports.
But extending Lake Tahoe’s less-heralded fall season will be the focus of one talk at the 6th Annual Autumn Fest at Lake Tahoe Community College this weekend.
While nighttime temperatures are starting to dip, it’s not too late to plant root crops such as radishes and carrots with the right techniques, said Mark O’Farrell, the owner of Hungry Mother Organics in Minden and one of the speakers at this year’s festival.
“That’s the exciting part,” O’Farrell said. “Fall is actually a good time to grow things — even in Tahoe — with a little protection.”
Protection, in this case, refers to a variety of techniques, O’Farrell said. Container gardening, which allows vegetable crops to be moved indoors when the weather turns unfavorable, as well as using structures like hoop houses or green houses are expected to be part of O’Farrell’s discussion.
Although people might be surprised at the possibilities of gardening at high altitude, O’Farrell acknowledged that the harsh alpine environment does present its limitations to those looking to grow their own food.
“Work with what you got I guess is the main thing,” O’Farrell said.
Sunday’s event, which celebrates the changing of the seasons and sustainable living at Lake Tahoe, is free to attend and is designed to be family friendly, said Kirsten Lindquist, an AmeriCorps member with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.
“We kind of try and have a little something for everyone,” Lindquist said.
This year’s event will include a kid zone, pony rides, sustainability demonstrations, yoga, live music, garden tours, a plant swap, bake sale and an artist’s market. The event has shown consistent growth in the past several years, with about 550 people attending in 2011, Lindquist said.
Proceeds from a silent auction at the festival will go toward maintaining the Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden at the college.