Longer days of summer = more time to read and more time to garden. ICYMI, some #goodreads, an important video…and an invitation to register for an amazing statewide gardening conference being held in Southern California.

Summer is a wonderful time to garden and to up your gardening game. If you’re a gardener (or an aspiring one), consider registering for UC’s Statewide Master Gardener Conference. It’s being held at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach August 22-25. With nearly five dozen sessions on a range of gardening topics, there is something to interest everyone. Always one of my favorite conferences to attend. Hie thee there.

Cultivating green tea on California’s Central Coast

Lompoc farmer Sandra Newman (Forbidden Fruit Orchards) is partnering with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources farm advisor Mark Gaskell to evaluate tea as a small-farm crop. Gaskell has also been working with area farmers to promote blueberry and coffee production. Nice piece by Nancy Oster for Edible Santa Barbara.


A picture is worth a thousand words

Using an image from the Farm Security Administration, a historian crafts a brief analysis of the uneasy co-existence of agriculture and strip-mining in Illinois. The blog – Prairie State History – is worth exploring.

Plastic is everywhere…and it doesn’t go away

Roland Geyer is a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB, #Gauchos). An industrial ecologist by training, he assessed the amount of plastic that’s been manufactured. His answer: “Eight point three billion metric tons of plastics produced so far. That’s just really a staggering amount.” And…it’s non-degradable. Terrific write-up of this important research – and a great listen – on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Cover crops build healthy soil…and provide bee forage

Read this UC Food Observer guest post by farmer Chris Sayer. In it, he discusses the value of cover crops on this fifth-generation family farming operation in Ventura County.

Simultaneous harvest failures in key regions could herald global famine

British researchers say governments “may be seriously underestimating the risks of crop disasters occurring in major farming regions around the world…” Using advanced climate modeling techniques, the group first focused on the ways in which extreme weather (heat, drought, flooding) might impact corn. The group is now assessing risks for other major staple crops: rice, wheat, soya beans. A provocative read by Robin McKie for The Guardian. #ClimateChange

Speaking of climate change…

I continue to love and learn from the Climate Lab video series. This video series about climate change is produced by the University of California (Carbon Neutrality Initiative) in partnership with Vox. It is hosted by conservation scientist and UCLA visiting researcher M. Sanjayan. He explores surprising ways to change how we think and act about climate change.

In the sixth and final episode, this is the key question:

“Facts and data alone won’t inspire people to take action in the fight against global warming. So what will?”



Have a great weekend. P.S. Thanks to the UC ANR Master Gardener Program for some great images!