Hello! Welcome to Tendrils 🙂 It has been a week of exciting weather here in the UK, with cold nights (including frosts in some places) and April showers that came down in solid format. The picture above was of hail damage to squash leaves in May 2015; so far this year my little squash babies haven’t spent any time outdoors unprotected. Apparently the weird weather has led to wonky asparagus spears, which are being sold as a discount. French winemakers are resorting to unusual methods to prevent frost, including helicopters.
Nutrition: A world of insecurity is an interesting and accessible article in Nature, which makes many of its key points via infographics. It talks about malnutrition in terms of under- and over-consumption of calories, and shows us that on a global scale we produce enough food for everyone. Interestingly, if you scroll to the bottom it mentions that food waste in Europe has almost halved since 1987 – although, clearly, we still have plenty of room for improvement.
The FAO has published 7 rules-of-thumb to follow in aquaponics, one way in which we could improve our food security. Also looking to the future, the RHS have published an updated version of its Gardening in a Changing Climate report. I haven’t had time to read through it yet, but it includes 10 action points for gardeners, including water-wise gardening, avoiding peat and invasive plants, using fewer chemicals and planting more plants.
We’ve also had the news that road verges are a ‘last refuge’ for plants, a sad state of affairs. The charity behind the report, Plantlife, would like councils to adopt their guidelines for managing these important habitats. You can help by sending a letter to your local council. You can do it all online, it should only take a minute.
You could also comment on a planning application that would see cowslips concreted over in Cowley, if you think that would be a shame. The History Girls blog has the skinny, together with some background about this much-loved (and fast disappearing) wild flower.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty fed up of seeing dog poo bags proliferating through the countryside. I don’t get why people would go to the trouble or bagging the poo, just to discard it in a non-biodegradable bag! We don’t have bins in our local area (the various councils are disputing responsibility, apparently), but that’s really no excuse. Especially when you discover that plastic poo bags kill deer (which we have here), and horses (we’re close to a stud farm). In my (unfruitful) search for a solution, I found some lovely anti-dog poo campaign posters made for Hastings council a few years ago, and some typically British passive-aggressive notes you can leave out for local dog owners who think the Poop Fairy is going to clean up after them.
— Kole Morgan (@KoleMorgan) April 29, 2017
Moving on from poop, there’s a lovely article in the Guardian on the chemistry of chilli peppers and why we love the burn. A chance tweet led me to a year-old piece on Istanbul’s ancient gardens, which have fed the city since Byzantine times. Of course, they are under threat.
New findings suggest there’s no yield boost from using biochar in temperate zones (for which the open source paper is available from Environmental Research Letters). If you need cheering up after that bombshell, you can try making gorse flower syrup, and I have been talking about how Lia Leendertz’s book Petal, Leaf, Seed can make you look at your plants differently, on the Lubera blog.
In the meantime, enjoy your weekend, and I will be back with another chlorophyll-packed edition of Tendrils next week 🙂