Low-priced seeds from local sources – annuals, perennials, veggies and natives (cash sales)
Vendors and Workshops
Kiddie Corner (Let’s plant seeds)
Master Gardeners for advice
Coffee, Muffins, Door prizes
Saturday, March 11, 2023 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Carp Agricultural Hall, 3790 Carp Road, Carp, ON Admission: $2 cash – for 3 door prize tickets* Kids free *Proceeds from ticket sales to be donated to Kanata, Stittsville and West Carleton Food Banks
In this post, a fascinating DNA sampling technique; conflicting news about human impact on animal populations; and a cute story about newt rescues in California. We also look at how rising temperatures due to climate change may damage animals; and a study that shows protected areas aren’t designed to protect invertebrates. It turns out we’ve been putting those anti-bird-strike decals on the wrong side of the window; and we look at where your plants come from.
A team from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has come up with a new way of sampling DNA that allows scientists to capture genetic information from wildlife without disturbing the animals or putting their own safety in jeopardy. The protocol, tested on elephant dung, yielded enough DNA to sequence whole genomes not only of the elephants but also of the associated microbes, plants, parasites and other organisms—at a fraction of the cost of current approaches. The researchers report their findings in the journal Frontiers in Genetics.
The British Ecological Societyreports on a new study fromThe Nature Conservancy (TNC) that explores how we can make our cities work better for people and wildlife. By analyzing existing approaches, as well as highlighting cities already creating the right balance of people and wildlife, the study pioneers an alternative method of city design that allows for the accommodation of both denser populations as well as wildlife. “This needn’t be a zero-sum game,” explains senior author and TNC lead scientist for nature-based solutions, Rob Mcdonald. “Having denser cities doesn’t automatically mean less space for nature.”
But, while animals may be able to co-exist happily with humans in urban areas, another study highlights how human incursions into natural areas can disturb wildlife.
Even without hunting rifles, humans appear to have a strong negative influence on the movement of wildlife. A study of Glacier National Park hiking trails during and after a COVID-19 closure adds evidence to the theory that humans can create a “landscape of fear” like other apex predators, changing how species use an area simply with their presence. Researchers found that when human hikers were present, 16 out of 22 mammal species, including predators and prey alike, changed where and when they accessed areas. Some completely abandoned places they previously used, others used them less frequently, and some shifted to more nocturnal activities to avoid humans. The study was published in the journalScientific Reports. The researchers had also expected to find an effect known as “human shielding,” when human presence causes large predators to avoid an area, providing opportunity for smaller predators and perhaps some prey species to use an area more frequently. In this case, they found this potential effect for only one species, red fox. The foxes were more present on and near trails when the park was open–perhaps because their competitors, coyotes, avoided those areas when humans were around. While the influence of low-impact recreation is concerning, the researchers emphasized that more research is needed to determine if it has negative effects on the species’ survival.
More than 40% of all land vertebrates may be subjected to extreme heat events by 2099 under current maximum estimates of future global temperatures, according to a study published in Nature. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures could be dangerous for the future of many species across the globe. Extreme thermal events, a period in which the temperature greatly exceeds a historical threshold, have increased in frequency compared to historical records, exacerbated by climate change caused by human activity. Recurring periods of extreme heat affect wildlife and are associated with increased psychological stress, reduced reproductive output and decreased population sizes, meaning that the continuation of these temperature spikes would pose a substantial threat to future biodiversity.
The New York Times has a heart-warming story about the heroic work of the northern California Chileno Valley Newt Brigade in rescuing amphibians that might otherwise become roadkill as they cross a road from their breeding grounds and their burrows. But newt rescue is just a short-term solution. The group is also fundraising for road modifications that will allow the newts to pass safely underneath.
Insects play crucial roles in almost every ecosystem—they pollinate more than 80% of plants and are a major source of food for thousands of vertebrate species—but insect populations are collapsing around the globe, and they continue to be overlooked by conservation efforts. Protected areas can safeguard threatened species but only if these threatened species actually live within the areas we protect. A new study in the journal One Earth found that 76% of insect species are not adequately covered by protected areas.
New research from William & Mary published in PeerJ reveals that decals intended to reduce incidents of bird window strikes—one of the largest human-made causes of bird mortality—are only effective if decals are placed on the outside of the window. Researchers found that the patterns on the films and decals placed on the internal surface of windows do not reduce collision because they may not be sufficiently visible to birds.
Tim Knight of Fauna and Flora International asks if we ever ask ourselves where all our garden plants come from? The local garden center or superstore isn’t the answer. Take bulbs, for instance. There’s a common understanding that most bulbs come from The Netherlands. In fact, most wild tulips hail from the mountainous regions of Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan—countries not widely recognized as havens of biodiversity—harbor the lion’s share of species. Turkey is also one of the richest areas in the world for bulbs, including familiar garden favorites such as snowdrops, crocuses, cyclamens and, yes, tulips too. It’s easy to forget that these wild relatives are the original source of the endless varieties and hybrid forms that grace our gardens and fill our flower vases. And that they face a variety of threats, from overharvesting and habitat loss to climate change.
Houseplants come from all over, including the popular Monstera, which is an epiphyte, growing on trees in its native South America. With one notable exception, bromeliads are found only in Central and South America. A single species—endangered and known only from Guinea—occurs in West Africa. Most bromeliads are also epiphytes, but the one that we’re most familiar with—though you may not think of it as a bromeliad—grows on the ground and produces one of our most popular tropical fruits, the pineapple.
Cacti may be famous for their tolerance of extreme heat and drought—and plummeting temperatures at night—but they’re not confined to hotspots like the American Midwest and Mexico. Of the roughly 2,500 species of cactus in the world, quite a few thrive in rainforests or cooler climes. The Christmas cactus is native to damp forest in the coastal mountains of Brazil.
The article goes on to detail the origins of orchids (pretty much from every continent, except Antarctica); where cut flowers come from; and what makes the fynbos in South Africa so special. Mr. Knight concludes by urging gardeners to pay attention to the origins of plants they purchase and avoid those that come from unsustainable sources.
Carbon-busting hemp could help transform Scottish agriculture to zero emissions: Hemp is one of the oldest traded plants in the world, and cultivation in Scotland started as far back as the 11th century. Historically, cannabis—the name of the plant from which hemp is derived—was used to produce rope, cloth, lighting oil and medicine from around the year 1000 until the late 1800s. These days hemp is big business in places like North America and France, but the UK has been much slower to embrace this market, with little production going on or infrastructure to support it. However, our new study makes clear the myriad benefits and opportunities this plant provides—including, crucially, the reduction of carbon emissions and its usefulness in helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Aside from the environmental benefits as “nature’s purifier” in removing carbon dioxide from the air, the crop is an excellent source of plant protein for humans and animals. It also has huge potential for other uses such as organic insecticides/herbicides, an environmentally friendly concrete substitute known as “hempcrete”, building insulation, biofuel and phytoremediation—a process which cleans contaminated soils and water. Our report provides expert recommendations on the necessary steps to advance the Scottish hemp sector, based on trade research, HMRC trade data, interviews with farmers and Mintel’s Global New Products Database. Five benefits associated with hemp products include low or reduced allergens, it’s suitable for vegans, vegetarians, it’s gluten-free and can be grown organically. So it has the potential to be a cost-effective product bringing both health and environmental benefits. [Article includes a 9-minute video of interview with a hemp farmer. See also: A Building Material That Consumes CO2 Has Finally Come to the US.]
Green stormwater control measures clean up urban streams: Catching urban runoff in raingardens and rainwater capture tanks improves the water quality of nearby streams and rivers and lowers water temperatures that have risen in the region due to climate change and the urban heat island effect, according to a new report spanning two decades in the greater Melbourne metropolitan area of Australia. When natural landscapes are replaced with urban infrastructure environments, the temperature of an area also increases, a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. As water runs through urban areas with impervious surfaces, it picks up pollutants and heat before discharging into waterways. The compound effects of urban expansion and climate change in the study region have increased the water temperature of nearby streams by as much as 5°C (9°F). Raingardens and rainwater tanks were able to restore degraded streams by filtering and cooling runoff before it entered the waterway, according to the study in Water Resources Research. Green stormwater infrastructure reduced the steams’ peak summer temperatures by about 5°C (9°F), effectively counteracting the regional warming. These catchment systems also filtered runoff from human activities, such as car washing, spilled gasoline, sewage, fertilization and irrigation, and prevented excess nutrients from entering the stream ecosystems. The study, one of the longest and largest to be completed on green stormwater control measures, found that raingardens and rainwater capture tanks were effective at reducing water temperatures and pollution in nearby streams at least 90% of the year. “In areas where we had green infrastructure systems in place, we saw significant water quality improvements,” said Christopher Walsh, an ecosystem scientist at the University of Melbourne and lead author of the study.
Pigs and Avocados: This article is a chapter from Viktorie Hanišová’s book, Beton a hlína [in English: Concrete and Clay], a collection of interviews with individuals practicing eco-friendly and sustainable ways of living in urban environments.
On the northwestern outskirts of Prague lies a district named Vinoř. Right here, on the site of the prehistoric Nad Obůrkami hillfort, one finds Pastvina, a community garden and animal sanctuary. It feels like being in the backwoods, although we are still within the cadastral boundary of the capital city: there are garden beds with familiar and less familiar crops, the smell of horses, the constant cluck-clucking of chickens and grunting of pigs.
A tidy garden it is not. There are things strewn all over: garden tools, wooden boards, tires, and other clutter. Chicken droppings are scattered on the ground and there’s even manure. It’s here that, going on four years now, gardener Marco Stella has been cultivating the land.
For this interview, we sit down in the open “atrium,” which serves as a communal space for the community gardeners. Marco offers me water from the local well. I cautiously ask if it’s potable, as I must admit the environment doesn’t inspire complete trust in me. Marco just makes a face: “Worst case scenario, you’ll get the runs.”
The rest of this article is an interview between the author and Marco Stella, the head gardener and originator of this sustainable growing space. They discuss space use, water issues and the finances of the garden.