California's Mediterranean climate is ideal for growing the dried beans that Native Americans, Asians, people from the Middle East other cultures have grown and eaten for centuries. Sadly, delicious and nutritious heirloom beans have some weaknesses - the plants are naturally smaller and produce fewer beans than today's "improved" varieties. Traditional varieties get diseases that weaken them and further reduce their production. In this episode, we see - and sample - more than a dozen heirloom beans. We see how the beans are grown, harvested, cleaned, and packaged for market. We also see the work of breeders who, with farmers, seek to strengthen the traditional varieties. The goal is to save their delicious flavors, while increasing the harvest, both on the farm and in the garden.
Miniature gardens are the huge! There's a miniature garden for everyone, from railroad gardens to fairy gardens, traditional Asian spiritual gardens, to the tiny gardens that surround buildings constructed from Legos! In this episode, we visit the range of miniature gardens to enjoy their whimsy as we discover how they are carefully designed and meticulously constructed. Host Nan Sterman tries her hand at making miniature gardens, too!
In America, 40 percent of all the food produced goes uneaten, including BILLIONS of pounds of fruits and vegetables wasted on farms alone. That number doesn't includes produce thrown away in cafeterias, restaurants, and institutions, nor produce wasted by the biggest source - our own home kitchens. Wasting produce wastes water, wastes fertilizer, wastes money, and on and on. The produce ends up in the landfill where it generates the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. And increased demand for farmland encroaches on native habitats too. In an era with rampant food insecurity, it is shameful to waste so much. What's the solution? We unravel this complicated story as we follow the paths of wasted produce from farm to market, home to landfill. Along the way, we meet individuals and organizations working hard to stem the flow, both on a large scale and in our homes, too.
Come along on an armchair tour of Southern California's amazing wildflower "super bloom" of winter 2018/2019. We start, with a day hike through the rolling wilds of Riverside County, accompanied by a scientist who a California wildflower expert. We visit Anza Borrego Desert with a local naturalist, explore the fringes of urban Poway, and accompany field biologists monitoring wildflowers and other plants repopulating fire-ravaged Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Everywhere we go, you'll be amazed and delighted by the diversity of annual flowers in explosive bloom.
If you want to garden but don't have the space or don't want to go it alone, don't give up! Like many other regions of the country, San Diego County is home to dozens of community gardens. In these collections of small plots, friends and neighbors grow a bounty of produce; sometimes enough to sell at local farmer's market or through Community Supported Agriculture. Community gardens are where people and families of all ages, cultures, and experiences grow together and learn from one another. Over time, strangers become family and families become community. In this show, we visit a variety of community gardens and celebrate the communities that thrive in these shared spaces.
Who doesn't love a delicious peach, a juicy pluot, or a tangy apricot - especially when picked right off the tree. New varieties appear in the nursery every year, each more delicious than the last. In this episode of A Growing Passion, we taste our way through the experimental orchard of internationally renowned Zaiger Genetics, Modesto, California fruit tree breeders who revolutionized the world of stone fruits, apples, Asian pears, and almonds.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Aloha Spirit captivated Southern Californians. While the Beach Boys sang about surfing, homeowners planted Plumeria in their gardens. These big, tropical-looking plants produce fragrant, colorful flowers that are a staple of Hawaiian leis, despite their arid Mexican origins. Over the years, Plumeria popularity waned, but has recently made a comeback.
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