- Author: Mimi M Enright
Air quality in Sonoma County has been significantly impacted by the fires that spread through the region. The full scope of the air contamination is still unknown, but likely includes high concentrations of likely carcinogens including heavy metals, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
There is limited research on the impact of smoke from a wildfire in a wildland urban interface on produce safety. UCCE Sonoma is partnering with Vanessa Raditz, who was working with community organizations on emergency food relief during the crisis, to develop a Citizen Science project to assess the impact of the air pollution from the wildfire on produce. During the crisis Vanessa, who has a Master's degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, began quickly developing a partnership with members of the community and UCCE Sonoma to gather samples and seek funding for testing and education on this topic.
Master Gardeners and other concerned community members were trained to collect samples from local farms and gardens of washed and unwashed produce, each in triplicate, to determine if contaminants can be easily washed off produce, or whether it has been taken up in plant tissue. Volunteers focused on kale, collards, chard, and lettuce, as these leaves are directly exposed to air pollution. Vanessa scheduled volunteer training at Bayer Farm, Harvest for the Hungry and Petaluma Bounty, and samples were taken from 10/19-22. Time was of the essence to gather samples which are all being frozen. Now we turn to find partners to find funding for the testing and develop an educational outreach program when results are received.
Visit Disaster Recovery to learn more.
- Author: Karen Giovannini
Visit 4-Hers & Master Gardeners at the Fair
July 22-August 7, closed Mondays
"Lights, Camera, Fair!"
Fair time is also a great time to see 4-Hers in action! Visit the Livestock area and watch the kids show chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, swine, dairy cattle and beef cattle. Showing livestock at the fair requires months of preparation for the market animals (sold at the auction) and years of work for the breeding projects (ongoing dairy and livestock projects).
Check the Livestock schedule and stop by to see the kids show while you are at the fair (look for Junior, Jr or Market on the schedule). The Large Animal Round Robin class on Thursday, August 4 starting at 5pm is where you can see the best junior livestock show persons take their turn at showing all of the different large species: goats, sheep, swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle and horses. The winner is crowned top junior livestock show person of the fair. Small Animal Round Robin is Wednesday, August 3 at 3pm, where best junior show persons in rabbits, cavies, poultry, pygmy goats and dogs compete.
One way to support 4-Hers is to contribute to the purchase price of or to purchase a market animal. 4-Hers use the auction proceeds to pay back loans taken out to fund the project (bank of mom and dad or actual loan from Community First or Sonoma County Grange Credit Union). Any remaining funds are used to purchase next year's market animals, to support their breeding project and/or saved for college.
Support future agriculture leaders at the Junior Livestock Auction:
- July 24, 9am – Lambs, Rabbits & Goats - also Farmers Day!
- July 29, 9am – Hogs & Poultry
- July 30, 6pm – Beef
While at the fair, visit the Garrett and E.C. Kraft buildings to view the junior exhibits and the Hall of Flowers Annex to enjoy the junior gardens.
Check out the Sonoma County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden at Sonoma County Fair outdoor patio at Hall of Flowers. To go along with the fair theme, the Master Gardener's named their garden “Good, Bad and Beautiful” based on the Spaghetti westerns. It will showcase good practices, bad practices and how a garden can be beautiful and sustainable. Stop by to check it out and chat with the Master Gardeners docents who are available to answer your questions 11am-6pm./table>
- Author: Mimi M Enright
This is a new model for how the Master Gardeners engage as we hope to share knowledge mutually and learn from each other. In fact during the first work day that we participated in, the Master Gardeners helped pull dandelion weeds and learned that they can be used for medicinal purposes!
Pictured here, at Bayer Farm on Feb. 28, is Master Gardener, Michael Knappman (far right) with Sonoma County LandPath's 'In Our Own Backyard' program counselor, Nick Whitaker along with 4th graders from a nearby school.
- Author: Mimi Enright
They were there to accept the first place award in the 'Community Service' category of the IMG's Search for Excellence for the Garden Sense program. They were proud to represent the hard work & commitment of all of the Garden Sense consultants who make the water conservation program such a huge success. There were over 900 Master Gardeners in attendance at the conference from the United States, Canada and South Korea.
- Author: Mimi Enright
This video demonstrates how home and community gardeners can grow a thriving vegetable garden with less water. In addition, this video is complemented by a planting scheme and a drip system instruction and shopping list that reflects the 4x8-foot demonstration vegetable bed in the video.
For people wondering if they can have a food garden with limited available water, the Food Gardening Specialists (FGS) of the UCCE Sonoma Master Gardeners believe that the answer is, “Yes!” All you need to do is to scale planting to your family's likes and needs and to apply water-wise strategies to your vegetable garden. The video, along with helpful water-wise publications, is available for viewing on the SCMG website: Food Gardening with Less Water.
You CAN have a bountiful, water-wise vegetable garden in a drought!/span>