At the Huntington Library's Ranch Garden, Planet Earth Observatory partners with scientists, artists, gardeners and others to create opportunities for people to deeply observe and engage with nature. We make room to discuss the cultural and culinary traditions of climate-friendly heritage foods that are grown by gardeners and farmers around Metro L.A.’s many diverse communities. In the process, we consider complex subjects including the climate crisis and food equity.
Four raised beds at the Huntington Ranch Garden provide us with an opportunity to step away from Eurocentric crops, to sample a taste of history and honor the agricultural heritage of Californias of Asian ancestry. Some of the crops we are growing include bitter melon, yard long beans, pigeon peas, Chinese cucumber and peppers, Japanese eggplant and Vietnamese coriander. We consider how to mitigate the effects of climate change by practicing regenerative gardening practices such as compost, compost extracts and teas, mulch, companion planting, intercropping, crop rotation, drought and heat tolerant varieties. We are also experimenting with ollas and other methods to learn how to conserve water and deeply irrigate our plants.
At this site hedgerows serve as host plants for pollinators and other beneficials that engage with our vegetable and fruit crops. By planting native hedgerows around these four raised beds, we help create a more balanced ecosystem designed to improve plant and wildlife health - both which ultimately comes from the results of healthy soil.
At the Huntington Library’s Ranch Garden, we create opportunities to better understand how extreme weather affects the food we grow in community, school, and home gardens around Los Angeles. We use regenerative gardening practices to build healthy soil, reduce greenhouse gasses and address issues of food and environmental justice.
Anyone can learn to deeply observe nature. All it takes is time, curiosity, and a sense of wonder.