Cleaning and greening Earth

When I walk my dog, I carry a plastic bag and collect my pet’s waste to throw away. Is there a more environmentally sound way to dispose of my dog’s waste?

You’re correct to assume that the ground is not the proper place to dispose of your pet’s waste. But good treehuggers steer clear of plastic bags. Plastic is the anti-buzzword right now, as the material does not readily break down in landfills. So by even holding a plastic bag, you’re destroying your reputation as a savvy greenie. After all, it’s all about proving your greenness by that which you buy and possess. Visit to purchase biodegradable dog-waste bags to carry with you instead of plastic ($4.99 for 50 bags). You’re right to pick up the pet’s waste. It can contaminate our water system by entering water runoff and eventually getting into streams and rivers. That’s why the city of Sacramento set up dog-waste stations in Tahoe Park, McKinley Park, Jefferson Park, Glenn Hall Park and William Land Park.

I want to plant an organic garden rather than buying produce in the supermarket. What should I do to ensure a healthy start to my garden?

Great question. Growing produce yourself ensures that no gas was guzzled to bring that produce to your table—no one drove it from farm to grocery store, and you didn’t drive it to your home. You did something unthinkably bold in this car-crazed town: You walked.

To ensure a healthy garden, start planting on April 1. Randy Stannard of Soil Born Farms suggests tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, beets, carrots, lettuce, squash, melons and “pretty much anything” this time of year. Just remember to avoid spraying pesticides, chemical fertilizer and herbicides in your garden.

As an alternative to chemical fertilizer, use compost or plant-based organic fertilizer to help your plants thrive. For health reasons, avoid animal-based fertilizer (made from animal waste) when growing plants that you will eat. Don’t spray herbicides to control weeds. Pull them out yourself.