The weather outside is frightful, even if it isn't the kind of frightful we expect for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Rain, wind, more rain, gustier winds – that’s been the story for the past few weeks.
What’s a gardener to do? Prepare for unseasonable weather – all year ‘round! Years ago, I kept a garden journal, occasionally writing down temperatures, storm data, and the dates of the first daffodils. Today the Environmental News reported that, in 2011 alone, 2,941 extreme weather records were broken. Somehow, it doesn't seem worth keeping a notebook anymore – other groups are doing a more through job of documentation.
The National Resources Defense Council predicts that
All of these oddities create less than ideal circumstances for plants. When plants normally pollinated by insects or birds deviate greatly from their normal timeframe, those insects or birds might not be present to perform their services. We don’t care too much if fuchsias don’t get pollinated – after all, they aren’t going to give us another year’s blooms anyway. If the dogwoods and the magnolias have their buds blasted by a late freeze, we are pretty annoyed. Those plants are supposed to put on a show for us!
But, if we happen to be robins or starlings, and the dogwoods don’t produce any berries, what then? And if the apple or peach crop fails, the local growers weep; we, of course, can “always” get our apples and peaches from the supermarket – which gets produce from
So, here are a few resolutions to adopt for 2012 – small things we can do to keep our planet green:
1) Buy only the food you need, preferably not processed food, and use it all. If you have the room, grow some vegetables yourself. At least 25% of the food purchased in the
2) Start a compost pile, bin or container of some sort. Dozens of web sites tell you how.
3) Hoard water! Kim is also responsible for bringing 55-gallon water barrels to
4) Hoard more water with a rain garden. Check out the
5) Spend some time this winter looking at seed catalogs and plan your vegetable garden early. Comstock, Ferre in
6) Consider joining a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm this year. Several organic growers in the area supply members with organic fruits and vegetables from late June to early October.
7) Eat meatless meals one day a week.
8) Plant a tree – or two or three. No room? At least plant a shrub that will feed some birds – viburnums are ideally suited to
9) Keep your lawn at three or four inches in height: taller grass shades out weeds. When you mow, use a mulching mower so that all that green nitrogen goes back into your own lawn.
10) Mulch your trees and shrubs with wood chips – and don’t forget that
Happy New Year!