WARMING UP

Above Freezing!

Last night’s temperatures was a warm 34. After nearly a week of below normal temperatures, what a noticeable difference this has made.

For plants bitten by the cold, time to start healing {LATimes}

THE recent blast of record-breaking arctic weather didn’t just devastate commercial agricultural crops. It damaged backyard plants too. Geraniums turned to gelato. Aloe leaves disintegrated like spilled Slushees. What can home gardeners do to save an injured plant? And how can they protect against another cold snap, if it comes?In terms of frostbitten flora, the most important task is to exercise patience. Remove foliage that’s blackened, soft and withered, and toss it before fungus starts to grow. But hold off on major pruning. Only time will show the extent of the die-back, and gardeners who wait now can prune with precision later, without harming buds and other harbingers of future life. If you’re not sure about the health of a tree or shrub, scratch the bark with your fingernail. In virtually all cases, the tissue under the bark should be cream or green and should be moist. In some perennials and ground covers, only the top foliage may have frozen. The undergrowth might be OK. The next time the forecast predicts extreme cold, move container plants indoors or under eaves. The temperature close to the house is often 10 degrees warmer than out in the open.Wrap other sensitive plants. If you lay a sheet atop plants, remove it first thing in morning, so they soak up the sun. If you erect a plastic tent, take it down before the contraption turns into a miniature greenhouse and overheats.Young tropical and subtropical fruit trees — citrus, mango, guava, avocado — need particular attention. Wrap their trunks with burlap or corrugated cardboard. Some experts suggest removing thick mulches, which may insulate the ground from the sun during the day and prevent the soil from warming up. Once the threat of freezing passes, the mulch can go back.If all this icy weather has you down, remember: Some stone fruit trees actually need winter chill to ensure a good harvest, and cole crops such as collard greens and kale will only get sweeter as the thermometer drops.”



BOOKMARKS

Doomsday Clock edges toward midnight

“Global warming poses a dire threat to human civilization that is second only to nuclear weapons,”
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Loneliness and Technology {AdBusters}

…While our new tools grant us the convenience of talking from a distance over a screen, they also exempt us from the intimacy that comes with face-to-face communication. The subtle nuances of facial expressions and body language are lost, and in return, we are spared the awkwardness and inconveniences of in-person meetings. “There is something trying, even exhausting, about human interactions,”
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Cold-Flow: A Firsthand Experience with Frozen Biodiesel {GreenOptions}

Anyone familiar with biodiesel understands one inherent limitation: it hates cold weather. This weekend I had my first experience with the ‘cold-flow properties’ of this alternative fuel.
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More Dangerous Than Smoking? Death by Soda  {AlterNet}

Drinking one soda a day could cause you to gain 15 pounds a year. Other related health risks include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bowel cancer and nerve damage.
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