One of the realities of living in the Bay Area is navigating the influence that wildfire season has on our food growing. Whether directly impacted by fires or indirectly by smoke, there are small things we all can do to protect ourselves during this season.
First, it’s important to consider the impact that wildfires can have on our gardens. Ash from wildfires can float and land on your plants and the plants can also absorb toxins that fire releases into the air. Even your garden soil can be impacted. Post-fire soil contaminants can inhibit plant growth and soil health. So what can you do to prevent consuming toxins from fires?
One key way to prevent consuming toxins from fires is by washing! Before and after harvesting veggies from your garden, you should wash your hands. And we recommend washing your veggies right before eating to remove any ash or toxins (washing fruits & veggies and then storing them for later can make them decay faster, so it’s best to rinse right before eating). Even washing the farm fresh veggies from City Slicker Farm’s Town Fridge (on the corner of Peralta St. & Helen St.) is suggested.
Some food growers caution against washing your vegetables at all, as it changes the taste and texture of some vegetables after they are washed. However, we say it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you wash your food gently and correctly right before eating, the taste and texture should relatively stay the same. Below are some tips on how to wash differently textured produce. To learn more about food growing during fire season visit our Gardening During Fire Season website, linked below!
For more washing tips and details visit https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4336e/