Mayor Ray Pacheco joining Senior Center for coffee Friday afternoon – Casper, WY Oil City News

CASPER, Wyo. — The public is invited to coffee with Casper Mayor Ray Pacheco at the Casper Senior Center on Friday at 3 p.m., the Senior Center announced.

Pacheco dominates Round 1 of PBR ZipRecruiter Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Nampa

Kaique Pacheco sits at No. 3 in the world with just weeks remaining before the PBR World Finals.

DAILY DIGEST, 6/22: What’s next for the plan to replumb the Delta?; Flow Deal: Peace treaty or Trojan Horse?; Lawsuit filed against $2.5B Pacheco Dam; Californians finally climbed on water conservation wagon in May; and more … – MAVEN’S NOTEBOOK | Water news

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Tunnel vision: What’s next for the governor’s plan to replumb the Delta?

California water officials are poised to release the first environmental review of a controversial project to replumb the Delta — a plan in the works for decades that has alternately been called a water grab or a critical update to shore up state supplies.   Known as the Delta Conveyance Project, a tunnel supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom would take water from the Sacramento River and bypass the vast Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, funneling the flows directly to pumps in the south Delta or straight to Bethany Reservoir at the northern end of the California Aqueduct.  The tunnel proposal, still in the early stages of environmental review, is the latest, scaled-down iteration of the contentious twin tunnels project, which Newsom scrapped in 2019 in favor of a single tunnel. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Tunnel vision: What’s next for the governor’s plan to replumb the Delta?

Flow Deal: Peace treaty or Trojan Horse?

Promising up to 825,000 acre-feet a year of new water to protect endangered fish and thousands of acres of habitat improvements, the Newsom administration and others hailed the March announcement of a proposed voluntary agreement on Bay-Delta flows as the beginning of the end of California’s water wars, and a boon to the Bay-Delta ecosystem.  “We think this has the promise to give us more benefit for ecosystems because we would be combining both flow and habitat assets,” says California Natural Resources Agency spokesperson Lisa Lien-Mager. And by providing an alternative to government mandates already in the works, proponents say the deal will head off litigation that could delay guaranteed environmental flows for years. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Flow Deal: Peace Treaty or Trojan Horse?

Lawsuit filed against $2.5 billion dam project planned for Santa Clara County

Critics of plans to build a huge new reservoir in Santa Clara County near Pacheco Pass have filed a lawsuit against the proposed $2.5 billion project, presenting a new hurdle for what would be the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in more than 20 years.  The group, called the Stop the Pacheco Dam Coalition and made up of environmentalists and landowners whose rural ranchland property would be flooded, sued the Santa Clara Valley Water District in Santa Clara County Superior Court earlier this month.  In the suit, opponents allege that the water district, a government agency based in San Jose, violated state law when it decided not conduct environmental studies to measure how upcoming drilling, boring and other geological tests will affect sensitive plants, wildlife and archaeological sites on the rugged landscape where the dam is planned just south of Henry W. Coe State Park. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:

Californians finally climbed on water conservation wagon in May

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been urging Californians to conserve water after another dry winter. And according to preliminary data from California State Water Resources Board, Californians cut their water use in May by 5% from the previous May.  Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the water board’s Division of Water Rights, said a board meeting Tuesday that the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is gone for the season and the area will not see significant precipitation any time soon.  “The state still remains in a severe drought with some intensification of the drought in the southern Sierra,” said Ekdahl. “The monthly temperature forecast for the coming month shows that most of California has an equal chance of remaining at average temperatures for this time of the year.” ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Californians finally climbed on water conservation wagon in May

Making water affordable for low-income households

Carlos Torres is a program specialist with the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), a new federal program administered by the Administration for Children and Families Office of Community Services (OCS), which provides funds to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. (Full disclosure: Carlos was previously the center administrator for the PPIC Water Policy Center.) We spoke to him about what it’s like working with the first-ever federal water assistance program.  Tell us about LIHWAP. When did it start, and why is it necessary?  LIHWAP is an emergency water and wastewater assistance program that was authorized in response to the pandemic. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here: Making water affordable for low-income households

Reorienting to salmon recovery

The days when salmon and steelhead teemed in California’s coastal watersheds faded away last century. Today, many populations of the fish are gone or dwindling, the river systems where they spawn drained by diversions or too warm for native fish to survive. Warming trends and drought are squeezing water resources tighter. Nearly all efforts to revive the state’s ailing salmonids have failed, often stalemated by political tensions, and it takes hatcheries and truck transport of juveniles to saltwater to maintain the feeble populations that remain.  California’s disappointing history of salmonid recovery programs has motivated a group of scientists from public water agencies and environmental conservation groups to step back, dream big, and take a new path forward. This group wants to abandon familiar heated dialogues and litigious relationships between those with differing values and try a new approach toward fish recovery based on collaboration, common interests and science. ... ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Reorienting to salmon recovery

Farm, business groups call for action on water projects

Agriculture and business groups are imploring Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to set clear goals for boosting water storage and supplies as the drought threatens to cripple California’s food, energy and housing sectors.  “Our existing water system can no longer deliver the water necessary to sustain the world’s fifth-largest economy,” the California Farm Bureau and nearly two dozen farm and business groups wrote in a June 14 letter to the state’s executive and legislative branches.  “California must establish a clear target to increase its surface water supply to meet current and future needs for human consumption and a growing economy,” said the letter, whose signatories included California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson.  Danny Merkley, Farm Bureau’s director of water resources, said Farm Bureau signed the letter because “it is time to sound the alarm.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Farm, business groups call for action on water projects

On-farm recharge pioneer invested in water savings

Don Cameron sparked curiosity in 2010 when he began a multi-phase project intended to capture floodwater from the Kings River during rainy seasons.  The effort, supported by state grants, unfolded as a grand experiment, as the diversified Fresno County grower flooded his permanent plantings—including pistachios and vineyards—to such an extent that they soon rested in several feet of water.  To Cameron’s relief, those plantings survived relatively unscathed. As the water percolated down, the aquifer water table rose significantly, increasing nearly 40 feet in a single year.  In drought-parched California, with surface-water reservoirs badly depleted these days, storing groundwater is becoming a norm in California agriculture. It is viewed as a key tool to help sustain farming in times of diminishing resources. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: On-farm recharge pioneer invested in water savings

Building buy-in for restoration

The success of a restoration project is in the eye of the beholder. Take the recently revitalized salt marsh edging Drift Creek in Alsea Bay, Oregon. To ecologists, the sight of new channels winding through bare, brown mud is a thing of beauty, heralding the abundance of life to come, from sedges and rushes to fish and shorebirds.  But, as researchers learned while speaking with people living nearby, not everyone shares this view. Some locals favored the unrestored side for its lush green vegetation and vistas of grazing elk. Resolving such differences in perception is key to local support, which can be required for project funding and permitting.  “Restoration can look unsightly at first,” said UC Davis salt marsh ecologist Julie Gonzalez. “There’s often a disconnect between scientists and other user groups, like community members and landowners, about what successful restoration actually looks like.” … ”  Continue reading at Estuary News here: Building buy-in for restoration

NOW AVAILABLE: DISB Review of Water Supply Reliability Estimation Related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The Delta Independent Science Board has published its Review of Water Supply Reliability Estimation Related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The report highlights the scientific challenges of estimating water supply reliability in the Delta and presents recommendations to make these estimates more useful for policy and management. It draws on scientific literature and perspectives provided by subject matter experts, managers, and stakeholders.

Click here to view or download the review.

Pre-monsoonal moisture surge to bring scattered thunderstorms to southern/central CA, w/dry lightning threat in some areas

After a final wave of cool and unstable conditions this past weekend across portions of NorCal, a much hotter and drier pattern is already firmly entrenched as of this writing. Today actually brought a pretty substantial heatwave all the way to the coast in NorCal, with even downtown San Francisco getting into the 90s. Some locations are hitting new daily record highs as of this writing, though values in the traditionally hotter inland locations (though toasty) are not that remarkable for June. But the hot and breezy conditions are rapidly drying out vegetation essentially everywhere right now, in a marked change from what many locations were experiencing up north just a few days ago. … ”  Continue reading at Weather West here: Pre-monsoonal moisture surge to bring scattered thunderstorms to southern/central CA, w/dry lightning threat in some areas

SEE ALSO: Dry thunderstorms could spark wildfires in California, from AccuWeather

New law enhances penalties for water theft

Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) announced today that his bill to strengthen penalties for water theft has been signed into law by Governor Newsom. Gray introduced Assembly Bill 2505 to address concerns that recent changes to state law had unintentionally capped fines for water theft within irrigation districts below market value.  “Irrigation districts are some of the best water managers in the state,” said Gray. “They have had the authority to set penalties for water theft within their boundaries since their inception. As drought conditions worsen and water prices rise, thieves are growing increasingly brazen and the water they steal from canals and reservoirs is increasingly valuable. If the maximum fine for stealing $5,000 worth of water is capped at $1,000 then thieves can make a profit even when they get caught.” … ”  Read more from YubaNet here: New law enhances penalties for water theft

Waters of the U.S. rule needs clarity, farm groups say

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson told leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the pending “waters of the United States” rule, or WOTUS, must be clear and concise and contain exemptions for normal farming activities.  “California’s farmland provides many social and ecosystem benefits beyond a safe and affordable food supply, such as open space, habitat and carbon sequestration, and the scope of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act is of fundamental importance to these benefits,” said Johansson, who led a roundtable discussion among western states last week to discuss the rule.  Johansson said California farmers and ranchers deserve clarity and certainty on how the rule will be applied. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Waters of the U.S. rule needs clarity, farm groups say

Legal alert: EIR’s statement of project objectives was unduly narrow

The EIR for a bottling plant in Siskiyou County withstood challenges to the project description and impacts analysis, but the EIR’s stated project objectives were unreasonably narrow and the County should have recirculated the EIR in light of significant new information about project emissions. We Advocate Through Environmental Review v. County of Siskiyou, No. C090840 (3rd Dist., May 12, 2022).  Siskiyou County granted permits to Crystal Geyser Water Company to reopen a bottling plant that had ceased operations under prior ownership. Plaintiffs sued, alleging that the County’s environmental review for the bottling facility was inadequate under CEQA. … ”  Read more from the California Land Use & Development Law Report here: Legal alert: EIR’s statement of project objectives was unduly narrow

California Fish and Wildlife trucking millions of juvenile salmon to saltwater again this year

Juvenile chinook salmon from Central Valley fish hatcheries are getting another ride to the saltwater this year in an effort to prevent the fish from perishing in low, warm water conditions during yet another drought year.  On Friday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the agency is nearing the completion of its efforts to transport 19.7 million hatchery-raised fall-run and 960,000 spring-run juvenile chinook salmon (smolts) to San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay and seaside net pens this spring and summer.  Begun in March, the releases are scheduled to conclude by Thursday, June 23. One of the last releases took place at Brickyard Cove in Richmond on Sunday, June 19. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: California Fish and Wildlife trucking millions of juvenile salmon to saltwater again this year

How fog nets are making water abundant in arid Africa – and may be useful in California

During the Moroccan desert summertime drought, fog nets are being used to provide drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people in remote mountain villages.  Now villagers can irrigate agricultural fields, turning desertified land back into green gardens, all thanks to mathematician and businessman Aissa Derhem.  Derhem lived in Canada while studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics during the 1980s. It was there he learned about how in the driest place on Earth—the Atacama Desert in Chile, where it has officially never rained—the inhabitants use fog nets to catch what little moisture does enter the landscape. … The drought-affected state of California, which has already borrowed water-saving strategies from India, could utilize these nets along the coastlines of San Francisco, Oakland, Point Reyes, Monterrey, and Santa Barbara. … ”  Read more from the Good News Network here: How fog nets are making water abundant in arid Africa – and may be useful in California

President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to provide $25.5 million for water efficiency projects in eight western states

The Department of the Interior today announced $25.5 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants to safeguard local water supplies in the face of severe western drought.  Fourteen projects in eight western states will be awarded funding to help local communities improve water use efficiency by lining canals, upgrading water meters, installing automated gates to control water flow and making other infrastructure improvements. The projects are anticipated to save more than 12 billion gallons of water annually – enough to fill over roughly 880,000 swimming pools–through reductions in residential water use and improvements to increase irrigation efficiency. Two of the projects will also receive funding for solar energy installations to power the affiliated water facility and water district buildings. Including non-federal funding contributions, the projects represent more than $130 million in water management improvements. … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to provide $25.5 million for water efficiency projects in eight western states

Why summer fires in California are so dangerous

It’s almost July, which is typically the beginning of California’s fire season.  You’ve probably heard that wildfires in the Golden State have increasingly become a year-round danger, no longer limited to a few months a year. But even still, the start of the traditional summer-and-fall fire season brings a slew of heightened risks for us to contend with.  It’s true that drought conditions and extreme heat in California have increased the likelihood that fires break out in the winter.  “The ability for fires to burn straight through winter is probably increasing, but there’s still a very pronounced seasonality,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I would bet a lot of money that August and September and October will see a whole lot more fire, and a whole lot more destructive fire.” … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Why summer fires in California are so dangerous

Can we curtail a Colorado River catastrophe?

Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press, writes, “At the risk of repeating myself and raising the ire of friends on the California side of the Colorado River, a story out of the LA Times illustrates what I’ve been saying for some time now: it’s time to remove California’s access to the famed river. We’ve exhausted our options through political inaction and misguided assumptions.  The Times reports that the Bureau of Reclamation says upwards of four million acre-feet of water deliveries must be cut from the Colorado River to prevent the draining of lakes Mead and Powell. Decisions will be made soon as to who gets cut, and by how much. California seems like an obvious place to make the first cut.  California is entitled to 4.4 million acre-feet of the river – the most of the lower basin states with straws in the system. Arizona is entitled to 2.8 million acre-feet annually. Nevada is entitled to 300,000 acre-feet. Is that fair? ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Can we curtail a Colorado River catastrophe?

Farm bill safeguards food supply, national security

Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, writes, “One piece of federal legislation has had as profound an impact on America as thousands of other bills combined, yet very few people are familiar with it. I’m referring to the farm bill, which ensures a safe and abundant food supply, helps feed the hungry, invigorates rural communities and helps farmers take care of the environment.  As I travel the country, it’s clear the farm bill has had a broad, visible impact. Family farms are able to be passed to the next generation because of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s numerous risk management tools and programs.  Families are able to put dinner on the table thanks to nutrition assistance programs. Soil and water improvements are possible because of land enrolled in conservation programs. Rural communities are back in the game thanks to broadband grants and new business loans authorized by the farm bill. Soon it will be time to refresh and renew this nearly 100-year-old law, so let’s examine its history and relevance today. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Commentary: Farm bill safeguards food supply, national security

Today’s featured article …

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: Quarterly Meeting on the 2021 Reconsultation of the Long-Term Operation of the CVP and SWP

On June 14, the Bureau of Reclamation held its first quarterly meeting to provide an update on the reconsultation of the long-term operations for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project as required by the WIIN Act.

NORTH COAST

Costs spike, fields go fallow in Klamath

The Klamath Basin has dealt with reduced water for decades, but this year is particularly grim.  The region is facing extreme dry conditions, as one of many ground zeros in a western U.S. multiyear drought some scientists describe as the worst in 1,200 years. For a third straight year, the amount of water farmers can receive from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River is a trickle at most.  But Lucky Ackley, owner of the Ackley Ranch in the Modoc County town of Newell, is still farming and ranching—even though it is costing him a small fortune to do so.  Ackley runs 600 head of cattle on rangeland and grows 1,300 acres of grass alfalfa, alfalfa, orchard grass and grain hay. All his hay acreage is on well water and, so far, he hasn’t had to fallow any ground or sell off any cattle. … ”  Continue reading at Ag Alert here: Costs spike, fields go fallow in Klamath

MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

‘Tahoe’s Plastic Problem’ exhibit brings hands-on education to Sand Harbor Visitor Center

Visitors to Sand Harbor State Park will now be able to enjoy an informational, hands-on exhibit where they can learn more about protecting Lake Tahoe from plastic pollution.  The display, titled Tahoe’s Plastic Problem, teaches families how to properly identify different types of plastic, the importance of recycling them properly, and how to keep them out of our waterways. The exhibit was developed by the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association, with funding provided by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Sustainable Materials Management. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: ‘Tahoe’s Plastic Problem’ exhibit brings hands-on education to Sand Harbor Visitor Center

What’s up with water transfers: getting answers in El Dorado, Placer Counties

Water transfers in dry years are not unusual in California. Water districts with a surplus sell to water suppliers with a need for more and the money earned through the sale is typically put back into the state’s water infrastructure.  The El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) is preparing to sell nearly 3,000 acre-feet of water to Westland Water District in the Central Valley, for a deal that would bring in nearly $2 million for EID. The water, explained General Manager Jim Abercrombie, will come from the Weber Reservoir and saved water. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: What’s up with water transfers: getting answers in El Dorado, Placer Counties

Nurseries seeing growing demand for drought-tolerant plants

Triple-digit temperatures have many triple-checking their plants and thinking twice about what to plant in the future.  Nurseries are now changing products to meet the growing demand for drought-tolerant varieties.  Quinton Young gave us a tour of his nursery in Fair Oaks.  “These are great flowering shrubs, good for attracting pollinators. These do great with low to average water,” Young said.  He says the drought in California demands different types of landscaping. … ”  Read more from the CBS Sacramento here: Nurseries seeing growing demand for drought-tolerant plants

BAY AREA

Monsoonal moisture is flowing into Northern California. Here’s how it could impact the Bay Area

The monsoonal moisture flowing into Northern California from the coast of Mexico this week could bring a chance of wet and dry thunderstorms to the area starting Wednesday, meteorologists said.  The storm activity appeared to be headed toward the Central Valley and the Sierra, according to the National Weather Service. Isolated showers, thunderstorms and some lightning were expected Wednesday through Friday in those areas, weather officials said. … ”  Continue reading at the OC Register here: Monsoonal moisture is flowing into Northern California. Here’s how it could impact the Bay Area

Marin grand jury report blasts water supply planning

The Marin Municipal Water District has failed to adequately prepare for severe drought and should create a four-year water supply, the Marin civil grand jury said in a new report.  Last year, the district faced depleting local reservoir supplies as soon as summer 2022. While rains in late 2021 nearly refilled reservoirs, the drought “exposed serious shortcomings” in the district’s ability to offer a reliable water supply and has shaken public confidence in the district’s leadership, the report states.  “Last year’s drought emergency could have been avoided, if MMWD had taken sufficient measures to provide for a resilient water supply,” the report stated. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:

County warns of toxic algae blooms in area of Discovery Bay

Blue-green algae blooms have been spotted in multiple locations around Discovery Bay so Contra Costa County public health officials are advising anyone boating, fishing or swimming in the area to use caution. … ”  Continue reading at SF Gate here: County warns of toxic algae blooms in area of Discovery Bay

Valley Water offers submeter rebates for landlords

Do you have tenants in a multi-family home? Monitoring water usage accurately is a challenge that is solved by installing submeters. To help property owners save water and money during the current severe drought, Valley Water offers $150-$300 rebates for installing qualifying submeters and water meters. These meters will allow you to better monitor water use, detect leaks and identify other maintenance issues. You can also see how much water you are saving by following conservation measures. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Valley Water offers submeter rebates for landlords

Santa Clara: Working together to clean our creeks

Nai Hsueh, Valley Water Director, writes, “Walking along our many Santa Clara County creek trails is a local favorite summer activity. However, it’s not always easy to enjoy our beautiful waterways due to the pollution issues generated by illegal dumping and encampments. Even worse is the impact of trash on our fragile ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. This is why pollution prevention is one of Valley Water’s top priorities. We partner with the community year-round on strategies and initiatives to protect the health of Santa Clara County’s creeks by addressing the trash and debris in our streams.  This past May, 596 volunteers responded to our call to join National River Cleanup Day and work to clear 28 sites in Santa Clara County. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Working together to clean our creeks

CENTRAL COAST

Guest view: Feds must fully fund San Justo cleanup

San Benito Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki writes, “As I noted at the San Benito County Board meeting June 14, the discussion about San Justo Reservoir’s longstanding closure has been one of the worst broken records imaginable for local residents.  That stale melody on repeat among political entities—ranging from the county to Congress—has played out every couple years at the board level where supervisors have received essentially the same update again and again.  It goes something like this:  San Justo was closed in January 2008 with the discovery of invasive zebra mussels, which can cause environmental and water infrastructure damage. The eradication will cost millions of unallocated dollars. ... ”  Read more from the San Benito Freelance here: Guest view: Feds must fully fund San Justo cleanup

Santa Barbara City Council declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

“Santa Barbara City Council members unanimously voted to declare a Stage Two Water Shortage, but they are not setting a conservation percentage goal to go with it just yet.  Santa Barbara Water Conservation Analyst Madeline Wood said the community has already cut back 25% and is on track to have enough water to meet its goals for the next two years.  Santa Barbara also gets 35% of its water from its once controversial desalination plant, which may be expanded within its footprint down the road.  Santa Barbara Water Supply Analyst said, “Expanding the desal plant should be relatively easy from the kind of design and construction standpoint ad that’s because it is already permitted in design to produce up to 10,000 acre feet a year.” … ”  Read more from KEYT here: Santa Barbara City Council declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Manteca residents getting new water restrictions

The Manteca City Council is expected to declare a drought emergency at Tuesday’s meeting, which will tighten water restrictions for residents, businesses and even at city hall.  Dry lawns will soon be the norm in Manteca. Going from green to golden is now the goal.  “Residents can expect to see yellow and brown lawns, yellow and brown public spaces, parks, etc,” Public Works Director Carl Brown said.  Businesses, churches, schools and hospitals will soon be banned from watering their decorative lawns as part of the city and state’s efforts to save water. ... ”  Read more from Fox 40 here:  Manteca residents getting new water restrictions

How idle oil wells leaked explosive levels of methane in Bakersfield

Cesar Aguirre first became aware of a potential methane leak in Bakersfield about a month ago. He says that he heard the news from a resident who reported hearing a “hissing” sound coming from an oil well near their home.  And sure enough, after investigation, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, confirmed the report. They found dozens of oil wells in need of remediation, with 21 leaking explosive levels of methane gas in various neighborhoods in Bakersfield. This means that the invisible fumes could ignite and put residents at risk. … These particular leaks came from “idle wells,” a term used to describe a well that once produced oil or gas but has later been abandoned by its operator. Recent reports estimate that there are about 35,000 idle wells in California. When improperly abandoned, idle wells can contaminate air and drinking water. … ”  Continue reading at Capital Public Radio here: How idle oil wells leaked explosive levels of methane in Bakersfield

City of Techachapi will study options for improving water quality

Water quality in the city of Tehachapi exceeds all state and federal water quality requirements and no water quality violations have occurred, Public Works Director Don Marsh told the Tehachapi City Council during its regular meeting on June 20.  But water from the Snyder Well — which the city currently only uses for irrigation — fails to meet nitrate standards. It is not physically connected to the domestic water system.  Two other wells produce water containing nitrates, and they are approaching legally allowable limits of the compounds, Marsh said. The city blends water from these two wells with water from three other wells with low levels of nitrates. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here: City of Techachapi will study options for improving water quality

EASTERN SIERRA

California must euthanize 350,000 trout after bacteria outbreak. Recreational fishing could see impact

A bacteria outbreak in two state hatcheries is forcing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to euthanize about 350,000 rainbow trout, which could affect fishing stock in some state waterways this summer.  Two Fish and Wildlife hatcheries in the Eastern Sierra have been fighting an outbreak of a naturally occurring bacteria, Lactococcus petauri, since it was first detected in April, according to a news release from the agency. But this week, staff at the Black Rock and Fish Springs hatcheries determined that about 350,000 infected rainbow trout were showing signs of disease and must be euthanized. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California must euthanize 350,000 trout after bacteria outbreak. Recreational fishing could see impact | Read via Yahoo News

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Southern California sees its first monsoonal surge of the season; lightning possible

Just when Southern California residents may have been getting used to sunny days and high temperatures, monsoonal storms from the south will bring thunder, rain and possibly lightning through Wednesday evening, forecasters said Tuesday.  Less than half an inch of rain was expected for Orange County with the coming storm and even less in Los Angeles County, where precipitation is expected to vary but remain under .25 inches starting overnight Tuesday.  The mountains and deserts will see most of the action with the eastern San Gabriel Mountains expected to see some activity of brief downpours and gusty winds. The San Bernardino Mountains may receive heavier rainfall. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here:

Amid drought, how do LA cemeteries save grass from turning brown?

Three years ago, Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery on the border of Carson and Compton boasted 45 acres of vibrant green lawn. Today a serene stroll there is interrupted by the sound of crunching footsteps on dead, brown grass.  “You wouldn’t want to have your mother buried here,” says cemetery manager John Michael Mintz. “If you’d asked me 10 years ago, ‘Would you bury somebody here?’ ‘Well yeah, this is a beautiful place.’ But it’s gone to seed.”  The new drought rules mean Southern California’s grass only gets watered for a few minutes once or twice per week. That’s not enough to keep it alive and green. And most cemeteries have not been spared. ... ”  Read more from KCRW here: Amid drought, how do LA cemeteries save grass from turning brown?

Some Southern California beaches get good marks for water quality

Southern California beaches got mostly good grades in Heal the Bay’s annual beach report card, but there was also bad news for the region.  More than 90% of the region’s beaches got an A grade for water quality. That number rose to 94% when A and B grades were added together.  Of the state’s beaches, 10% made the report’s honor roll. And 19 of those beaches were in Orange County.  Fifteen San Diego County beaches made the list including Mission Beach near the Belmont Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, La Jolla Shores beach and several Carlsbad beaches. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: Some Southern California beaches get good marks for water quality

SAN DIEGO

Santa Fe Irrigation District sets additional drought restrictions

The Santa Fe Irrigation District has adopted its Drought Response Level 2 reduction actions in order to meet state guidelines for water conservation. The board made its decision at the June 16 meeting.  “Drought and water-use efficiency are a way of life for all Californians and our local communities,” said Michael Hogan, SFID board president in a news release. “We appreciate everything our customers have done this year and in years past to eliminate water waste, but record-breaking dry conditions necessitate additional action. I understand that many of our customers are as efficient as possible, and we need you to continue that practice.” ... ”  Read more from Rancho Santa Fe Review here: Santa Fe Irrigation District sets additional drought restrictions

Column: Summertime is no cure for the environmental blues

Columnist Michael Smolens writes, “News about the environment rarely is good these days, but a string of grim developments locally, regionally and internationally cast a particular pall over the otherwise sunny arrival of summer.  Beaches from Imperial Beach north to Coronado were closed because of sewage discharges from Tijuana. The Colorado River’s reservoirs are so low that severe water cuts are on the horizon for much of the southwestern United States. And another climate conference, this one in Germany, pretty much went nowhere.  All of this is bad, though all is not lost. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Column: Summertime is no cure for the environmental blues

Along the Colorado River …

The Water Budget Navigator:A comparison tool for the Colorado River Basin

The Colorado River Basin is experiencing a historic drought. Many states in the basin are facing increasing variability in rain and snow patterns, and municipal water needs and infrastructure are more complex than ever. Given these challenges, state water budgeting is also becoming increasingly complex. To promote transparency and collaboration among Colorado River Basin states, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Water Policy Program developed the Water Budget Navigator tool as part of the Internet of Water start-up project. This tool builds on the Internet of Water start-up project’s Coming to Terms tool, which seeks to promote a shared vocabulary of water terminology and tracks definitions, synonyms, and homonyms of water-related terms used by public agencies and private entities.  The Water Budget Navigator is a web application that allows users to compare the water budgeting and water use estimation frameworks used by water resources agencies in the Colorado River Basin states (California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah). … ”  Read more from the Internet of Water here:  The Water Budget Navigator:A comparison tool for the Colorado River Basin

Lake Mead: Drought-stricken reservoir near Vegas hits new lowest level since 1930s

Lake Mead, a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir located outside of Las Vegas, has been under full capacity for decades — and once again has dropped to a new low since the 1930s.  The Colorado River pools behind Hoover Dam to create Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States that was developed in 1936, according to the National Park Service.  Lake Mead, and another falling Colorado River reservoir called Lake Powell, are part of a system that provides water to more than 40 million people and businesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and across the southern border in Mexico. … ”  Read more from Fox 5 here: Lake Mead: Drought-stricken reservoir near Vegas hits new lowest level since 1930s

How thinning dense Arizona forests could prevent another megafire and protect water sources

From atop the Baker Butte Lookout, a sea of evergreens, oaks and locusts spreads across the Mogollon Rim to the hazy horizon.  A broad-tailed hummingbird buzzes a feeder perched on the steel lattice tower, the food supplied by a U.S. Forest Service fire sentinel. Down the dirt road, but obscured by the dense tree cover, a band of spike-antlered and cow elk shuffle and munch in the warmth of a May afternoon.  It’s a peaceful, pine-scented scene that cloaks the constant threat embodied by the watchtower and its staff. Out of view to the east, a 700-square-mile expanse of forest still struggles to recover from the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire. That massive blaze burned across 468,638 acres, destroyed hundreds of structures and dumped ash, eroded dirt and contaminants into streams that flow to the Salt River and, ultimately, metro Phoenix.  A repeat here would choke off much of the water that the small city of Payson relies on, along with some that makes it to Phoenix in the Verde River. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Central here: How thinning dense Arizona forests could prevent another megafire and protect water sources

Deepening fissures define rural southern Arizona’s fight over groundwater rules

Cities and agriculture across the West put intense pressure on groundwater supplies. In some regions, few rules govern how and when people can pump.  That’s true in rural Southern Arizona. Residents there are seeing their wells dry up as big farms move in, and they’re pushing the state to better manage dwindling underground water supplies.  Tara Morrow can walk inside a crack in the ground that’s deeper than she is tall.  “There’s a really good snake den back in there,” she said.  The fissure had even swallowed part of the road near her home. … It’s already dry in southern Arizona’s Sulphur Springs Valley and it’s getting drier. The underground aquifer that lies beneath the desert used to be much higher, but as it drops the ground above it becomes unstable. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Deepening fissures define rural southern Arizona’s fight over groundwater rules

Commentary: Now is the time to secure Arizona’s water future

Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, writes, “Arizona is doing a lot of things well. Our economy is growing and diversifying at one of the fastest rates in the nation. We recovered jobs lost during the pandemic before almost any other state, and unemployment has fallen to its lowest rate in nearly 50 years.  Businesses and new residents are moving here in droves to take advantage of the pro-growth policies we’ve adopted to make Arizona one of the most competitive and attractive places in the country to invest, expand and create jobs.  With the economic development pipeline full and showing no signs of slowing, we have reason to be optimistic. But we can’t be overconfident. Mother Nature is humbling us.  Our growth can only be sustained so long as we have a water supply that can support it. … ”  Read more from Arizona Chamber Business News here: Now is the time to secure Arizona’s water future

Utah officials called it the “year of water.” Special interests still resist conservation.

Utah policymakers billed the 2022 legislative session as the “year of water.” Gov. Spencer Cox signed into law more than 15 measures related to water conservation, heralding “generational” progress as the West’s megadrought continues well into its third decade.  Those pieces of legislation allow farmers to earn money by sending their water downstream to shrinking lakes, require water meters for landscaping, appropriate $40 million to protect the Great Salt Lake and more. But perhaps more telling were proposals that lawmakers carved up or voted down. … ”  Read more from Pro Publica here: Utah officials called it the “year of water.” Special interests still resist conservation.

Colorado River crisis giving tribes new opportunities to right century-old water wrongs

In August 2021, federal officials issued the first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River, resulting in substantial cuts to Arizona’s share of Colorado River water and giving more power than ever before to the 30 Native Tribes, including two in Colorado, who control roughly 25% of the water in the seven-state river basin.  Everyone in the basin sees the confluence of unfortunate events that have brought the Colorado River crisis to a head. There is less water than ever before with the basin ensnared in a 22-year megadrought, the worst in the past 1,200 years, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. … ”  Read more from the Water Desk here: Colorado River crisis giving tribes new opportunities to right century-old water wrongs

In national water news today …

EPA proposes new rules governing Section 401 water quality certification

On 9 June 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the federal register a proposed rule regarding the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 water quality certification process (the Proposed Rule), undoing many of the Trump administration’s changes to that process in 2020. While the Proposed Rule seeks to return regulatory authority to states and tribes in a manner more aligned with the agency’s Section 401 certification rules in existence prior to the Trump administration’s rule, expanded state and tribal authority under the Proposed Rule could be used to block or delay development projects at a time when major infrastructure projects are ramping up. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here: EPA proposes new rules governing Section 401 water quality certification

5 takeaways from the energy, environment spending bills

House appropriators yesterday advanced legislation to increase energy and environment spending.  The House Interior-EPA Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation to provide $44.8 billion in fiscal 2023, a $6.8 billion increase over current dollars.  The Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee backed a $56.3 billion measure that means a $3.4 billion increase over current spending.  Both bills were passed by voice vote with no amendments. They are headed for full committee markups next week, where GOP opposition will be more pronounced.  Here are five takeaways so far … ”  Read more from E&E News here: 5 takeaways from the energy, environment spending bills

About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

Using Vegetable Grow Bags in the Garden

Hey pioneers. Welcome to episode number 311 on today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the advantage to using grow bags. Now, even if you are an in-ground Gardner or you have raised beds or use other containers, you’re definitely going to want to stay tuned for this episode because grope bags offer some unique benefits that you’re not going to find with really other, any container type growing medium and our goal. I’m sure if you’ve listened to the podcast for any amount of time, you are familiar with this, but our role is to grow as much food as possible on our homestead. And that often I should say almost always is going to mean using different types of growing mediums and grow bags are something that you definitely want to consider. Even

If you have more space and do in-ground gardening, like we do. Today’s guest, you are probably very familiar with, he has been on before, and that is Kevin spear too, who is an urban gardener. He’s the founder of epic gardening. So there’s the effort gardening podcast. He’s got a really large YouTube channel and Instagram, and he has a gardening education company and it’s their mission to teach over 10 million people how to grow their own food, no matter where they live. Can you see why we get along so well? And he started gardening in a condo in 2011, where he was just setting up a hydroponic systems and growing herbs and veggies. And since then, he’s expanded into pretty much every type of gardening imaginable. And he even lived off of his own food for a month in June of 2019. Now I know if you’re more doing large scale home setting, or if you have livestock and already been growing the big garden, then you’re like, oh, we, you know, we do that.

But if you are living in an area in an urban environment, that’s actually a lot more difficult to do. So it was a really cool experiment. He documented the whole thing. And I really enjoyed watching him go through that and seeing what that was like for all of the different links that we are talking about today and resources, there will be a full blog post that you can go and check that [email protected] forward slash 3 1, 1 or 311. Right? But just the number. So mosquitoes.com/ 3 1 1, because this is episode number 311. If you’ve not met Kevin, yet you are going to enjoy him. And all of his gardening contact it. Really his enthusiasm for gardening is really, really fun to watch. So without further ado, we are going to get straight to today’s episode. Welcome back to the pioneering today, podcast, Kevin Berry, excited to have you today.

Kevin Berry

Hey, thanks. Great.

Yeah. So one of the things that I have found so fascinating in watching your garden and your journey evolve with producing food, and that is one is I don’t think that we could probably be further apart in our growing Sones, uh, but also to see how much you have been able to grow in a relatively small space. Now I know you just upgraded. I, I get that sounds like a funny word to say, but you’ve moved to a spot recently that does have some more yard space, so you’ve been able to increase. Um, but in comparison to our acreage on the homestead, you have been able to produce a lot of food in a pretty small growing space overall.

Kevin Berry

Yeah. Yeah. I have. I mean, I, I forgot how much acreage you’re working with. Most, I suspect it’s probably still much more than my upgrade, but, uh, yeah, it’s been a fun challenge to try to kind of expand because for me, I mean, I basically had, I dunno, 15 by 30 feet up until sometime last year and now I’ve got a third of an acre.

Yeah, we have, well, we have 15 acres, quite a bit of that as pasture for livestock, but yeah, I mean, so a third of an acre is a great yard space. And, but even that you have really, because I’ve been following, I follow you on Instagram and see your different YouTube videos and stuff. And so you’ve really utilized it well, and what’s fun to see is you use a lot of different, you’re kind of, I feel this in common. I like to test in the garden and you, and I noticed that you do that too. You don’t pick just one growing medium or one way to grow specific things. You do a lot of testing and trying different things out. And I really love that because I like to do that too. And one of the things that you use that I have not used yet though, is B-roll backs.

Kevin Berry

Yeah. I’m huge on using the grow bags, those big on them, especially at the old space, because just the ability to kind of move them around and slot them into different spots. But they become my preferred container if I’m growing in a container,

Okay, now I love this. So with container gardening, I’ve done container gardening and like half whiskey barrels and five gallon buckets. And they didn’t even sound like basal and much smaller pots, et cetera. Um, but for container gardening, why is the grow bag now your favorite?

Kevin Berry

So the main reason, the principle reason is just the way that the material works compared to, I don’t know, a plastic pot for sure. A terracotta a little bit less. So it’s still still working terracotta. And the, the thing you’re working with rollbacks is it’s a quite a porous material. And so when you’ve got your soil in there, and let’s say you’ve got a tomato in there by the time that tomato roots actually expand out and hit the edge of, let’s say a plastic pot, they’re going to wrap around pots, it’s broke down, right? We all know what that is when you’re growing in a container and it’s an announcement, wait for the plants to grow. And it’s just not optimal. The plant doesn’t want to grow that way. If you were to have it in soil, you’d have a much more natural looking roof structure with grow bags.

Kevin Berry

It’s not like it cures that problem completely, but it does help quite a bit because what you have happened is you have the root tips ended up hitting the edge of the pod, just like they would have any pot, but there’s not a ton of water at the edge. There there’s a lot of oxygen air. So it actually dries out and kills the root tip, which sounds bad. But what ends up happening is that effectively prunes that root tip and stops it from wrapping around and the plants going to stimulate and grow a little bit more root structure out in the center of the roots. So you get a much more fibrous and well distributed root structure, which ends up meaning you have a healthier plant.

Okay. I find that very fascinating because actually back in the day, because we deal with blight here so bad in the Pacific Northwest, just so much moisture coming down with tomatoes, even in the summer months, I never had much success with tomatoes. And so I tried growing them in plastic five gallon buckets so that I could put them underneath the overhang of our house in different areas. So they wouldn’t get as much rain. So this was before we settled on growing them in the high tunnel. But I honestly, I never had success with growing tomatoes in five gallon buckets. And my suspicion is, is because of exactly what you’re talking about, especially with tomatoes, having such an expansive root system, or they like to, in order to perform well, it probably just reached the edge of the bucket and then it just, it became root bound. And I never got a very large tomato harvest at all off of those tomatoes.

Kevin Berry

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that could, that could definitely be a factor. I just know for me, when I was going to small spaces, I wanted to have something that I could hold up. If I didn’t need to use it, I could move it around. I was growing potatoes in them. I think we’ve talked about potatoes here on the podcast before, uh, both big fans and, you know, with potatoes, you don’t really need them in the sun until they start crowding out so I could pop them around. And I just wanted to contain it. I didn’t have to worry about the only real downside to containers as I saw, which was the way that roots will typically grow and sort of choke themselves out.

Okay. So with the grow bags, having that more poorest material, and then we get the benefit of the root pruning, as you have told us, because they’re hitting the air. But one of the things that you said, which kind of caught my attention when you’re talking and the reason for that is because I’ve been having to water. Cause we’re actually warm here right now. And I do still have some things. I do have certain things in containers, which means when we get warm, I’m having to water my container plants. Whereas the stuff that’s in ground, I’m not having to water yet. So with the grow bags, how is the watering situation with them? Because it is porous. Does the soil dry out faster?

Kevin Berry

Yeah, for sure it does. Um, so the way that I’ve at that as like that’s a small trade off to make that air printing benefit, but there’s a lot of stuff you can do to mitigate that. So the first thing I tend to do is I don’t really growing smaller bags. Like I don’t even grow in a five gallon bag. I go seven gallons or more. Sometimes you can just modulator your, your soil makes a little bit like maybe add a little more coconut corn or something like that to hold more water. I think something that a lot of people don’t do, Melissa, which I’m unsure, why is we mulch maybe on our in ground plan teams or our raised beds. We don’t hold our containers, silviculture containers. That helps quite a bit. And then you can, you can set it up on your vacation. You can throw a saucer at the bottom and fill that up with water as sort of like a nice little buffer. There’s a lot of things you can do to mitigate the fact that typically in grow bags, if it’s porous around all sides, it’s almost like the whole thing is the bomb. Right. And so the whole thing is the top. And so yeah, water is going to fall out of that. That makes a little bit faster.

Okay. And you’re right. I don’t know what the mulching think. That’s very interesting that you bring that point up because typically we don’t mulch the containers, but you’re right. At least for that top surface level, it’s going to help. And now I have a question for the GrubHub. So I know you said, sorry, I’m kind of squirreling here cause I’m jumping, but in larger containers, cause you’re saying you’re doing the larger grow bags. So for me, I’d like my half whiskey bottle containers, which is what I have my perennials for the most part planted in, but I don’t, you know, they’re pretty old, so obviously I’m not emptying the soil out. And so I keep the same soil in, but then I pop dress that soil with compost. Um, and then sometimes we’ll put straw or just whatever medium I have mulching on top of those. Um, or pine needles, different things like that. Cause we have a lot of evergreen trees here, but with the grow bags, can you grow perennials in them? And would you just leave the same soil in there and then just amend and add to it for a few seasons or with, because I’ve just not used the grow bags in that manner, but I’m intrigued using them with perennials. But I was kind of curious as we’re talking about soil, how do you handle that with them?

Kevin Berry

Yeah. So I have, I guess I’m growing perennials in a non-technical sense. So like I’ve got, uh, peppers that I go over wizard and so, you know, they can be perennial eyes and all I’ve really done with the peppers at least. And I think this would probably apply to most other brand deals you might grow like maybe artichokes or something along those lines is I will typically just amend that soil for the length of the growth. Sometimes that will, with one of my peppers, I had a black over pepper that I uh overwintered and so I’ve grown it down to about a third of its original size and then it goes dormant during the winter time. So you can move it around and do what you want. And so I ended up sizing up the bag and shoring that up with a little bit more mixed.

Kevin Berry

And so that was a way to, you know, hopefully have it grow a little bit larger next year, but also give a little bit of accurate efficient without having to completely redo everything. So that may be what I do. I think if I was growing up in a grow bag, I would just opt for a larger size bag in general. Do you have a little bit more to work with? And it’s not as you know, it’s just not as finicky with the drying out and with maybe running out of nutrients too soon, all that kind of stuff.

Melissa

Okay. Very good. And gosh, we, you said that growing peppers is a pretty old I’m like, yup. I was completely right when I said we couldn’t have further growing zones apart. So I am, that is so intriguing to me. So with the peppers as a perennial, how many seasons or years, or how long is it’s typical growth span? Like how long could you keep the same one going and producing?

Kevin Berry

I don’t know the actual answer. I know that I have gone at least three years. I know people who’ve gone five, six, so, so you, you certainly can do it for quite some time. I mean, they’re going to start getting pretty large and thick and Woody and I’m not quite sure on how the production goes, but I think for me, like one thing I did this year, Melissa, with my new space, right. I have a lot more space. Is I planted 43 peppers. I don’t think it’s all different varieties. I think I have about 35 different varieties and I’ve grown none, almost none of those varieties before. So I wanted to do this year is say, okay, they’re in the ground. They could have been in grow bags. That part doesn’t really matter for this, this point. I’m going to see how they all do.

Kevin Berry

I’m going to see which ones I like, which ones didn’t have disease or pest or anything like that. And then I’ll just, overwinter the ones that I like. So that next year I have those a little bit earlier and they’re just more established. And then I can have almost like a multi-year cycle of rotating peppers around the garden. But I think that to me, that just seems like a really smart move because then you don’t have to wait forever for the pepper to germinate and size up if you know you like it from last year.

Yeah. No, I think that’s a great idea. And it’s what you could obviously seed safe from them though. That’s kind of not what you’re talking about, but that really is a, is a principle of seed saving as well is picking the plants that obviously you like, but that have those characteristics they’re diseased free. They are prolific, they are producing large, really good fruits and then pruning out and getting rid of the other words. So over time, your garden is evolving into a stronger, more robust plant life without you having to do as much work, which I really love that. I love that aspect about seed saving, but you could do it just like you said, with the peppers and the perennials too. So I’m finding that amazing. You know, what’s funny is so I can’t, overwinter warm weather plants here, but I actually with broccoli, this is the first year that I’ve experienced this and I’m planning on trying more of it this following year for kind of the same reasons you’re talking about.

But I had planted some broccoli starts in the fall actually in the summer, but they weren’t of size. Once we hit the cold weather and the daylight hours got really short, so it never produced a head. So I have notes that, uh, now this summer I need to plant them a little bit earlier, but what was fascinating is I left one of the broccoli plants in, even after it didn’t produce a head and the other ones I had taken out to put in spring crops, it is right now, it’s actually producing a lovely broccoli head for me, even though I technically planted that broccoli sprout at the end of last July. And at the time of this recording, it’s at the beginning of June. So I’m like, oh, so I’m almost thinking of like stagger planting some of those broccoli, um, so that I get some in the fall, but then I have some that will produce those heads come spring time.

Kevin Berry

That’s really interesting. I know every time we talk, it’s like I have my warm weather joys and you have some of your older product-wise, it’s so interesting because we’re so opposite that that’s something I never would’ve thought of. I mean, I struggle honestly, just to grow any heading brass successfully in the first place, mean my timing has to be perfect because if I, if I miss time in the cabbage, moms are just going to eat everything no matter what I do. And so I have to kind of a tiny against where they’re able to grow or where they’re, where they’re, you know, really large in population otherwise I’m totally done for

It. Yeah. It is very fascinating just with the differences in the weather, like what you experienced as a gardener. But I also think it’s really cool because even though yours is with warm weather and mine is with cold weather, we are able to do some of very similar like testing and stuff doing, but it’s just knowing your climate and working within it. So I think that’s, it’s actually really fascinating. Um, but back to grow back, sorry, I knew I was gonna go off on a rabbit trail there. Um, but with the grow bags, so you had mentioned quite a bit about moving them. And I know with a lot of the larger containers that I work with once those babies are filled with soil, some of them are kind of impossible to move, but as we were just talking about like knowing your microphones and your microclimates and how you would take the pepper plant and you know, over winter, it, uh, you know, kind of moving it to a more sheltered location, et cetera, um, are with the grow bags. Do you have advice as far as size or, you know, moving them and picking them and how well move, like any tips on when you do go to move them that you should be aware of?

Kevin Berry

Yeah, well, like I said, I think I would, I would size my bags up typically. So I would start at around seven gallons for almost anything I would want to grow. And I, I mean, I have an a hundred young girl bag, actually. That’s pretty hard to move. Like you said, the a hundred gallon ones, these big, big ones typically will come with handles that one actually has four handles, even then. It’s hard to move if it’s full of water. So then you have to think about, okay, well maybe I’ll get some help and I’ll move it when it’s, when it’s drier and then I’ll water it in when I get it to its final resting place. So I would offer back to with handles for sure. Um, you can get reinforced bags from a couple different companies. Another thing that I’ve done is I’ve moved them with like a hand truck or I’ve built like little dollies, especially when I’m growing, you know, a fruit tree and I grow back or something like that.

Kevin Berry

Those you’re starting at 15 gallons, 20 twenty-five gallons. It’s going to be difficult to move no matter what. And you kind of don’t want to mess around with, you know, cracking the soil and damaging the roots of the tree and all that. So I’ve just put a lot of those on these little dollies that you can build out a caster wheels at a, any sort of big box store. And just some one by three or a two by four lumber or whatever you’ve got lying around. I know lumber is kind of expensive right now, but that’s what I’ve been doing. Um, and as, as far as placement itself, like you said, I mean, you want to think about what you’re, what you’re planting and what conditions it likes just as if it was in your normal garden. And the cool part about the growing is you can kind of adopt them around your landscape. So, you know, for me, I’ve got some stuff in the backyard that really only wants like half sun, especially as we move into summer, maybe like some lingering greens or some lingering spring crops, like BP’s or something like that. And so for those, I can just kind of slot them under this little tree and just pop them there. And whenever I’m done, I’ll just, I’ll just move them, refresh that, plant something else, put it out in the sun, grow a summer crop.

Okay. So the versatility there is really awesome. Um, but I wanted to bop back. I just realized that we got talking about, about bolts. We got the soil and we had mentioned ways to help by adding some stuff into the soil in order to increase the amount of water because they can dry out. But when, I mean, usually people I always recommend anyways, is that you don’t just take garden soil or soil that’s in the ground and pop it in a container because of metric pressure and other issues that you actually have a true like container potting soil formula. I’m assuming that’s the case for grow bags, but is there anything additional that you need to be aware of when, when you’re putting soil into a grow bag versus just any other type of container?

Kevin Berry

I like to skew a little higher, like I mentioned on some sort of water retaining element. Okay. So these days I do, I just have breaks of coconut four in my garden shed. And when I’m making your grow bag makes, I might even take her mix from a bat and then I just might mix it a little bit more coconut core before I actually fill up the bag. It seems to help, you know, it just, it really does seem to help a little bit. Um, there, there are some other things that you can do or they don’t really have anything to do with the soil though. So like, you know, just putting a drip spike in there has been really nice. My personal need this place, Melissa, all I really had was grow bags. So I created like a five-by-five grow back gardens and twenty-five different grow bags.

Kevin Berry

And then ran irrigation down that pulled out and I used what’s called an adjustable 360 degree spike. So the spike will help it stick in the actual bag. Cause you got to pull it from your main line into the bag. And then the adjustable was nice because of course different size bags, different plants, right. Different water requirements. And so you can turn the top of that spike and it’ll put out a little water a little more and then a lot of water. So I kind of created this little custom irrigation system for not that much money, but as far as soil. Yeah. I mean the only thing I would really say is mashed to the plant that you’re trying to grow. And then maybe you bump up with some coconut or whatever else that you’d like to use the ultra water.

Melissa

Okay. Now, where do you, do you have like a special source that you get the, your coconut core from? Or just grab it like in a garden supply center? Area’s going to have that or

Kevin Berry

Yeah. I mean these days, I think they shared, do you see it at your local nurseries a lot or no,

You know, honestly I’ve never looked at look to purchase it individually. Cause I do do so much in ground gardening, honestly. Um, and so when I’m putting in like a new container and a lot of my containers have had, it’s been like bagged potting soil mixes that I’ve bought from years back and I’ve just continued to add compost and it was stuff to it. Um, I really haven’t searched, which is why I’m asking. Cause I’m like, if somebody asks you to be like, oh, I don’t know, I’m not actually look. So I thought I just would ask you why I had you here. So you’re

Kevin Berry

Right. You’re right. So I mean the whole thing about coconut cores, you can’t find it locally because you can compress it. It’s a lot more economical to buy ship than almost any other thing. Because even if something that keep us, there’s other reasons you may not want to use the Moss, but if you’re using Piedmontese and over online, you have to order like a big bale with coconut where you can get these little breaks. I actually have them on my store, but you can get them from Amazon or wherever. It doesn’t really matter. As long as the quality of it is good and yeah, it rehydrates really nicely. And then, you know, you can have fresh in your shed or in your garage and rehydrated, it should be good for quite a few backs.

Okay, awesome. Um, now one of the things about the grow bags, cause when I was reading through your book and, and looking at the grow bags and thinking about implementing them and using them perhaps in our homestead, because I do have so much in ground garden space, but what really caught my eye is with perennials and especially perennials, that can be somewhat invasive. Um, like I was even thinking like a lot of in the earth Bailey like mint and that, and cause there’s some different varieties of mint that I would like to bring on that I don’t actually currently grow, but I’m like I have no more space in my perennial beds and I’m not going to plant it in with my annual beds. Cause I know it will just take over the entire area. So I was very intrigued by the thought of using grow bags for the perennials. And for me it’s more the containment aspect of them, um, honestly than anything else. So I know you said that you’re using them like with your peppers and stuff. Um, but any other words of wisdom with using them with the perennials? I think you said you had some of your fruit trees in them too.

Kevin Berry

Yes. Some fruit trees. What else do I have? I mean, I guess anything that [inaudible] technically you could over winter, so eggplants actually are good candidate. Um, you could do tomatoes if you really stretched it and protected it, but I know like that’s not really the spirit of your question. You’re kind of talking to more of a classic perennial. Yeah. I don’t do a ton of it. I think you could certainly, I would maybe look at artichokes. I have those in grounds. Um, much like most people grow them, but a friend of mine grew, I don’t know, maybe 20, 25 artichokes in 10 or 15 gallon roll bags. And he had those for two years. Those were completely fine. Um, another cool idea might be a perennial pollinator style plant. Right. Um, or maybe you can do herbs, something like that. I’m not super caught up on like maybe ornamental style perennials that you might, you might have her for many, many years, but you really, I mean, if you can grow in a container, you can grow into grow bag. So there’s a way to make it happen.

Melissa

Okay. Now it is porous material. And so speaking about this specifically to perennials, especially really long-lived perennials, what’s the life cycle of a bag? Like how long is it going to last, especially if it has dirt in it, you know, 24 months or 24 months out of the year. Yeah. Melissa can do math 12 months is what I was going for. Sometimes it feels like we packed 24 months to a year here. But um, anyways, but, but kind of what is the longevity or what’s the life cycle or the life span I should say of a grow bag typically.

Kevin Berry

So I’ve got all the bags I I’ve ever purchased still. Uh, that’s going on like maybe three or four years now. Now that’s of course a pocket lasts much longer than that. A plastic pot might last longer. Then again, it might start breaking down in UV if you’re dealing with terracottas I’m probably breaking 10% of my terracottas just from living. I don’t, I don’t know how it happens. It just happens. But with grow bags, I would say, as long as you take care of them, well you’re probably get at least five years out of them. It really depends on again, the quality there’s ones that are reinforced there’s ones that are made with different types of materials. Um, so I would say somewhere in the five-year range, especially if you take care of them. Okay.

Yeah. Terracotta like terracotta is beautiful, but I have to be honest living where we live, if they get moisture in them and then freeze, especially if we had like an early freeze or a late freeze that you’re not expecting, they just break and crack and then I’m a klutz, I guess. And I end up breaking and cracking them even without the freezing factor. So I don’t, I will use terracotta indoors, but I don’t, I don’t use it outside, honestly. Um, so when you were saying was like, yes, terracotta is gorgeous, but I have issues with it too. So, um, so when you were saying the different, um, like reinforced gopher reinforced grow bags, look for ones with handles, reinforced handles, especially if you think you’re going to want to be moving them, but you mentioned different materials. So if you are looking for a grow bag to use many, many seasons, but also especially with the perennial in a more long-lived perennial, um, is there a certain material that you really should be looking?

Kevin Berry

Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting because there’ll be called like a fabric pot, but it’s not made typically out of a traditional fabric. So it might be a recycled plastic. It might be more, a more sturdy type of plastic or it might be sort of like a selfish type of material. So I’d say to go with something that feels more along the lines of the belts, you’re probably going to get a little less mileage out of it. Then again, those do tend to be less expensive. So if budgets are concerned and maybe that’s the one you go with, I would say, if you’re going for perennials, you probably want to go with the more rigid ones. I know gardener supply company has these ones called reinforced grow bags. So those are a little bit easier to stand up on their own. So those spot ones can be a little floppy, but also they have this sort of exterior shell still has the air printing benefits, but it just stands out to the elements a lot more.

Kevin Berry

So those can be good. Um, you can’t really go wrong. In my opinion, with ones from smart pots, they’re really the original creator of the grow bag itself. So they popularized it. They’re made in the USA a really good company that I would trust. There’s a new one that I’ve been testing out to be determined on, on how much I like it, but it isn’t different material. It’s more of a harder plastic mesh type of thing. And that’s where brain science grow bags, interesting company name, I’m growing potatoes. And then this year we’ll see how that goes. I have a feeling they’re a little more porous. You can actually see through it. So it’s really like a true screen or mash, you know, like a woven fabric. I have a feeling that will hold up for quite some time because the actual fibers are much thicker, but I’m not sure yet because again, it’s my first season growing in them. That’s just my, my gut feeling on that.

Oh, that’s good. Um, I ha oh, it was the potatoes. I knew it’d come back to me just a second there. Um, one with the last one that you mentioned, as long as the potatoes went to the outside, but with our potatoes, we don’t really want them to get light. I should say the tubers once they begin to produce it, the potatoes themselves, uh, we don’t want that part ticket light until we’re ready to pull them out of the dirt and they get them cured for long-term storage, if that’s what we’re doing. Um, but growing potatoes in grow bags, I’ve actually had quite a few members in my academy who were limited on space, or weren’t able to go down deep into the ground to do trenches or in wanting to grow potatoes, uh, and wanted to use, uh, grow bags to do that. And I have not grown potatoes in grow bags. I’ve only done in ground, but I also wanted to ask about sweet potatoes. I can’t grow sweet potatoes here. We’re just too, too cold. So have you grown sweet potatoes in the grow bags or just regular potatoes?

Kevin Berry

To be honest with you, Melissa, I also haven’t grown sweet potatoes yet. I’ve grown them on and mentally like on accident I think, but I’ve never like structurally tried to approach growing sweet potatoes even in my climate. Not that they don’t do well here, I can for sure. Rather than, but they do even better like in the south and texts and stuff like that, like long Hanuman season. But yeah, I haven’t grown. I would say if you’re going to grow sweet potatoes, just knowing what I know about how they grow, I might go with a wide scout grow bag. That’s pretty sizable, like maybe 25 gallons. You can get sort of a short stout, one growth habit of a sweet potato compared to a potato. That’s the only thing that I would stand in a lot. I know a lot of people will grow them in those blind girls like you were mentioning.

Melissa

Okay, great. That’s a great tip. Now, as far as grow bags. So with, with regular potatoes, um, what size grow bag are you using and how many potato plants are you able to grow in that specific size?

Kevin Berry

Yeah, that’s a good question. So I would say my general rule would be every five gallons worth of grow bag. You can add one more seat potato. Okay. So, you know, if I’m, if I do grow in five gallons, which I probably have a couple, honestly just left over that I have, I just put one in and that’s totally fine because I’ll get anywhere from eight to 12 potatoes for one, usually when I’m growing depends on the variety. Then if I’ve got a 10 or 15, I’ll do two or three and just space them out as evenly as I possibly can. That’s my general rule of thumb. You’ll get, I mean, you could, you could crowd them more than that, but you’ll end up just getting more smaller potatoes rather than the last larger potatoes. That’s what I’ve seen.

Yeah. I mean, that’s true. Even in ground if people got them too close together. Yeah. And I’m with you. Like, I mean, I like harvesting them when they’re small for like the new potatoes, like, you know, little baby roasters or whatnot, but then I leave the other ones to get bigger if I don’t have them crowded. So yeah. I’m with you on that one. One of the things that with growing them in the grow bags that I think is kind of cool though, is I’m assuming like harvest is probably pretty easy. Cause you would just pull the top off when they’re done. And then as you’re going in there, you could even kind of roll that bag down so to speak as you’re getting to, after you’ve pulled the top level of potatoes out and then you just keep going deeper. Is that

Kevin Berry

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I go even more simple than that. I can even go group Foursquare. I mean, if I’m harvesting out the potato and it’s obviously underground, I’ll just dump the entire bag outings where we wheelbarrow and I’ll just kind of hunt for it. And by the time I hunted for it, I kind of mix that soil up. That’s a great point for me to add a little more Biotote or whatever fertilizer I want to use the Raymond spoils sprinkled some Holocaust or something and I just fill the bags up and plant them with something else. So it’s kind of a nice way to rejuvenate while you harvest. Uh, for me it raises more fun to go out and go hunting for them, for me.

Yeah, no, I really liked that. I’m a huge proponent of doing multiple crops per out the seasons. And so that’s a great way. Just like you said, you’re adding a little bit to the soil and then boom, you’re growing something right back in that same spot, which I think is, is the best way to garden because then you have obviously more food coming in. Um, and you’re able to get a lot more in per year, uh, with the same amount of grow space, even if it isn’t a grow bag, um, you know, really whatever growing medium you’ve chose raised, but you can do it with any, any in-ground raised by container grow bag, et cetera. So I think that’s what I love hearing about what you’re sharing is because a lot of these principles apply to no matter what growing medium you have or what style of growing you’re doing. And I think a lot of times people think that, and of course there’s best tips like we’re going through right now with the grow bags to make them more effective for you and to perform better. But most of the stuff that we’re talking about really should be done, no matter if it is a raised bed, a different type of container, you know, or even in ground.

Kevin Berry

Yeah. I mean, I think with the first book I wrote, it was kind of trying to teach him how to be a gardener, not necessarily teaching how to garden practically, right? Like how to grow tomatoes specifically, but more like how plants grow thus, you then have the knowledge to kind of learn how to grow whatever you want. And I guess it was kind of the same with the grow bag book. It was like, look, it’s of course it’s about grow bags and how to maximize your use of them and squeeze as much harvest and, and yield out as possible. But you know, if you read it with a curious mind, you’re going to pick up a lot of tips on how to garden in general, especially in containers. So yeah, I totally agree.

Melissa

Yeah. Awesome. So I think the only other question that I tend to get a lot from people and especially as they’re just getting into gardening, um, but a lot of times people are worried about, or have a misconception that you can’t really grow root crops in containers very effectively. Uh, so do you want to touch on that in regards to grow bags a little bit?

Kevin Berry

Sure. Yeah. I mean, I would say we certainly can grow potatoes. Let me just talk about not a true requirement tuber, but if you’re going to grow, I mean, radishes, turnips, those are all easy because most of those don’t even really get that deep. If you’re going to grow something like, I mean, even beets, those are, those are simple. Uh, carrots would maybe be the most challenging one. I actually, parents of all root crops are the ones I struggled with the most have the most issues with, uh, I would say generally trend towards direct sowing, every single one of those, especially the carrots I’ve transplanted everything just to see if I can not really worth it, especially in the grow bag. Um, so if you’re going to grow the carrots, for example, direct. So, um, I would personally mulch right over the top of the planting just to keep it moist because that’s been my biggest problem with carrots, all these other root crops, beets, uh, radishes, turnips, things like that. The seed is large enough to kind of weather the storm if it dries out a little bit, whatever, not a big deal, but I with carrots, yeah, I would certainly a nice, fine mix, you know, maybe like a loamy Sandy type of mix and then make sure you germinate appropriately, make sure you’ve been, and really it’s no different at that point than been growing in the grounding. My experience. I don’t know what you think.

Yeah, no, I’m with you. I, uh, we have grown, I haven’t grown carrots in a container, but I’ve done garlic. I’ve done. Yeah. A lot of them. And it’s really just making sure that you have picked a container that’s deep enough soil depth for the root crop, because if you’re picking a shallow versus deep container, uh, like you said, that may behoove you more for a sweet potato, but if you’re trying to grow a carrot, that’s gonna, you know, all of it’s going down Tepe and you have this little short thing, then you’re going to get really short stunted carrots. So I think it’s just knowing the crop that you’re planting its best requirements in order for it to grow to its best ability and then providing that. And so a large deep, or even not necessarily large, but a deep container for those root crops. Um, we’ve had a lot of success actually. In fact, that was how I grew garlic for a number of years.

Kevin Berry

Oh yeah. Oh, what kind of container were you using for the garlic?

Uh, but it hasn’t actually just, we had some left over Cedar planks from actually got him used from a friend we were building, it was back when my kids were really little and he built them like this little Playhouse and we just had some Ondine lumber leftover. And so he just smacked together some containers and they were like, I think here, I think there were two feet deep. Um, and yeah, I grew actually I grew garlic and um, tomatoes together. And then because the tomatoes would just really starting to be hit their max height when it was time for me to pull out the garlic, uh, the way that they grew here. And so I did that for a couple of years before we expanded and, and put in the garden, you know, structure that we have now. Wow.

Kevin Berry

That’s amazing. Yeah. I’ve been having a lot of fun this year with, with garlic. I think I’ll finally have like a pretty legitimate Arvest compared to some of my other times I just had such a hard time with it, um, due to all sorts of different things. So it’s, it’s cool to hear that you did it and also did it in containers, but yeah, I mean, I think what you said is correct. If you are going to grow carrots and really all you have is like a short grow bag, you still can grow me. You can grow like a Parisian style, like ball style carrot, which basically grow grows as deep and in the same shape as a radish. Right. So there’s still ways to make it work. But I think your general point yeah. Grab a deep container for a deep rooted plant, obviously.

Yeah. Well, I am excited to bring on some grow bags and to use them here. I just, haven’t, it’s a medium, I just haven’t grown much with, but I think that they really offer a lot. And especially as you said, we talked about earlier is that air pruning factor. I’m really fascinated by that. So I’m kind of excited to test it out on some different plants, but there’s actually a lot more, um, you know, nuances and things with the grow bags that, that you share in the book. So we’ll definitely link to your book guys, um, because it’s, there’s just a lot of great knowledge in there of grow bags that are the way that you’re going to want to grow. Um, I was fascinated with lots of, lots of good stuff in there and as well as planting charts like that, the plant and it’s specific to which size and the different grow bags, like how you could put different plants in there. So if that is you’re like, all I can do is growing in containers because I do have, you know, a small area that I’m growing in. Um, you can really maximize and you did a great job laying that out in the book. I thought that was really well done. But is there any parting things about grow bags or people kind of following your journey that you would like to share?

Kevin Berry

Sure. The book’s pretty simple. It’s just called a grow bag and gardening is difficult if you want to go buy it on Amazon though, because when you type in pro X come up. So if you just have my name Kevin, and I’m sure that’ll be in the podcast and you’ll find it there. Um, what else in the book? There’s, there’s a lot actually on different types of plans. I do have some interesting plant guides, like kind of a lemon grass, raspberries, blackberries themed bags, like a bag for bringing in pollinators it’s mobile. Right? So you can move it to areas that might need a little pollination boost and put something that attracts a lot of pollinators with like lavender or something, and then put that next year you’re squash or something like that. And you sort of migrated pollinators right. To a specific area. So there’s a lot of different, little interesting twists that you can use, but yeah, I mean, yeah, besides the book, everything’s just a gardening. If you want to plug into what I’m doing, just call it a gardening or epic homesteading on YouTube. Also have that channel now. So yeah, that’s it.

Okay, awesome. Yeah, you guys definitely need to follow we’ll follow all the places, but honestly, the epic gardening on Instagram is one of my favorite. Uh, you do great little, uh, like kind of little short videos, but they’re like jam packed with really good gardening info and inspiration as well. So it’s, I have to say actually, and I’m not being paid to say this. I promise it’s probably one of my favorite gardening channels. Um, of all the ones that I follow that I, that I actually keep following and get I’ll uh, I’ll wire you money tomorrow. I appreciate that. Yeah, no, really good work there. So thank you so much for coming on Kevin. And yet we will have links to everything that Kevin mentioned to, uh, in the show notes. So thank you.

Kevin Berry

Thanks. Always great to be on the show.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed that episode as a much as I did. And for those of you who are members

Of the pioneering today academy, we are having a guest video lesson on grow bags in depth tutorial from Kevin in our gardening course, which is part of the pioneering today academy membership. So be on the lookout for that. And if you’re not a pioneering today, academy member go and check that out at Melissa [inaudible] dot com forward slash PTA for pioneering today academy, right? Let’s get our sports slash P T a and you will find out lots of information, all about the membership and a member. Thank you guys so much for joining me today. I can’t wait to be back here with you next week. Blessings and Mason jars for now, my friend.

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Brazil Senate pushes forward with probe of Bolsonaro’s Covid-19 response – World News

Brazil’s Senate on Tuesday launched a probe into President Jair Bolsonaro‘s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The congressional investigation, known by its Portuguese acronym as a CPI, can result in a number of actions, including the referral of possible wrongdoing to law enforcement. In practice, the inquiry is a political headache for Bolsonaro, who is already facing record disapproval amid Brazil’s worst coronavirus wave.

Senate leader Rodrigo Pacheco said on Tuesday that a congressional inquiry into the federal response to the pandemic would be combined with a probe into how federal resources were distributed to states. Some Bolsonaro-aligned lawmakers had pushed for an inquiry to probe how states and municipalities have handled the pandemic, though Pacheco argued such a move could infringe on the jurisdiction of state assemblies.

The Covid-19 pandemic is pushing Brazil’s medical system to the limit in many parts of the country, partly due to the so-called P1 variant, which many medical experts believe is particularly infectious and deadly.

Some 3,808 Brazilians died of Covid-19 on Tuesday alone, according to Health Ministry data, bringing the total death toll to over 358,000, the second highest in the world behind the United States.

Moreover, victims are getting younger with over 50% of intensive care beds occupied by patients under 40 years old, according to a study published over the weekend by the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine.

Bolsonaro has drawn widespread criticism for his approach to the coronavirus, which he has described as a “little flu.” He has repeatedly ignored calls of health experts to wear masks and railed against the use of lockdown measures.

Angered by attempts to have him investigated, Bolsonaro has blasted lawmakers. A Supreme Court judge ruled last week that enough senators had backed an inquiry into the government’s pandemic response to launch the probe despite stalling by Senate leadership.

How to Grow the Best Vegetable Garden

Are you looking for ways to cut back on your waistline and benefit the world at the same time? Why not start up a high-quality vegetable garden? Doing so can cut back on your food container use—a huge benefit, as an average container travels at least 75% of the way to the moon and back during its travel across the ocean, and eating home-grown vegetables decreases the number of containers used.

Health Benefits of A Vegetable Garden


As you grow older, high-quality food is more important than ever. For instance, at least 80% of American seniors have one chronic disease. Cut back on these problems by growing vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals.

For example, broccoli and spinach can provide you with protein to regrow muscles and avoid injury. Carrots and other similar foods help with skin health and vision strength. Try to stream your vegetables when eating them and cook only when fully ripe to get the best results for your health.

Let There Be Light


The vegetables that you plant will need a pretty steady supply of UV light to stay strong. This is because plants use UV rays and other elements of the sun to produce food to grow. Without a strong sun position for your growth, you may end up with vegetables that aren’t as strong as you may want.

Don’t forget to balance your sunlight needs with a garden that has a manageable area for you to walk. Or try square foot gardening. Typically, you’ll want a garden positioned far from trees or buildings that could cast shadows. But they should also be close to flowers to ensure bees pollinate them.

Rich Soil is Key


Your soil must be kept in excellent condition if you want to grow vegetables rich in vitamins and taste. Without healthy soil, your plants will grow poorly and slowly and have minimal nutrients. Make sure to fertilize before you plant to give your soil this boost of health.

Just as importantly, you need to make sure you rotate where you plant to avoid draining the soil of nutrients. It would help if you could choose different places throughout your yard every year or so, trying to focus your nutrient drain so that your yard remains solid and consistent.

Water and Weed


Read up on how much water your vegetables need every day and make sure to give them an amount that makes sense. Avoid over-watering because you can waterlog the roots and kill the plants. Most of the time, they’ll need just enough so that the surface of the dirt is damp but not pooling.

When weeding, make sure to be on the lookout for poison ivy and other similar plants. These weeds can be found in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. And they typically trigger allergic reactions (rashes) in about 85% of the population, meaning you’re very likely to be affected.

Plant the Right Crops


Many homeowners make the mistake of planting items they think look cute or appealing without thinking about practical use. For example, it’s no use in planting and picking onions if your family won’t eat them.

So try to focus on vegetables that you know your family will like, such as high-quality tomatoes, beans, cauliflower, and more. Ensure that you fully understand the different ways you can prepare and cook these vegetables, such as integrating them as a side or as a main course.

Get Your Garden Looking Great


When you take these simple steps, you create the kind of vegetables that your family will love. And you’ll save money and help the environment at the same time. What more could you ask for with such a simple hobby? So go out there and plant some vegetables, and get picking.

Image credit: via StoryBlocks

Lanzarote International Regatta – 49er and FX classes split to gold and silver fleets – Sailweb

First day of the Final Series for the 49er and 49erFX fleets, who are split into Gold and Silver fleets. The Nacra 17 class continue as one fleet.

Now that the final series phase of the Lanzarote International Regatta has started the object is to stay in the top 10, who will compete in the Medal races on Friday.

Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez dominate the 49er event, with another best of the day scoreline – 1,2,1 – to take a 13 point lead after 12 races.

Norway’s Jonas Warrer and Jakob Jensen (8,3,3)  are in second place with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Ireland in third place after another good day, spoilt by another UFD.

All four British 49er entries made the cut and are in the gold fleet, with Chris Taylor and Rhos Hawes (7,20,13) in fourth place and four points ahead of Olympic Team GB sailors Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (19,7,6) in fifth place.

In the women’s 49erFX, Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (8,1,5) extend their lead to 16 points.

Moving from fifth to second place are the Kiwi pair, Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meach (6,2,8) with Ida Nielsen and Maria Thursgaard (2,16,1) of Denmark up into third pl;ace, tied on 39 points with the American pair, Stephanie Roble and Margaret Shea (9,18,3).

While Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (3,10,22) gain a place to 14th overall and are 14 points off the medal race.

In the Nacra 17 multihull fleet, Spain’s Tara Pacheco and Florian Trittel 1,1,2) stretch their lead to 11 points after 12 races.

Germany’s Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (4,7,1) are second and Quentin Delapierre and Manon Audinet (16,6,9) of France are in third place.

49erFX Women – International Regatta – Gold Leaders after 12 races, 1 discard (46 entries)

1st BRA12 MARTINE GRAEL and KAHENA KUNZE – – 8 1 5 – – 39 pts
2nd NZL16 ALEXANDRA MALONEY and MOLLY MEECH – – 6 2 8 – – 55 pts
3rd DEN11 IDA M.BAAD NIELSEN and MARIE THUSGAARD – – 2 16 1 – – 59 pts
4th USA3 STEPHANIE ROBLE and MARGARET SHEA – – 9 18 3 – – 59 pts
5th NED8 ANNEMIEK BEKKERING and ANNETTE DUETZ – – 11 5 18 – – 64 pts
6th BEL240 ISAURA MAENHAUT and ANOUK GEURTS – – 10 12 12 – – 78 pts
7th CRO112 ENIA NINCEVIC and MIHAELA ZJENA – – 18 3 17 – – 80 pts
8th NOR26 HELENE NÆSS and MARIE RØNNINGEN – – 24 9 21 – – 81 pts
9th ESP1 TAMARA ECHEGOYEN and PAULA BARCELÓ – – 12 13 10 – – 83 pts
10th GER29 TINA LUTZ and SUSANN BEUCKE – – 4 7 7 – – 87 pts

49er Men – International Regatta – Gold Leaders after 12 races, 1 discard (42 entries)

1st ESP97 DIEGO BOTÍN LE CHEVER and IAGO LÓPEZ MARRA – – 1 2 1 – – 22 pts
2nd DEN7 JONAS WARRER and JAKOB PRECHT JENSEN – – 8 3 3 – – 35 pts
3rd IRL99 ROBERT DICKSON and SEAN WADDILOVE – – 3 1 ufd – – 58 pts
4th GBR284 CHRIS TAYLOR and RHOS HAWES – – 7 20 13 – – 60 pts
5th GBR8 DYLAN FLETCHER and STU BITHELL – – 19 7 6 – – 64 pts
6th NED49 BART LAMBRIEX and PIM VAN VUGT – – 5 6 9 – – 73 pts
7th AUT29 BENJAMIN BILDSTEIN and DAVID HUSSL – – 14 8 8 – – 80 pts
8th CRO83 SIME FANTELA and MIHOVIL FANTELA – – 6 21 ufd – – 81 pts
9th SUI77 SEBASTIEN SCHNEITER and LUCIEN CUJEAN – – 2 13 20 – – 93 pts
10th IRL11 RYAN SEATON and SEAFRA GUILFOYLE – – 13 11 14 – – 94 pts

Nacra 17 Mixed – International Regatta – Leaders after 12 races, 1 discard (20 entries)

1st ESP28 TARA PACHECO and FLORIAN TRITTEL – – 1 1 2 – – 30 pts
2nd GER77 PAUL KOHLHOFF and ALICA STUHLEMMER – – 4 7 1 – – 41 pts
3rd FRA56 QUEN.DELAPIERRE and MANON AUDINET – – 19 6 9 – – 57 pts
4th SWE44 JÄRUDD EMIL and JONSSON CECILIA – – 9 5 7 – – 58 pts
5th FIN27 SINEM KURTBAY and JANNE JARVINE – – 2 3 6 – – 71 pts
6th FRA51 TIM MOURNIAC and NOA ANCIAN – – 7 11 3 – – 79 pts
7th DEN71 LIN CENHOLT and CP LUBECK – – 3 4 4 – – 94 pts
8th NOR41 N.FADLER MARTINSEN and M.STELLER MORTENSEN – – 6 9 10 – – 96 pts
9th JPN459 SHIBUKI IITSUKA and ERI HATAYAMA – – 12 8 14 – – 98 pts
10th SWE436 IDA SVENSSON and MARCUS DACKHAMMAR – – 5 2 5 – – 99 pts

Chronicle of a storm foretold – the 2021 Portuguese presidential election

At the peak of the pandemic, with Portugal recording the worst numbers of new cases and daily deaths in the world for a fortnight, the Portuguese were called upon to elect the President of the Republic. Unsurprisingly, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the incumbent president of the centre-right, was re-elected with 60% of the votes and the turn out registered a (perhaps higher than expected) decrease (39.2%). After an atypical campaign the far-right candidate, with almost half a million votes (11.9%), failed to reach the goal of ranking second, just overtaken by Ana Gomes, member of the Socialist Party (PS) and former MEP, who ran without the support of her own party, obtaining 13% of the votes. João Ferreira and Marisa Matias, both MEPs representing the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Bloco de Esquerda (BE) respectively, achieved poor results of around 4%.

The re-election of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the Portuguese political centre

After five years as president, in a mandate characterised by a smooth relationship with the government formed by the Socialist Party with parliamentary agreement of the BE and the PCP, Rebelo de Sousa presented himself in these elections as “a one-man candidacy”, trying to distance himself from any party support. Coming from the centre-right party, PSD, of which he is former president, minister and MP, he had not only the official support of his party, but also of the conservative right-wing party (CDS) and the veiled support of the Socialists whose government has had, since its election in 2019, the abetment of Rebelo de Sousa. Although on the election night Rebelo de Sousa presented himself alone in the traditional declaration of victory, the presidents of all the three parties were quick to welcome his re-election, in an obvious attempt to claim for themselves and for the political centre a supposed role in this victory. However, a survey carried out at the exit poll showed that Rebelo de Sousa, who became known by the “president of affections” for his sympathy with the people in distress throughout his past term, managed to reap approval across the political spectrum.
In the particular context of this election, marked by the debut of a far-right candidate, the reading of the expressive vote for Rebelo de Sousa as a reinforcement of the political centre may be fraught with a certain degree of myopia. On the one hand, the weak and erratic leadership of the centre-right party tends to promote the radicalisation of its vote. It is important to point out that: at the end of last year, for the constitution of the regional government of the Azores, PSD signed a parliamentary agreement with the far-right party Chega! (Enough!), raising it not only to the status of a political interlocutor, but even to an ally. On the other hand, the temptation to rescue an increasingly orphaned centre-right party prevented the Socialist Party to support a candidate from its political area, which, in practice, resulted in its resignation from assuming any role in the barrage to the rise of the far-right something that could only make the party’s founders, who fought so hard against Salazar’s dictatorship, blush with shame.

The vote on the leader of the far-right and the political reconfiguration of the Portuguese right

The second winner of the evening, although failing to achieve all the goals set throughout the campaign, was the messianic leader of the newly created far-right party, André Ventura. Elected in the 2019 parliamentary elections with almost 68,000 votes (1.3%), Ventura received almost half a million votes (11.9%) in this presidential election. Taking on a truculent, bullyish and rude tone throughout the campaign, in a homemade version of Trump and Bolsonaro that could count on the support of Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini, Ventura focused on the attack against his left-wing opponents and against the weakest in society (whom he classified as “allowance-dependents living at the expense of the people who work”, with a special focus on the Portuguese Roma communities). The exploitation of resentment, labelled by Jacques Rancière in a recent opinion article as “la passion de l’inégalité [“the passion of inequality”] which allows, rich and poor, to find a crowd of inferiors over whom they must, at all costs, maintain their superiority”[1] , is perhaps the key to the success of Ventura’s narrative, in a country that has barely emerged from a deep social and economic crisis and is already on the verge of plunging into a new one, and where Romanophobia has reigned for centuries. Stating that, if elected, he would be the president of the “Portuguese of good will”, Ventura further assumed the aim to impose a new constitution, the basis of a Portuguese IV Republic in line with the narrative of the anti-establishment party.
The expressive vote in Ventura may be translated into a very significant increase of the Chega! party in future parliamentary elections. According to practically all recent polls, Venturas party is competing for the third political force with the BE. Such an outcome would represent a serious problem for the traditional right parties, as it is from them that Chega! would get the overwhelming majority of its electoral base. It must be noted that Ventura was once a PSD member and, by the hand of its former leader and Prime Minister during the Troika years, Pedro Passos Coelho, was elected city councillor in a municipality in the Lisbon region his test balloon of an anti-Roma discourse. Also, the party’s number two and its ideologue, Diogo Pacheco de Amorim, was a member of a far-right bomber network[2] active during the revolutionary period and, later, a member of CDS. After the 1974 Revolution, the far-right didn’t just vanish as if by magic. Fearful, ashamed or timid, the far-right lacked, above all, a consistent political project, today represented by the Chega! In one word, the new far-right will host the old one. Since the arrival of the Chega!, CDS has been falling sharply in polls, being currently reduced to 0.8% of voting intentions (against the 4.2% it obtained in the 2019 national elections). Moreover, knowing that the dispute for its largest share of electorate takes place within the traditional right, Ventura on the night of the presidential elections was very clear when he said: “PSD, listen, you will only be in government with the support of the Chega!” An appeal for an alliance with PSD at national level, with some allure to its most radical electorate.
Ventura harvested his most important results in rural areas, including Alentejo, a traditionally communist region. The temptation of pundits and political analysts to refer a communist vote transfer to the far-right candidate is huge but, for the time being, lacks any scientific support. Indeed, the correlation[3] between the results of the communist party in the legislative elections of 2015 and 2019 and the result of Ventura in this presidential election in the Alentejo region shows that André Ventura has worse results where the communist party is stronger.

The left candidates

In the aftermath of the election night, Marisa Matias, who scored 3.9% (less than the half of her score in 2016), took the defeat without any subterfuge. Calling for solidarity and the affirmation of democracy as insurmountable milestones, Matias ended the campaign when none of the left candidacies had reason to celebrate. Although symbolically important, the second place of Gomes (PS) was neither expressive nor brilliant, reaching 12.9% 10 percentage points less than the counterpart candidacy in 2016. On the side of PCP, João Ferreira gathered 4.3% of the votes, with the rhetorical consolation of overcoming the previous candidacy, but with the evidence that his notoriety and his place in the party are not comparable to those of the previous candidate. Currently, Ferreira is one of the most prominent figures in PCP and will likely be the general secretary in the near future.
PCP’s and the BE’s candidacies stood for election under very different circumstances. PCP was facing its first election after enabling a controversial state budget, granting minimum stability to the current Socialist government. On the other hand, BE had taken the opposing stance, considering that the government’s budget did not meet minimal conditions for its approval, on the grounds of being conservative and insufficient to face the pandemic situation. Somehow, the guidelines for each candidacy reflected these differences: João Ferreira presented himself with a state stance, insisting on the defence of the constitution as the fundamental law and the visible heritage of the Carnation Revolution; Marisa Matias waving the flags of the National Health System, the forgotten precariat and the feminist, antiracist and lgbtq+ causes. Both candidates come out defeated, with different causes and repercussions.

The strategic withdrawal of the Socialist Party

The PS in government did not present an own candidate. Faced with the announced victory of the incumbent president, hitchhiking from a mandate made out of complicity and very rare dissonance, the Prime Minister took refuge in a biased neutrality, implicating his party in its entirety. Ana Gomes, with a strong public commitment to fight corruption, managed her candidacy without the official presence of her party. She polarised the vote with the far-right and mobilised a substantial proportion of progressive left and centre-left voters in order to win second place. Although her result represents a tangential victory over her opponent’s reactionary populism, she had limited success in winning votes from the left. Even one of the most mobilising moments of the campaign, prompted by Ventura’s sexist commentary on Marisa Matias’ red lipstick in one of his speeches, might have reverted to Ana Gomes. The solidarity wave of Vermelho em Belém (Red in Belém, Belém being the presidential palace), which invaded the media and surpassed borders, ended up highlighting the urgency in repudiating reactionary sexism at the polls, channeling the vote to those who appeared as the most capable of dethroning it. By not achieving a significant result, Gomes and the left of PS leave the party alone in the race for the centre, before the growing seduction of the centre-right by the electoral performances of the far-right.

The discrete defeat of the João Ferreira

João Ferreira (PCP) stood for election as one of the most likely personalities to lead the Communist party’s destiny in the near future. It is inevitable to think of an exercise in public legitimisation of the political figure of Ferreira, always well prepared, with a sober and objective campaign focused on the institutional exaltation and safeguard of the constitution. The competence of his performance does not, however, conceal the fragility of his proposal, which neither confronted nor called into question the political and social guidelines of the government. The Communist candidacy, despite constituting a fundamental political space, by placing the fundamental law at the centre of its discourse, becomes limited to a political minimum. The Communist candidate addressed, almost exclusively, his party hosts.

Dribbling around adversities with Marisa Matias

The historic result in the 2016 presidential, in which Matias ranked third with 10% of the votes, makes the 2021 results harder to accept. The scant 3.9% of votes underscore the difficulty of left mobilisation in this campaign: three candidacies running for the same electorate, narrowed by the Socialist Party’s leaning towards the reappointment of the current president. In the midst of the pandemic, Matias was prevented from taking the space where she is strongest: the street, the direct contact with people, the fulfilment of proposals made and supported directly by the actors concerned. Campaigning actions with health professionals, informal caregivers, workers struggling for their jobs, important milestones in the affirmation of left policies were assuaged and stifled by the pandemic context.
With emphasis on strengthening the public health system, targeting the forgotten of the pandemic and voicing the growing precariousness, the campaign stressed the importance of a left-wing alternative that does not exhaust in this election.

A storm foretold… and beyond

In the struggle against the far-right it is very hard to avoid the trap of “expansion through struggle”: the more infamous the proposal and the more strident the blunder, the more reactive is the tendency of those who have not resigned, leading indignation to spread the message and multiple the impact. In the aftermath of the Trump era and with social networks as stage, politics is experiencing a vicious circle: struggling ends up favouring the phenomenon fought. The far-right political agenda is becoming increasingly normalised, with the instrumental help of the traditional right’s greed for power, always tempted by coalitions and alliances which have proven suicidal in several parts of the world. In this regard, this Portuguese election is a perfect example.
The confirmation of the success of the far-right leader in Portugal replicates the profile of the sensationalist and unscrupulous television pundit turned into the leading actor in a dangerous plot. The collective and spontaneous reaction to the insult of the “red-lipped candidate” became a magnifying factor of Marisa Matias’ campaign, with painted lips invading public space with the concise force of a hashtag: #VermelhoEmBelém (#RedInBelém). At the end of the day, though we cannot know to which extent this might have strengthen the far-right candidate, we take for granted that this is surely a fragile harbour in face of the foretold storm.
With an uncertain future ahead, the path to be taken by the Socialist government, decisively placed at the political centre through this election, remains to be determined. With the old traditional right magnetised by the electoral fanaticism of the new far-right, with a Communist party attached to the stability of the current government, the fear regarding the country’s course after the pandemic increases. The Socialists occupation of the centre will bring about the consolidation of the liberal hegemony, further facilitated by the rise of the far-right. Such a political situation will require a popular response as well as to work towards organising the struggle against the ordinary vultures of the crisis.

[1] In the original: “celle qui permet également aux riches et aux pauvres de se trouver une multitude d’inférieurs sur lesquels ils doivent à tout prix conserver leur supériorité.”
Jacques Rancière, “Les fous et les sages – reflexions sur l fin de la présidence de Trump” Analyse Opinion Critique, 15.1.2021.

[2] The Democratic Liberation Movement of Portugal (Movimento Democrático de Libertação de Portugal) was a far-right political organisation with connections to the Catholic Church, aiming at putting an end to the revolutionary process that lasted from the 25th April 1974 until the 25th November 1975. The organisation was eventually dissolved in 1976.

[3] From Pedro Magalhães, political scientist, Twitter account

Sargassum on the beach is one problem; disposing of it is another

Some of the sargassum collected from the Caribbean Sea and Quintana Roo beaches is ending up in clandestine dump sites, a practice that poses environmental risks.

The number of such places has increased due to the lack of official landfill sites, the newspaper Milenio reported.

The director of the Puerto Morelos branch of Zofemat, the federal office of maritime land zones, condemned the dumping of sargassum in unauthorized locations. “They can’t just dump it on any property … or beside the highway,” Gerardo Rosas said, referring to people who offer sargassum disposal services to authorities and beachfront businesses such as hotels and restaurants.

He added that Zofemat has also detected the disposal of the seaweed in mangrove areas. “That causes a direct impact on the ecosystem, on the wetlands,” Rosas said.

Using specially-designed sargassum-gathering vessels, the navy collects the seaweed from the Caribbean sea off the coast of Quintana Roo and deposits it at the end of each day in containers on docks, Milenio reported. Municipal authorities are then tasked with disposing of the seaweed on land. But they sometimes subcontract the job to people offering disposal services and they dump the sargassum in areas where it shouldn’t be discarded. Such sites don’t have geomembranes – synthetic liners – that prevent toxic liquids called leachates from seeping into the soil.

“Studies tell us that [sargassum] produces leachates [when it decomposes] and it has a high arsenic content,” said navy sargassum strategy coordinator Alejandro López Zenteno. “So how [sargassum] is managed at the time of disposal on land is very important to avoid damage to the water table.”

Managing the seaweed this sargassum season has been a challenge as huge amounts have washed up on Quintana Roo’s coastline. As a result, authorized landfill sites have been overwhelmed by the weed.

The Quintana Roo sargassum monitoring network’s latest map shows eight Quintana Roo beaches with excessive amounts of sargassum, 33 with abundant amounts and 13 with moderate coverage of the smelly brown seaweed. That’s a significant improvement compared to late May when 50 beaches were plagued by excessive amounts.

Two of the beaches that currently have excessive amounts and six of those with abundant quantities are located on the east coast of Cozumel, an island off the coast of Playa del Carmen. Local Zofemat director Marco Antonio Loeza Pacheco acknowledged that the quantity of sargassum that has reached Cozumel this year has exceeded expectations. Over three tonnes of the weed have been removed from beaches in recent days, he said Monday.

A truck was recently seen dumping sargassum on a Cozumel street, confirming that the improper disposal of the weed is not a problem limited to the Quintana Roo mainland. Loeza urged hotels and beach clubs to consult with authorities so that the sargassum they collect can be disposed of in a place where it won’t pose a risk to the environment.

With reports from Milenio and El Sol de México 

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