BC garden gets a boost

Gregory D. Cook

Lettuce is just one of the many crops grown by the Vegetable Production classes at BC.

Keith Kaczmarek, Reporter

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Bakersfield College has recently received large donations of materials for its Vegetable Production class. Green Heart donated 11,000 vegetable transplants, Community Recycling donated 10 tons of compost, Grimmway donated irrigation pipe, and American Ag donated fertilizer.

The Vegetable Production class is geared toward teaching all aspects of vegetable production, and students work on BC’s farm plot located behind the library that also contains the animal production lab and several horses and cattle.

The plants grown in the clay soil in that location are cultivated using both organic and traditional methods, and feature such plants as broccoli and several varieties of lettuce and cabbage.

Joe Nunez is the instructor for the class and he brings his students his 11 years of experience as a farm adviser to Kern County. Working as a researcher and educator for the University of California, he works with local farmers and helps inform them of new findings related to crop production.

BC’s Vegetable Production class works on the farm on Friday mornings. “Once a week, they are all farmers,” he said. “I want to give them firsthand experience growing vegetables,” he said. “You can talk in class and go on field trips, but you need to actually do it.

“This is an example where the [students] are learning first-hand with real-life experience. We have an opportunity to practice what we preach.”

The class covers all aspects of vegetable production such as preparing the soil, planting methods, pest management, and the different characteristics of each plant.

For some students, the class is also their first use of a tractor.

Nunez suggests that students who want to take the class take the soil science and plant biology classes first. “As a foundation, [they] make the class easy because [they are] a culmination of those.”

“It’s an all-in-one class. Teaches us everything,” said Damian Lewis, a forestry major who is currently in the class.

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