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August 19th, 2016|Comments Off on Weekend weather: What you need to know for every activity you have plannedThis post was originally published on this site
The humidity levels have finally become more manageable, and will likely remain that way throughout the first half of the upcoming weekend. Generally, this is going to be a very nice summer weekend.
The short forecast is that it will be mostly sunny with highs from 78 to 88 degrees, with a few possible exceptions.
Saturday could see some pop-up storms west of Route 495, and more likely over the Berkshires. I believe Saturday will be the sunniest day at the beaches. Sunday will bring a chance of scattered showers later in the day, even at the coastline. The timing of these showers will likely change a bit over the next 48 hours, so check the latest forecast throughout the weekend. If showers do occur this weekend, they will most likely be late Sunday.
Humidity will be in check on Saturday but will increase to more uncomfortable levels later on Sunday.
The extreme drought area has expanded over the past week and now includes more of eastern Massachusetts. This is the most severe this index has been for our area since it was created back in 1999. For many areas around Boston, this is the driest summer ever recorded. I did find a map from 1965 showing much of the area in a similar drought that summer.
And now, with all that said, here’s what to expect this weekend.
If you’re going hiking, biking, or running…
Keep an eye to the sky for possible pop-up showers over the western areas of New England on Saturday and again on Sunday. This pattern isn’t expected to bring anything heavy, but I don’t want you to be surprised if a shower occurs in these areas. Otherwise it will be sunny and dry on Saturday with a few more clouds on Sunday afternoon along the coastal plain.
If you’re going beaching and boating…
I would consider this a great beach weekend. It will be warm enough, even at the beach, to go swimming. Water temperatures will be in the 70s across southern New England, and even up to southern Maine. This is amazingly warm water for this region, so take advantage. Tides will be high between 12:30 and 1:30 along east-facing beaches.
If you’re playing soccer, softball, baseball, or golf…
Saturday’s forecast: Comfortable humidity make it ideal for outdoor athletic games. Some morning dew will slow play on the golf greens and leave you with damp shoes if you’re walking through the grass early.
Sunday’s outlook: Humidity creeps up in the afternoon. Watch later forecasts to see if shower activity is predicted to move in late Sunday, but this would be widely scattered if it occurred (and mainly for western New England).
If you’re gardening…
I wrote a piece about what you can plant this time of year to harvest this fall. It’s quite easy to get things germinating the second part of August, just be sure to keep things evenly moist. Watering is a garden’s biggest challenge this weekend; water early and for long periods of time.
If you’re running errands…
Get errands done early to take advantage of the sunshine either day, or do them in the middle of the day to avoid the warmest temperatures.
If you’re going to a concert, outdoor party, or wedding…
I don’t see any issues with rainouts for outdoor plans. If you’re headed to any venue and will be sitting in the sun for long periods of time, be sure to bring the sunscreen. The sun is still very strong in mid-to-late August. Humidity does increase Sunday evening and makes it feel a bit more uncomfortable.
I will be updating the forecast on Twitter @growingwisdom throughout the weekend.
August 19th, 2016|Comments Off on Which vegetables to grow in the cooler weather of fallThis post was originally published on this site
With August quickly waning and your garden stressed from the summer drought, you might not be thinking about planting—but now is actually a great time to plant new vegetables for a fall harvest.
As the loss of daylight continues, the soil remains warm, but it’s easier to get seeds to germinate. There are certain crops which love the cooler days and don’t need as much daylight as others.
Lettuce and other greens like kale and collards are especially well suited to growing in the fall. I have kept these greens going well into October and even through November with some protection from overnight freezes.
The first step in enjoying a fall harvest is growing your plants. You can either start them from seed or buy plants already growing. Many farmers markets will have vendors selling small seedlings. I have seen some beautiful lettuce plants over the past few weeks for sale.
If you want to start your seedlings from scratch, you can do it outside or start them indoors under a grow light. If you start them outside, a spot which has some afternoon shade seems to work best. I’ve started most of my seedlings outside under the cover of a patio umbrella: I find the umbrella filters the harshest sun, but allows enough light for healthy plants.
Seeds like to be kept evenly moist, but not wet to germinate. The key is to have enough moisture to signal the seed to start growing, but not so much moisture that the seeds don’t break their outer coating, or even rot. I usually lightly water my seedlings each morning and this seems to keep them moist enough throughout the day.
Beets a wonderful fall crop. Even if your beets don’t get big you can harvest the greens. Beets are a wonderful fall crop. Even if your beets don’t get big you can harvest the greens.
Radishes are a quick growing root crop easily grown from now through September. The seeds will germinate in 2-4 days, and you can be harvesting radishes in less than a month.
There are small types of turnip also ideal for fall planting. Turnips will also germinate quickly and you can harvest as they grow. I like to use them small, but also let them fully mature and become large enough for fall and winter storage. This is a great crop for Thanksgiving.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, carrots planted now will be ready in time for your family feast. You can even protect them with some straw when the ground freezes, and then you can dig them up for Christmas!
Other edibles to plant now include beets and broccoli (get plants already started). Onions can be planted and you can use the greens, and spinach can be planted throughout the entire fall and can even be grown all winter in a cold frame.
I’ll answer your garden questions on Twitter @growingwsdom.
August 28th, 2016|Comments Off on How to help bees and give back to your community at the same time
Several years ago I watched The Bee Movie, (DreamWorks) an animated full length feature staring the voices of Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger and Mathew Broderick to name a few of the stars. I love the movie and the humor is fantastic, but the main point of the movie is to illustrate the importance of bees and how humans should care of these critical insects.
The Bee Movie (DreamWorks) has an important message about bees and their connection to the entire food chain
My passion for plants and their pollinators is powerful and extends back over 40 years. As an elementary school student I began learning about the inner connections of the natural world and how the survival of the planet depends on the success of the individual pieces.
To help the bees, I am teaming up with the Bee Sanctuary, a non-profit program in collaboration with The Best Bees Company’s beekeeping services. In short summary, this is a sponsor-a-beehive program, where select corporations, family foundations, groups of individuals or individuals themselves may sponsor honey beehives. The donation will allow full beekeeping management services throughout community gardens, schools, libraries, non-profits, farms, and low-income communities. This brings more pollinators to each area and with them more fruits, vegetables, and honey. Bees are dying nationwide and this is a way to get more bees out there.
I now have been on my own property.
We live in a time of the world when it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and frankly nearly impossible to make a difference. Further, so many organizations can use your time, talent or treasure it’s hard to know who to help.
Philanthropy in itself isn’t something easily taught. I donate my time to a couple of different organization and my treasure, what I can, to others. Donating time or money or even your expertise is very personal. Why each of us gives away something we have worked hard to achieve is unique to the each of us.
The feeling that I can make a positive chance in the world is intoxicating. The very fact I am writing this blog, hoping someone will read it, get excited about the prospect of helping bring bees to an area, which otherwise could afford to raise them, is exhilarating.
In The Bee Movie, the flowers are all dying because the bees have decided to stop pollinating. In the real world, bees are in danger of not doing their job not because they don’t want to, but because other factors, including what we humans are doing to our environment are harming this vital link to life as we know it.
Bees don’t want to stop working, but we can harm their environment so they won’t be able to do their work. (Image Credit:DreamWorks)
The Bee Sanctuary 501(c)3 nonprofit program is a tool to help reverse the trend of bee loses. It’s also a great way to give something back to those communities which don’t have the resources to do these things themselves. It’s not overstating it to say donating the bees is a gift not only to the neighborhood it will benefit but more importantly to the planet we live as well. Click here to learn more about the program.
Bees can be raised in almost any urban environment