Daisies, Tomatoes and Parsnips, Oh My!

Daisies, Tomatoes and Parsnips, Oh My! The relationship between what you grow and the air you breathe Researchers at the University of Virginia found that air pollution is destroying flower fragrance, making it harder for bees to find flowers when foraging. This proves that the relationship between the air we breathe and what we grow can be a crucial factor on whether your garden will have the best petunias on the block or whether they fall flat. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and the air districts of the region want to provide tips on how you can make the most out of your garden. This can be done while reducing pollutants in the air you breathe and bringing to your attention avoidable health risks when outside tending to your plants. Getting The Most Out of Your Garden You can help Spare The Air by practicing simple tips while gardening or taking care of your lawn. In order to breathe easier, consider the following: • Try using air friendly pesticides or biopesticides as an alternative. Certain types of vegetables and plants, such as spinach and certain varieties of bell peppers, require heavy pesticide use to cultivate crops. When you use pesticides, the residue gives off small particles that are dispersed into the air. These particles get into our lungs and create many health risks. […]

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Free kitchen composting bins at seminar Saturday

Bill Maynard, Director of Community Gardens for the City of Sacramento, will lead two composting seminars for City of Sacramento residents Saturday morning (8:15 and 9:15) at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Garden at 3663 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Attendees will learn how composting works, what materials should and should not be composted, how to maintain the compost pile, and how to obtain the right balance of food, air, and moisture. In addition to composting training, Maynard will include a session on planting cover crops, which help revitalize the soil. “Discount coupons for composters from Home Depot and free post waste kitchen countertop bins to carry your waste to the compost pile will be available to residents,” said Maynard. Vermaculture fans will enjoy the worm farming presentation by Sacramento area company, Worm Fancy. Kathleen Waldo and Michelle Himed will teach the basics of vermicomposting and offering discounts on worm bins to seminar participants. “Now is the time to start a vermicomposting bin (worm bin) so gardeners have lots of worm castings for their garden come next spring,” said Waldo. This event is sponsored by the City of Sacramento Department of Utilities and the Department of Parks and Recreation Community Garden Program.  

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SacPress on Insight: Arena financing, gelato and chickens!

On Tuesday’s regular visit with Jeffrey Callison on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight,” we discussed this week’s unveiling of the arena financing deal, the long-awaited passage of the backyard chicken ordinance and the opening of a new gelato shop in Midtown. The highly anticipated report by Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Think Big Sacramento committee should give Sacramentans a better idea of possibilities for financing the entertainment and sports complex the mayor has been pursuing for more than a year. It will be unveiled at a luncheon at the Sacramento Press Club on Thursday, and we will be there. Meanwhile, here’s our most recent story on the subject.  On a much less grand scale, after two years of discussion, the City Council finally got around to passing the so-called “chicken ordinance,” which will take effect Nov. 1 and will allow people within the city limits to raise as many as three hens (but not roosters) in their backyards. We also discussed Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, which was scheduled to be the last in the long, drawn-out redistricting process, with passions still running high concerning the move by Councilmembers Steve Cohn and Kevin McCarty to remove the UC Davis Medical Center from its traditional place in District 5 into McCarty’s District 6, a proposal that has drawn an ongoing public outcry.  Still being largely ignored is the move […]

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Sacramento’s budding GRAS

The Green Restaurant Alliance of Sacramento has a hand in 10 local restaurants and hopes to reach more with its mission of establishing a sustainable restaurant industry. GRAS is "dedicated to making Sacramento a leading sustainable food community and a leader in the green-restaurant industry," according to its website. The year-old organization helps restaurants reduce waste by composting food scraps and biodegradable material. "This is not a brilliant idea, it’s being done worldwide," said GRAS co-founder David S. Baker. "Why can’t it happen in our town?" The 10 members of GRAS are Hot Italian, L Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen, Mulvaney’s B & L, One Speed, Selland’s, Grange, Ella, Tuli, The Waterboy and The Kitchen. GRAS was formed by Baker and Jason May. The two, along with a handful of volunteers, work to strengthen and standardize GRAS’ programs. "After reading about (the composting) they do in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, I asked why can’t we do that?" Baker said. "There’s many reasons to think that Sacramento can be at the forefront of the green-restaurant industry or sustainable-food community." GRAS has focused on composting. Hot Italian had a composting receptacle called the Earth Tub, which it offered to GRAS. "Before GRAS came along, we decided we were going to use our kitchen scraps, but it would’ve taken a long time to fill up," said Andrea […]

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Composting Resources

Backyard composting is easier than you might think. Compost acts as a multivitamin for your garden, reacting with soil to release plant nutrients. You cut down on the amount of trash you bag and throw away, and your yard waste is recycled instead of picked up by a stranger for transporting, processing and dumping. Interest in composting has ballooned in the last few years, as more and more online and community resources are made available for people interested in cutting costs and environmental footprints. The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities hosts Free Backyard Composting Seminars. The next one is March 13 at the Southside Community Garden. In the meantime, here is an assemblage of resources for readers interested in getting started on a batch of winter compost to maximize spring gardening: The Department of Utilities offers a free, very readable composting guide on its website. A PDF link provides a 20-page booklet covering composting basics, what to compost, techniques, troubleshooting, vermicomposting (composting with worms) resources and more. Study up! Next step, acquire a compost bin. Compost bins can be purchased at a number of places; check Capital Nursery Company or Target. Retail bins usually range from $100 to $150, but the utilities department offers city residents a discount. Complete an online composting quiz and submit it to Sacramento’s Solid Waste Services with proof of […]

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Sacramento Prepares for Urban Ag Day

Backyard chickens. Frontyard gardens. Crop swaps. Fruit gleaning. The Good Food Movement, or movement towards a sustainable food and food production, is growing in Sacramento. And residents are seizing on the City’s soils and politics to make Sacramento a living laboratory for a new wave of urban agriculture. "Urban agriculture is providing the forum for a larger social discussion," said Jennifer Lee of EAT Sacramento in an email. "Sacramentans increasingly understand that how we eat and how we grow has profound implications for our health, our communities and our environment." On July 11th, these efforts will culminate in Urban Ag Day.  Participants will have an opportunity to ride their bike around town and visit examples of Sacramento’s urban agriculture through the "What’s Growing On?" bike tour, watch films like FRESH, and participate in workshops on composting and gardening. These tour stops and events will take place largely in Midtown and Oak Park, some of the greatest hotspots of Sacramento’s Urban Ag movement. Later that evening, at the Common Table celebration, participants will have an opportunity to eat a multi-course local and organic meal in the Fremont Community Garden, and listen to movement speakers, including Brahm Ahmadi of the People’s Grocery. According to event organizers, tickets are limited and selling quickly. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Sacramento Hunger Coalition and Sacramento Area Community Garden Coalition. […]

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