Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2017

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Quite a few changes in the garden between the time I left on vacation the 3rd week in April and yesterday.  We had torrential rains while I was away, leaving many of the borders and much of the lawn under inches of water.  We had a fairly rainy weekend as well, but softer showers which were able to seep into the ground as quickly as it arrived leaving everything green and sparkling with rain drops.

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Despite the rather wet weekend, I was able to get a little planting done in the vegetable garden.  Another 50 or so walla walla sets went in, as did the first planting of carrots and beets, into the raised beds.  The regular beds are still too soaked to plant.  The week is looking dry and warm however, so hope to get the lettuces, kale, chard and a few other types of seeds planted.  I’m feeling a couple of weeks behind due to the trip.

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I was able to get a little spot weeding done in some of the flower borders.  I also bought and planted 3 Japanese Willows (Salix integra ‘Hakaro Nishiki’), two in the front yard and one in the back next to the gazebo, and a Gold Thread Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’) in the rock garden.  Picked the first rhubarb of the season on Saturday, and we’ve been cutting asparagus since we returned; looks like a banner crop this year.

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The majority of yesterday, however, was spent planting out 20+ containers.  I still have another 7 to fill, but ran out of annuals.  I feel another trip to the nursery coming on!  Sadly it will have to wait until after work today.  Alas, Monday has arrived…

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Here are a few other photos, taken yesterday, of what’s blooming in the garden.

 

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One of the late blooming varieties of daffs in the borders
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One of the pear trees now loaded with blossoms
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Okay, this isn’t blooming yet, but the black currants are loaded with buds
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Pear blossoms
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There are few things as delicious as freshly cut asparagus

 

Crazy Weather

It’s February 25th today and we’re expecting a high of 62 degrees.  That’s just craziness.  Almost all of the snow we received a week or so ago has melted.  Flocks of Canadian geese were flying in overhead this morning.  I was seeing robins in January.  This is not normal.

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“PlantPure Nation”

Some disturbing facts from the documentary “PlantPure Nation:

  • Large, mono-crop agribusinesses use fuel-intensive equipment and high amount of pesticides and herbicides; trillions of dollars in subsidies are provided to these companies every year in the U.S. – at the expense of the health and wellbeing of U.S. citizens
  • The number of small farms in the U.S. have gone from 7 million in 1940 to fewer than 2 million today , and the numbers are dwindling annually
  • Americans have almost doubled their annual meat intake per capita from 100 lbs in 1930s to just under 200 lbs today; a change in diet pushed by the meat and dairy lobbies and large agribusinesses
  • 30% of U.S. land is given over to grazing animals or growing food (soybean and corn) to feed factory raised animals; animals which are not only unhealthy to consume, but the living conditions, treatment and slaughter of which is inhumane
  • 9 of 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the 21st century – horrific from a planet and human health stand-point; the emissions produced from the inputs needed to sustain this increasing demand for factory raised animals (including not only meat products, but also dairy and eggs) is a major contributor to climate change

“Numerous studies now show that a whole foods, plant-based diet comprised primarily of vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts will not only prevent many chronic diseases (Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesteral), but will also reverse many.” (PlantPure Nation”)

Personally, I think it’s unrealistic to believe that every American will become vegan any time in the near future.  But from a health perspective, if for no other reason, many could cut their intake of animal-based foods in half and benefit greatly from the change.  There is also no reason why every American, even those living in apartments with little more than a balcony for personal, outdoor space, can’t grow some of their own food.  Just a taste of fresh, green herbs or a juicy, sun-soaked tomato from your own vine will make one long for fresh, organically grown produce in favor of the tasteless, nutrient-deficient, sorry excuse for a vegetable that is “manufactured” by some agribusiness on the other side of the country or world.  And these smallest changes in habit, all the while, will benefit our planet as well.

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Climate Change

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Most of my close friends are concerned about climate change and the impact these changes will have on their children and eventually, grandchildren.  Several have taken active steps to make changes in their lives to reduce the impact they have on our beautiful planet. 

But there has been little in the climate change literature, until somewhat recently, about the impact the consumption of meat has on the climate.  This growing, global phenomenon is having catastrophic effects. 

For example, according to an article in the Guardian, in 1982, the average Chinese person ate just 13kg of meat a year “and beef was nicknamed “millionaire’s meat” due to its scarcity.”  The average Chinese person now eats 63kg of meat a year, with this amount expected to increase another 30kg per person by 2030 if nothing is done to divert them from this path (China is in the midst of implementing guidelines that will attempt to reduce the national consumption of meat by 50% both to aid the environment and to improve the health of their people).

The fact is, globally, 15% of greenhouse gases emanate from the raising and consumption of cows, chickens, pigs and sheep — more than the emissions from the entire transportation sector.   Factory farming, from the raising of the toxin-laden, GMO corn that feeds most of these animals to the methane the animals themselves produce in the way of gas and waste, not to mention the energy needed to slaughter, process, freeze and transport this meat around the country and the world, contributes greatly to this problem.  Factory farming — one of the most grotesque and inhumane forms of business in existence — has made it possible to make most meat afforbable to most income classes, thus increasing demand and consumption.

And yet, the public remains largely, woefully, ignorant of these statistics (thank you powerful meat and corn lobbies)  – even among people fairly well-versed in climate change literature.

If people simply scaled back their meat consumption to once or twice a week — a diet by the way that was the norm for all but the wealthiest of families in America a mere 60-70 years ago — we could reduce the production of greenhouse gases by more than a 1/4 (according to the Chatham House study out of the UK).

Although recycling, walking more than driving, limiting air travel to all but the most essential, building energy efficient homes and offices, consuming less material goods, growing and eating locally, adopting permaculture methods for our gardens and yards, composting, etc. all aid our planet, the mere act of reducing your meat and egg consumption will have a much greater and more immediate impact.

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