Saturday, July 31, 2010

Getting Clucky in NYC!

On CNN Money, urban chickens in NYC!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Better Biking Ahead

I'm very excited that a major intersection near our house that was extremely dangerous for cyclists has been completely revamped this summer when they repaved it. I think there are regulations in place now that when they re-design an intersection it is mandatory that they have to include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. This intersection lays in between our house and the public pool, so my teenager has been biking through it by himself and I am SO grateful that there are now bike lanes and that he doesn't have to ride up onto the sidewalk and risk getting nailed by cars coming in and out of the business parking lots that front the road.

Essentially, the intersection used to have two lanes of traffic  in each direction, and they removed one lane and put in a nice wide bike lane and a wider sidewalk as well. You can see clearly here how the pedestrian and bike access has been vastly improved and made much safer by these improvements. To the people planning them, it might just seem like paint striping and pavement, but to a mom whose children are on bikes next to one-ton vehicles, it means that I breathe a lot easier when they want to bike someplace by themselves.

As a society, we want our children to be healthy and fit. Childhood obesity and inactivity are huge health problems, yet we often don't put the necessary systems in place to make sure that kids can navigate safely around town using their own two feet. I'm happy to say that my city is making this possible!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bale Fail

Sorry to say, the straw bale planting experiment so far has been a total failure. And I thought maybe it was just me, but my other friends who tried the bale experiment haven't had much luck either. At first, all the plants looked like they were doing fine, but then they just withered away. Meanwhile, the stuff in my garden is thriving and growing like crazy. I know there's lots of great photos on the internet of straw bale gardens just bursting forth, but I wonder if maybe they are using some kind of fertilizer on them? I was under the impression that the composting bale would have enough nutrition for the plants to grow in (in addition to the dirt I put into each hole in the bale that I planted in.) but it doesn't look like it was enough for my poor little plants.

If anyone has bale garden tips and techniques or success storied, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

So Much for Staggering Snap Peas

In years past, I've only planted one batch of snap peas. They've produced a good amount of peas, but in a short period of time and then they're done. So we gorge on snap peas and then they're just gone for good. I though this year I would do something really clever - I'd stagger my snap pea plantings by several weeks and then we'd have peas for a much longer time period. So in the first garden box I planted some snap pea starts that I bought at a plant sale to benefit our local food bank. In the second box I planted seeds at the same time. In the 3rd and 4th boxes I staggered more pea plantings at 2 - 3 week intervals. Hah, I would have an unending supply of snap peas!

Except that it was cold and rainy through May and most of June, so almost nothing grew. Then a couple of weeks ago when it suddenly got really warm, they all exploded with growth and blossoms. Now all of the snap peas look identical in size, no matter when they were planted, and they're all bursting at the seams with pea pods. So guess what? I'm picking a colander a day of snap peas and we're all turning green from eating them. And I guess they'll all be done about the same time since the weather is in the mid-nineties and not falling anytime soon. Snap peas don't really care for the heat.

I guess we'll just have to enjoy them while they're here. We're definitely eating very locavore right now!