Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Trending in Gardening: Pollinators, Hydroponic Kit, Indoor Kumquats, My Plate Garden, Candide

Five gardening-related subjects that are trending on this Tuesday...

Tom Vilsack and the USDA have announced the "Plant a Window Box for Pollinators" program.
In a March 28th proclamation, Vilsack said, "Gardens provide a positive setting for pollinators such as bats, bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that contribute substantially to the U.S. economy and play a vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets." k.m. note... Allow me some commentary. I had to be scraped off the ceiling when I saw this headline. Not that there's anything wrong with window boxes with the exception that they are no simple thing to add properly to architecture, I love them as well as the next person, and if we say they're to help the pollinators they will not only be beautiful, they will also make us feel good. But, this move struck me as a pathetic and desperate move to give lip service to helping pollinators when important and real issues are swept under the rug. It is like focusing on an ant when there is an elephant in the room. This window-box announcement came the same week that we saw headlines saying "Eastern Monarch Butterflies May Be At Risk Of Extinction Within 20 Years". What these creachers and beautiful critters really need is healthy, chemical-free, biodiverse habitat across the corn belt, and lots of it. In economics, an externality is a consequence of an economic activity that is experienced by unrelated third parties. In this case, the economic activity is agricultural and biofuels policies and the unrelated third party is the pollinator. A few window boxes aren't going to change a thing.

IKEA will be selling hydroponic gardening kits.
From IKEA's website: This May, IKEA is introducing an indoor gardening series that lets you grow your own tasty lettuce and herbs in water. Developed in collaboration with agricultural scientists in Sweden, KRYDDA/VÄXER series includes everything you need to get sprouting and keep your garden growing - even in the winter! How it works? Just keep an eye on the water level. That’s all. “The challenge was to make growing plants in a hydroponic system simple, so that anyone could succeed ...” said Helena Karlén, Swedish university of agricultural sciences.

The kumquat is a citrus that is more easily grown in a pot.
If you'd love to try growing an indoor citrus plant which bears fruit in the wintertime, you might try growing Citrus japonica, or, kumquat. The tree can be placed outdoors in the summer, and in a West window during winter in Northern climates. The entire fruit, including the skin can be eaten. To maintain the tree in a ten-inch pot, it needs to have its roots pruned annually, as well as its branches. It can be ordered through the mail if you cannot find a starter tree locally.

Plant a "My Plate" Garden this year.
Lenelle Roberts, of Penn State Extension, advocates planting a “My Plate” garden this summer. "MyPlate emphasizes eating from all the food groups-protein, grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables and making half your plate fruits and vegetables,” she says. For protein, she recommends planting black or cannelloni beans. For dairy, she recommends vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, and rhubarb which are all rich in calcium. For grains, she suggests kid-friendly popcorn or quinoa. For fruit, she recommends strawberries and blueberries. For vegetables, she recommends adding at least one new one that you haven’t grown before. Parsnips? Keep them colored like the rainbow.

If you like to reflect upon gardening through artistic and philosophical writing, here's an article for you.
Rooted to the plot: what can Voltaire’s ‘Candide’ teach gardeners? The 1759 satire has many lessons to impart about the good life and the value of place and belonging. (Financial Times)

Readers, note that "Trendspotting on Tuesdays" is a new feature of this site. To view last weeks trends, go here.--k.m.

1 comment:

  1. i had just about the same reaction to the window box headline as you, before i even got to your rant...pollinators need acres of blooming pasture, not a token two square feet...