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Gardening

Herbal teas to keep you well

      Prevention is the best medicine. Winter colds can make you miserable and spread quickly, causing sleepless nights. Some simple things you can do are to wash your hands frequently and try not to rub your eyes or face. Coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm is better than in your hand.        Building up your immune system is also important so as not to succumb so easily to a virus looking for a new home.

Make 2019 your year to start a garden

      I recently returned from a vacation to Greece, specifically, the remote island of Ikaria in the northeast Aegean Sea. My ancestral home, it is designated a Blue Zone by National Geographic’s Dan Buettner.       The world’s five Blue Zones have high concentrations of centenarians —without problems like heart disease, dementia, diabetes and cancer. Research has shown that these Blue Zones have certain things in common.

Each of our Christmas ­evergreens tells a story

      Early Americans celebrated a long Yuletide from December 15 to Epiphany on January 6. Europeans started earlier on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day. In every tradition, evergreens have been part of the celebration.      Why do we decorate our homes with boughs of pine and holly?
Planning for spring starts now 
      Calvert Garden Club awards mini-grants of $100 to $1,000 to local non-profits to Plant Calvert from River to Bay.       Last year’s theme was Beautifying Calvert County, and a $1,000 grant was awarded to the youth group of All Saints Church in Sunderland for Project Spudnik. Inspired by the movie The Martian, they made their own soil in growbags and grew vegetables in it. 

Without even lifting a shovel

      At Christmas time, when so many trees are cut, the right gift for people who have most everything — or whom you wish to honor or commemorate — might be a tree. A tree is a gift that lasts, offering beauty, shade and habitat-enhancing air and water quality and reducing energy costs every day of its potentially long lifetime. All the better if your gift tree demands not a bit of care.       Maryland Department of Natural Resources promises to make the Gift of Trees effortless.
Climate stewards take aim at ­herbicides, tout healthy soils 
      It takes good soil for plants to grow healthy and vibrant. It takes brave souls to push for better legislation to make that happen.      Last year, environmentalists and organic farmers scored a win when the Maryland Legislature passed the Healthy Soils Program and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill. The program works to sequester the global-warming bad guy, carbon, in Maryland soil while increasing its biological activity.
Growing corn is a-mazing
      A staple of the dinner table has now become a staple of fall festivals.        At farms, garden centers and plant nurseries around the nation, the corn field is more about getting lost and having fun and less for picking and eating. Designs get more complicated by the year.

Many hands help monarchs migrate thru Chesapeake Country

       By the time fall arrives this month, thousands of Anne Arundel County school students will be studying and rearing monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, in their classrooms. Over the next few weeks, regional parks and nature centers have planned monarch events for young and old. All this monarch hoopla coincides with one of nature’s wonders: the eastern monarch population’s migration to Mexico.

Historic Sotterley Plantation harvests potatoes to feed the hungry 

The historic Sotterley Plantation is sitting on 200,000 square feet of potatoes — ready for harvest.           On St. Patrick’s Day, Hollywood, Marylanders stepped up to plant more than five acres of red and Yukon gold potatoes, reserved for donation.           Facility manager Joe Goldsmith is reviving the 1703 plantation’s working fields with hay and kale as winter cover crops. Summer’s crop is potatoes.

The Zen of Grass and Groundcover

      Lawn grass: expensive, difficult, fickle … Or lush, green, diverse, interesting, carpet of ground cover. It’s all in how we see it. In Zen, as in business, there is beauty and success in the mundane and simple. The Minimalist Gardener approaches the challenge of the grass lawn with common sense and purpose.       Minimalist principles set our agenda: • No herbicide or pesticide