Category: Features

Checking out at the seed library

For the second growing season in a row, Mid-Shore residents once again can bask in the best of both worlds, courtesy of the Free Seed Library at Talbot County Public Library’s main branch, 100 W. Dover Street in Easton. Sponsored by the University of Maryland Extension Office, the Free Seed Library is aptly housed in an iconic wooden card catalog near the circulation desk, next to the copy machine, and just across the aisle from DVDs, with CDs, magazines, personal computers, and, of course, books, all within easy reach. Nostalgic ambience aside, the catalog’s drawers are perfectly sized for...

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There’s always a few shady plants

In a perfect world, we’d all have sunny, weed-free gardens but the truth is, it’s just not possible! Perhaps your only possible garden site is along a woodsline, or your yard is surrounded by woods, or, your garden might consist of planting boxes on your patio. While shade isn’t a deal breaker, you will have to take it into consideration. How Shady is it? If you know you have to deal with shade in your garden, the next step is to figure out how much shade you have by doing some “shade mapping.” Before you get to planting, take a day to watch the sun patterns. How many hours is your garden completely sunny, partially shaded, or fully shaded? Peek out your window between chores and jot down some notes. Be sure to note where the shadiest parts are if, like my garden, the sun is passing around something such as a tree or structure. No time to sit and watch the sun rise and set? There also are products that you can stick in your garden to give you a shade report after a 12-hour period. Generally, though, you can follow the rule of thumb that a north-facing garden will likely be shady while south-facing will get the full brunt of the sun, barring any special land characteristics. Shady Plants Turning to the back of your seed packet,...

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Stay a cut above with strawberries in your diet

While several niche berries have gotten recent acclaim as superfoods, the old standards such as strawberries remain a powerful player in health and wellness. From diabetes to heart disease, strawberries’ health benefits are nothing to pass by. Its heart shape offers a glimpse into just some of its health power. They contain anthocyanins that a Harvard research study has shown to cut heart attack risk in young and middle-age women by 32 percent. Strawberries’ high polyphenol content could also aid against cardiovascular disease and reduce blood pressure, experts say. The fruit’s fiber and potassium also support heart health. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2 percent of American adults meet the daily 4,700-milligram recommendation for potassium. Strawberries a great source, however, experts note if you are already perscribed Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly used for heart disease, potassium levels may increase in the blood from that and high potassium foods should then be consumed in moderation. Anthocyanin, along with two other antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol, can help reduce harmful blood clots from forming. Strawberries are low on the glycemic index which, with its high fiber content, helps regulate blood sugar, making it a good choice for diabetics. “Researchers discovered in 2011 that eating about 37 strawberries a day can significantly reduce the complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease and neuropathy,” writes...

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Spring Cleaning: Yard Edition

(Courtesy Seek Visibility) In just a few short weeks, the sunshine will be bright, the air will be warm, and the birds will be singing so sweetly that you won’t be able to stop spending time outside. Yet, if you don’t prepare your yard for spring, you won’t enjoy what you see. Your shrubs need pruning, your beds need planting, and most important of all, your lawn needs quite a bit of TLC. Before you bother scourging the inside of your home, you need to spend time spring cleaning your exterior spaces. Here are the most important activities to get your yard looking gorgeous in spring: Prune Dead and Damaged Branches It’s uncommon for all your trees and shrubs to make it through winter without damage from ice, snow, wind, or biting cold. More likely, some of your plants will have branches that are split, broken, or otherwise unable to grow. To ensure healthy growth of the rest of the plant, it is imperative that you prune these dead branches off – but you must do so with the proper technique. There are a few of the myriad pruning tips to keep your trees and shrubs healthy: • Shape hedges with hand pruners to provide enough light reaches inner branches. • Use a handsaw for branches thicker than 1/2-inch to ensure a clean cut. • Trim evergreens back to...

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