A UC Santa Barbara study concluded that planting a home garden can cut carbon emissions to the atmosphere. However, if gardening isn't done right, it could actually contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, reported Nathanael Johnson on Grist.org.
The article looked at five factors that impacted greenhouse gas emissions in home gardens:
- Reduction of lawn area due to replacement by the garden
- Reduction of vegetables purchased from the grocery store
- Reduction in the amount of greywater sent to treatment facilities due to diversion to irrigate the garden
- Reduction in amount of household organic waste exported to treatment facilities due to home composting
- Organic household waste is composted for use in the garden
The abstract of the research article, written by David Cleveland, sustainable food systems professor in the Department of Geography, said:
"We found that (gardens) could reduce emissions by over 2 kg CO2e kg−1 vegetable, but that results were sensitive to the range of values for the key variables of yield and alternative methods for processing household organic waste."
In his Grist story, Johnson provided key points from the research that can help ensure the home garden is climate smart:
- The main reduction from gardening comes from diverting food waste from the landfill, where it rots and emits methane and nitrous oxide. Food waste must be properly composted to prevent the emissions.
- Planting a garden then forgetting about it ends up emitting more greenhouse gases than if you never started.
The article suggests that Californians contact their local UC Master Gardener program for assistance in properly managing a home vegetable garden. Johnson spoke to Kerrie Reid, the UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County.
"Reid doesn't abandon her plants midway through summer, and she doesn't over-plant and then end up throwing out dozens of thigh-thick zucchinis," Johnson wrote. "Sure, when the cucumbers peak, there are more than she and her husband can eat, she confesses, but they share with their neighbors. The neighbors also come over to harvest herbs from the sidewalk."
The article said readers can find their own version of Reid by looking up a local UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program.
"In Southern California, we can indeed turn gardens into vitamin patches," said Kari Walker, a UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteer in LA County. "It is not hard and you don't need a lot of space for a garden."
A registered dietician quoted in the story says fruit and vegetables' vitamin levels will be at their highest when eaten raw immediately after harvest.
"Nothing beats fruits and vegetables for digestion, sources of fiber and good nutrition," she said. "Mom is always right."
For a sidebar, Sproul turned to the coordinator of the UCCE Master Gardener Program in Los Angeles County, Yvonne Savio.
Savio suggested Southern California residents plant lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplants and other heat-tolerant and bolt-resistant lettuces, melons, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, summer and winter squash, and tomatoes before the end of June.
Add more vitamins to the garden with herbs and spices. Savio suggested lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage and thyme in sunny, dry areas. Basil, chives, coriander and parsley prefer richer soil with more frequent watering.
More details about planting, irrigating, feeding and harvesting a home garden in Southern California are on the LA County Master Gardeners website.
UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners played a key role in establishing a vibrant garden behind a church in Livermore that has produced 8,000 pounds of vegetables for the church's food kitchen, reported two MGs in a column published in the San Jose Mercury News.
What was unused vacant land only three years ago has spurred the creation of an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Fertile GroundWorks. Fertile GroundWorks has pilot projects under way to help organizations establish and operate new community gardens. The Alameda County Master Gardeners are playing an expanded educational role, the article said.
- Author: Brenda Dawson
Trevor Suslow, UC Cooperative Extension food safety specialist at Davis, was told by the farm owner that they believed the postharvest system used in conjunction with the outbreak was an improvement over their previous methods — though Suslow disagrees. He acknowledges, however, that the FDA does not make a definitive statement in its growing guidelines on the safest method of cleaning, cooling or packing cantaloupe.
Agricultural program helps keep youth out of gangs
An Associated Press article by Gosia Wozniacka profiles volunteer work by Manuel Jimenez, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Tulare County. The article was published by news outlets such as the Fresno Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC News, Fox News, CBS News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and others.
He and wife Olga teach life skills and farming techniques to youth on a 14-acre garden in Woodlake, Calif.
"We want to grow kids in our gardens, because we've seen what violence, drugs and alcohol can do," Jimenez told the reporter.
The article also includes comments from youth volunteers in the program, past and present.
"Everything Manuel did was interesting to me," said Walter Martinez, who is now a UC Cooperative Extension field assistant and also served as a volunteer at the garden through middle and high school.
Called "The Growing Experience," the garden supports a Community Supported Agriculture program, which supplies weekly boxes of fresh produce to families who pay a subscription fee.
“The box of food contains seasonal produce,” said garden coordinator Jimmy Ng. “Right now, we have a lot of collard greens, summer and winter squash, apples, herbs, basil, beets, turnips and we also have eggs.”
The Growing Experience also sells food to gourmet restaurants.
Deadly oak scourge threatens Burlingame Hills trees
Michele Ellson, San Francisco Examiner
Burlingame Hills homeowner Steve Epstein is on a quest to eradicate the Sudden Oak Death in this densely forested canyon enclave of 426 homes west of Hillsborough.