• Playing In The Dirt

Happy Earth Day 2020! It's been 50 years of "Give A Hoot, Don't Pollute!", Leaded Gasoline, Industry, Oil Spills, Acid Rain, toxic waste, The Clean Air Act, The Endangered Species Act, The Clean Water Act, Recycle & Reuse, The Greenhouse Effect, Save The Watershed, Global Warming and Clean Energy...

There have been 50 years of Programs, Acts of Congress, Protests, Catch Words, Slogans and Campaigns, yet the earth's pollution condition had not improved... until now!

It took a world wide pandemic to see a physical change in our environment. The needle has finally been moved on the scale of the condition of our earth! After weeks of us all "sheltering at home" our earth is actually recovering! Notably speaking, smog has cleared from 2 of this country's cities with the highest polluted air on record, Los Angeles, California and Denver, Colorado. Other countries around the world have also recorded much less air pollution, such as China, India, Italy, and everywhere in between! It's wonderful!

But we all know, and are actually looking forward returning to our jobs and normal routines when this terrible viral outbreak has passed. Therefore, all of the pollution is expected to return.

So what can we do to keep that from happening?

This is the time for all humans to THINK ABOUT CHANGE. How can each of us change how we live, how we travel, how we function day to day, in and out of our homes, to keep our blue skies blue, our oceans clear and all of the creatures of the earth healthy??? Our polluting ways have become our way of life, part of our everyday hustle and bustle. But right now, our daily hustle is contained. We're all home. Household supplies are limited. PERFECT!!! After all necessity is the mother of invention!

So let's think about it... What are you putting out there? Here are some suggestions:

#1: Your car emissions.

*Car Pool to work.

*Take mass transit.

*Talk to your boss about working from home a few days a week.

*Consolidate trips to the grocery store from picking up a couple things a few days a week to one grocery shopping day per week or every two weeks.

*Keep your cars engine in good efficient condition.

#2: We are all cleaning and disinfecting everything more than ever before, Therefore we are flushing tremendously more chemicals down our drains, throwing away more paper products than ever before, as well as more plastic. There are environmentally friendly alternatives that really do disinfect just as well as cleaning with chemicals. WHITE VINEGAR is a natural disinfectant and it's so much cheaper than chemical cleaning products!!!

*Mix white vinegar and water 50/50 in a spray bottle and use it to clean anything and everything! If you don't like the smell of vinegar, add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil.

*Instead of pop-up containers of chemical disinfectant wipes, cut up old t-shirts or use a stack of cheap wash cloths, stack them up in a plastic food storage container, poor in the same 50/50 vinegar and water solution and cover with a lid. Use these cloths to wipe down door knobs, light switches, the kids toys, furniture, even your car steering wheel and hand grips. Let the surface air dry to continue to kill germs then toss the cloth in your laundry to clean and use again.

*Use straight vinegar in your dish washer to clean and disinfect your dishes. Or even better, wash your dishes by hand using vinegar and hot water.

*Change to a plant based environmentally friendly laundry detergent and

*use a vinegar and baking soda mixture to work on any stains.

#3: Less waste. This covers a broad list of things we throw away that can be used less, re-used, recycled or shared.

*Use less water.

*Buy ONE reusable drink bottle and ONE water filter for your tap or refrigerated water, instead of buying case after case of plastic throw away water bottles.

Talk to your family and friends about what we can do to keep our current clearing air, water and soil. If we all just think of 2 ways to lessen our pollution footprint on the earth, we can all continue make a difference and improve its condition as we join together again. Our grandchildren and theirs, and all living things can enjoy these bluer skies for centuries to come.

Get out there and enjoy your day without driving. Take a walk, have a picnic, or just Have Fun PLAYING IN THE DIRT!!!


Here are a couple interesting articles about Earth Day…/…/82g4_l2SXI2WYgdz677E6ZBpDzPdMnBgvl

  • Playing In The Dirt

Updated: Apr 23

Believe me! I am the biggest April Fool when it comes to gardening. I really don't have any patients and even less in my younger years. There were years that I've been ready to plant at first sight of temperatures staying above freezing for just a few days, only to lose some very promising tomato seedlings. Don't do it!

We all grow wiser with age, but patience is something you learn from your mistakes while being impatient! Lol

Spring has sprung! The equinox has occurred! But does that mean it is time to plant? Are you sure? What about the weather where you live? Where do you live? What's your zone? What is a "zone"? Is it still cold there? Was it below freezing last night? Will it freeze again this year?

I learned to make my planting decisions by using the answers to all of those questions.

Step 1: Where do you live? Your 5 digit zip-code is all you need to learn the probable last frost date for your area.

Take your digits here... Yep! The good ol' Farmer's Almanac. Since no one can completely predict the future, I follow the voices of experience. They haven't steered me wrong yet...or my dad before me!

So on that sight, you typed in your zip-code and up popped a few tid-bits of very useful information: Altitude - If you are planting a high altitudes, be aware of what you plant. Do your research about the hardiness of your plant choices. (You probably shouldn't expect to grow a Magnolia Tree in Alaska.)

First and last frost dates - Mine are April 30 (yesterday) for the last frost of the winter. So it's probably okay to plant today, but check the weather reports and be ready to cover everything if they call for a late season frost. The first frost date coming next fall is October 9. I always try to have everything harvested and cleaned up by then. Year before last, I didn't get everything harvested in time, so I ended up covering my tender lavender flowers with tarps through a night of frost to give me one more day to cut it all for use rather than lose it all to frost.

Step 2: Find out your zone here...

I live in zone 6b, in PA. I can see by the zone map that my area has an extreme low of -5 degrees Fahrenheit. (Not a good temperature for plants or me!) Your zone will always be an important piece of information throughout the year. If you are buying your plants, or seeds, the packaging may have a little chart printed on it that could read, This plant is hardy from zone 8b - 7b. So you would know you probably shouldn't buy Mom that Gardenia Plant for her to grow in Springfield, Illinois (Zone 5b). You may find out that what was your favorite flower can not grow in the high summer temperatures you get in the deep south. Perhaps you'll find a new favorite plant in your zone.

I think these few bits of knowledge are quite enough to guide you through this, "When to plant?" and "What to plant?" time of the year.

*Another tip for fun - Plan a trip or three to several plant farms and/or nurseries a little outside of the area where you live. I've found that in our area of several small towns, most of the garden centers carry all the same plants. I look online in the Spring to find other places to buy plants that may be just an hour or two outside of our area. Perhaps a plant and garden event that sell plants or has workshops or speakers. Spring is the time of rebirth! The birds and bees and flowers and leaves are back! And so are we, as we emerge, squinting into the light, shedding our winter sweat pants and cardigans. So grab your boots and hat and get out there!!!

It's time to have some fun Playing In The Dirt!!

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