Those naughty raccoons!

The raccoons have been digging up a storm. You can see that they dug all around a spot where I had put compost. This area is the southernmost end of the south garden beds.

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We won’t be getting any rain until December 21st, according to the forecast. I’m trying to use my limited garden time to put compost out on the areas in the beds where the animals have been digging, but for areas like the paths at the end of the rows, I NEED WOOD CHIPS. I tried to buy wood chips from a guy, but he said they were from trees that had dropped their leaves due to the heat from the #SantaRosaFirestorm – too close for my comfort. I need them to be clean and not from so close to the fires. So of course every time I go anywhere, I see tree service trucks coming from areas where there were fires. I’ve also been digging out some of the curly dock that’s all over the place, while my soil’s soft and mostly not too wet.

This reminds me, I see debris removal trucks every time I leave the house, too. Well, that kind of truck is actually all over town all the time, what with wood chips, gravel, and compost being driven around in similar vehicles. I really hope that the drivers have the debris closed up tight!

Sign on a Disaster Debris hauling truck
Sign on a debris hauling truck that was getting off the freeway about 4 exits before Petaluma. I guess it must have been taking side streets to the dump.

Here’s an article about the debris causing a burden on our local landfill

My  gym is closed this weekend and I’d love to go to outdoor water aerobics, but the pool is located too close for my comfort to Coffey Park. 😦 When I went to an event on the other end of that neighborhood 2 weeks ago, I could smell and taste the ash in the air.  I don’t want to mess with that.

 

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Please donate to help test our greens!

This #GivingTuesday, help us get our community samples into the lab!

Please donate to UCCE Sonoma‘s “Citizen Science Projects” fund and write “Produce Safety” in the comments (see the dropdown).

Here’s that link again: https://donate.ucanr.edu/pages/uccesonoma

As the group says, “We collected hundreds of produce samples from across Sonoma County while fires were still blazing.

Once we get results from the lab, we’ll be able to give guidance to farmers and gardeners across the state on the impact of wildfires and air pollution on the food safety of produce.

*** This is community-initiated, community-driven science, with the support of your local UCCE Sonoma. It wouldn’t happen without you! ***

#SonomaStrong #CitizenScience #LocalFood

HOW TO SUPPORT

Today is the LAUNCH of our crowd-sourcing campaign! We need at least $500 in community donations to meet our matching grant funding from The Pollination Project, which combined will get us half-way to our $2000 goal to get all samples from one site into a lab for analysis!

Please donate to UCCE Sonoma‘s “Citizen Science Projects” fund and write “Produce Safety” in the comments.

Link: http://bit.ly/producesafetydonate

SOCIAL MEDIA

Please like our Facebook Page “Produce Safety After Urban Wildfire: Citizen Science Initiative” and share our #GivingTuesday posts!

Link: https://www.facebook.com/Producesafetyafterurbanwildfire/  ”

 

Reportback of sorts about the produce testing project

Just what is the effect of ash from the #NorthBayFires landing on plants in our gardens? Is the food we’ve grown safe to eat?

Today I went to an event about the “Citizen Science” produce sampling project. Here’s a link to an original invitation for sites to get involved. It was really good but I can’t type up all my notes. Basically, very little is known about the effects of fires on garden/farm produce. A graduate student was “voluntold” by a produce project founder to look into air quality issues from the time of the fires so that any toxins in samples could be compared to the air quality during that time. The samples are from a nice smattering of places around Sonoma County (and, I’m sure, beyond). There is a basic list of things that are common chemicals in houses, furniture, clothes, etc, and there is a list of things they’ll test for. I seem to remember lead, PAH’s, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and cobalt. PS, more research is needed about the effects of flame retardants and the Phos-Chek that was applied.

There is at least one group doing bioremediation by putting (mushroom) inoculated straw wattles in/around streams. There will also be a project that will do soil sampling (I think they said it will be linked to the results of the produce test? or at sites that were sampled?). It sounds like sites that had more than one type of greens, ie lettuce and kale, will be prioritized. Someone from UC Davis has already collected ash from impacted sites to examine with mass spectrometry. “Science is amazing!” as the kids from the Pokemon cartoon TV show said.

I still need wood chips. Now I’m nervous about sources (were the trees from burned areas? was phos-chek dropped on them? etc) and about my compost in the future- are people bringing fire-damaged plant materials to the big composting sites? Should that stuff go to a toxic waste disposal site? It was mentioned that adding organic material to the soil is a key way to mitigate the effects of, or even basically break down some of the bad compounds into things that are not as bad. So I need to keep covering my soil 🙂

Funding for the produce project is yet to come. They figured out that each site’s produce testing will cost some $2000. There is a Giving Tuesday campaign to raise money for the produce testing project (although the project is not mentioned on the link I’m including?). The goal for this Tuesday is $2000 to be able to get one site’s samples tested, but I would like to think they will raise more. They will also be requesting grant money. Please help support the project if you can. Please comment here or contact the folks in the first link to find out more about the project.

Meanwhile, in my garden…

there are a few ripe strawberries!
there are still some strawberries!

 

Started a new compost!

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T “riding” his tricycle in the garden.  Compost pile in foreground, along with shovel, bucket, and wagon

Yay, I started a new compost pile on Sunday. I didn’t get to add all of my buckets of compost, never mind all the smelly tomatoes that are in the field… (T was sick Saturday night, and recovering on Sunday)

I put out the last of my straw bales along the “old” strawberry bed. Today I picked 2/3 of a basket of strawberries from that bed, and then this evening I put compost down at the edges of the bed and on the bare spots. I got a lot on leaves and fruit, too, mais c’est la vie.

I smushed so many cucumber beetles in my few flowering calendulas today!!! It’s almost enough to make a person not grow it. Speaking of flowers, I also still have stock. The flowers I picked last week are still mostly doing well on the table.

Still need wood chips, lol.

We’re up to 77% of normal rainfall for this point in the season (3 inches so far). Lots of cool, cloudy, kind of rainy days lately.

…and the garden got frosted-out

Yesterday afternoon I found out that the temp overnight was going to be 34, or maybe 37. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me to water, and I’m not sure if it would have made a difference to my poor, belated zinnias. I think I will leave the ones that aren’t touching the kale, in case there are butterfly eggs (?) on them. Why, oh why didn’t I pick some yesterday? Because I picked tomatoes and strawberries.

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Zinnias that were killed by frost

I also lost my basil. I did pick a little bit of it yesterday. And tomatillos.

Today I did some hoeing in preparation for planting garlic. And I watered for like half an hour this evening, as I picked a couple of gallons of tomatoes, a few peas (the snow peas don’t seem to like frost, hm), some stock flowers, and a few marigolds.