Greening up

Planting peppers

Earth Day (today) is a good reminder for all of us to take stock of our efforts to reduce our impact on the planet, and find ways to make our activities more sustainable. At FISHBIO, our favorite kind of sustainability is “grow your own,” and our preferred way to “go green” is to spend time in our Oakdale garden. Earlier this month, we planted our garden with the usual abundance of peppers and tomatoes, onions and garlic, asparagus and artichokes, and several potato sprout “volunteers” that emerged from last year’s crop. Even though our garden area has expanded, we seem to keep filling the planter boxes as fast as we can build them, and have already stuffed several wine-barrel planters with strawberries and herbs.

We also planted an assortment of new fruit trees in our growing and eclectic orchard, including cherry, a plum-cherry cross (ever heard of a pluerry?), pomelo, papaya, mango, avocado, dragon fruit, persimmon, pomegranate, and pecan. These mouth-watering additions bring our total to 100 trees, and supplement our varied collection that already includes peaches, pluots, plums, olives, nectarines, oranges, lemons, tangerines, figs and kiwis. Staff from our Mekong team are already threatening to eat the fragrant leaves right off our new kaffir lime tree. Last week, we made an inventory of our trees and labeled them with aluminum tags to keep them all straight. We’ve also planted a number of berry bushes to help make some of our favorite pepper jellies, and maybe even some pies. One of our next activities will be breaking ground to grow hops along the side of our building – we’re looking forward to some shade, and eventually more home brew.

Planting trees

Even as our garden is expanding, we’re conscious of trying to reduce the size of our water footprint during this extreme drought. Our mission is to do more with less, and as a starting point we’ve cut our watering time in half, and will slowly ratchet it up as needed. Other improvements include replacing leaky hoses, investigating rain catchment, and standardizing all of our drip irrigation. We’re also looking into installing more water-efficient appliances and solar panels, as well as replacing our lawn with a dry streambed and native plants. It’s all part of our effort to keep our operations flourishing, sustainable, and green.