In the article Growing Sugar Snap Peas in a Container, I commented on the variety I selected being cold tolerant down to 28 degrees. I inadvertently tested that claim. I have the peas growing in 12" x 18" grow-boxes on the patio. I cover them with gardening fabric at night. Well, I took off for the evening without covering the peas. A fast moving snow storm rolled in and dumped three inches of snow on the ground - including my patio. The peas sat in the dark under that cold blanket of snow for four hours before I got home. I looked at the snow covered peas and was sure it was colder than 28 degrees and that I had killed them. I quickly brushed the snow off the peas and covered them for the night - hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Well, the new day dawned bright but cold. After a few hours the patio had warmed up to 38 degrees. So, I took the cover off the peas to find them tall, perky and no worse for having been smothered in snow. It's wonderful to grow a vegetable plant tough enough to survive my neglect.
Mother Earth News has an interesting and strightforward article on composting. Per the article "Composting mimics and intensifies nature’s recycling plan. A compost pile starts out as a diverse pile of kitchen and garden “waste.” Left alone, any of these materials would eventually decompose. But when a variety of materials are mixed together and kept moist and aerated, the process accelerates. Compost matures into what soil scientists call active organic matter: a dark, crumbly soil amendment that’s rich with beneficial fungi, bacteria and earthworms, as well as the enzymes and acids these life-forms release as they multiply."
"Adding compost to garden soil increases its water-holding capacity, invigorates the soil food web and provides a buffet of plant nutrients. Compost also contains substances that enhance plants’ ability to respond to challenges from insects and diseases."
The article cleared up many misconceptions I had about composting - laying out the information in the following 10 facts.
1. Balancing ingredients is optional.
2. Good compost can be either hot or cold.
3. Small or large - any size pile will work just fine.
4. Turning compost is optional.
5. You can gauge the moisture level of your compost pile by its fragrance.
6. Compost need not be a secret.
7. You can compost diseased or weedy plants.
8. With a worm bin, you can even compost indoors.
9. You can safely compost livestock manure.
10. There are good uses for immature compost.
The Provo City Council will review its year-old ordinance on residential bee keeping and decide it if needs any modifications.
The current ordinance allows honey bees and Mason bees to be kept in residential areas.
The Provo Herald has this article about the issue. Here are excerpts.
By law, beekeepers must register with the Utah Department of Agriculture, but the enforcement of the laws connected to beekeeping in each city are different. Salt Lake City's residential beekeeping laws are enforced by the Salt Lake County Health Department. Provo's is enforced by animal control officers.
Siufanua reports that in all of the cases when the police officers went to residents' homes, none of the resident beekeepers were registered with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The police officers issued warnings in those situations.
Many cities allow residents to have chickens in their backyards. It is pretty easy to care for them during the warm months, but what do you do with them during winter?
There are so many chickens in Utah cities, KSL TV did this report to help people learn to take care of them during the cold months. Below are exceprts.
Chickens can actually suffer frostbite — particularly those breeds with large single combs on their heads like leghorns or barred rocks. These breeds are popular with commercial growers because of their excellent egg production.
Breeds with rose combs like wyandottes, or pea combs like ameraucanas or brahmas are less likely to experience frostbite. Some sources say that coating combs with petroleum jelly during cold weather can help protect against frostbite.
The most important consideration in keeping chickens warm and healthy in cold weather is adequate shelter. The shelter need not be heated or insulated, but it should be dry and have adequate circulation. An airtight shelter can become too humid, which can lead to frostbite. Dry bedding like straw, hay or wood shavings can help insulate chickens from the cold, but it must be replaced regularly with clean bedding.
Chickens that forage for much of their food during warmer months need additional supplemental food during the winter.
Read the complete KSL report.