Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Veggie Garden Remix

It may be officially spring, but with snow on the ground and more in the forecast, spring still feels far, far away.  Thankfully the Boston Flower Show was this past weekend, giving us a much appreciated glimpse of spring!

The Water Wheel garden by Heimlich Nurseries at the Boston Flower Show
As spring has to come sometime, I've also been busy starting seeds indoors for this year's veggie garden.  I really enjoy planning the vegetable garden every year - since most vegetables are annuals, every year's garden is different!  I love finding fun new things to grow, and I was very excited when this book came out this year:

Veggie Garden Remix
Northern gardeners might know the Canadian author, Niki Jabbour, from her fabulous book The Year-round Vegetable Gardener.  Her new book, Veggie Garden Remix, is another great one, and I was delighted to be able to go to Niki Jabbour's talk about it at the Boston Flower Show.

Niki Jabbour at the Boston Flower Show
The book showcases different vegetables that are not as commonly grown here in the US.  While some I did know and grow myself (ground cherries, walking onions), many I'd never even heard of (molokhia?  Chinese artichoke?)

The book is ingeniously laid out.  For each common vegetable, the book gives several unusual options that people might also like and tells how to grow them.  My favorite is the section on spinach.  While I always seem to have trouble growing spinach, Jabbour gives several options that seem easier to grow, as well as some that are more heat-tolerant for summer harvesting!

Jabbour is also a fan of trying more unusual varieties of your common veggies, and her book lists some noteworthy varieties that she's tried and enjoyed.

Niki Jabbour talking about different types of beans
Less adventurous growers (and eaters) might not enjoy a book like this, but I though it was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed her talk as well.

Here's to growing some new things in 2018!

And here's to spring, wherever it might be...


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Out of Order

A beautiful February spring:

Followed by...

a very, very wintery March.
I feel like something is wrong with this picture.

Today the third nor'easter this month has arrived, hammering us with yet more heavy, wet snow.  We are fortunate that we live in an area with underground power lines and thus rarely lose power.

Stay safe out there, fellow New Englanders.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Monarch Population Numbers Announced

Today the WWF-Mexico and Conanp announced the numbers for the Monarch Butterfly population that overwintered in Mexico.

Monarch Butterfly population 2017-2018, compared to previous years
graph source: WWF-Mexico
The news was not so good.  Nine colonies of Monarch butterflies were found occupying a total of 2.48 hectares of forest.  That is a drop of 14.77% from the previous winter, which covered 2.91 hectares.
closeup of Monarch population the last few winters, in hectares
The drop in population was attributed to the presence of two tropical storms and three hurricanes along the Atlantic coast when Monarch migration began in mid-September.  High temperatures in the midwest and northeast of the United States also caused a late migration, possibly also contributing to the decline in numbers.

Whatever the reason, it is sad news for the Monarchs.

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