Daily Archives: May 20, 2015

The White House Acts to Protect Pollinators

BeeBasicsBook-31Just yesterday, the Obama administration announced the first National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.

“The goal is to protect honey bees and other pollinators and their habitats. Bees — along with birds, bats and butterflies — play a key function by pollinating commercial fruit and vegetable crops; alfalfa and clover that provide feed for cattle; and the nuts, seeds and fruits that sustain massive grizzly bears and delicate songbirds. Some estimates put the economic value of their activities at roughly $15 billion a year.

Drastic decline of honey bees in recent years spurred the initiative. The plan will manage the way forests burned by wildfire are replanted, the way offices are landscaped and the way roadside habitats where bees feed are preserved.”

“I have to say that it is mighty darn lovely having the White House acknowledge the indigenous, unpaid and invisible workforce that somehow has managed to sustain all terrestrial life without health-care subsidies, or a single COLA, for that past 250 million years,” said Sam Droege, one of the country’s foremost experts on native bees.

Read Juliet Eilperin’s article in the Washington Post here.

Using Milk to Prevent Powdery Mildew

It’s early in the gardening season and most plants are looking fresh and green. But the humidity in the air foreshadows what may come later in the summer. Powdery mildew is a fast-growing fungus that creates whitish patches on the leaves of many common plants. It regularly disfigures the monarda and zinnias in my garden. Pumpkins, winter squash, and other members of the cucumber family are also prone to this disease.

I find it much easier to tolerate a bit of mildew than to spray toxins, so I generally manage it by keeping the air circulating, avoiding overhead watering (especially in the evening) and looking the other way. But this treatment seems like something I might be willing to try.

Read about from someone with first hand experience here.