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Archive | Bloomin’ Summer

BEE One in a Million

BLOOM-Bee-one-in-a-millon

BLOOM-Bee-one-in-a-million-logoResidents have a chance to become part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC), a nationwide call to action to create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America.

The challenge was launched by The National Pollinator Garden Network, which collectively represents nearly one million active gardeners and 15,000 schoolyard gardens. The Network is challenging the nation to reach the goal of one million additional pollinator gardens by the end of 2016. The Network will work to provide resources for individuals, community groups, government agencies and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices and conservation efforts.

They hope to move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat.

Any individual can contribute by planting for pollinators and joining this effort to provide a million pollinator gardens across the United States. Every habitat of every size counts, from window boxes and garden plots to farm borders, golf courses, school gardens, corporate and university campuses. Everywhere we live, work, play and worship can, with small improvements, offer essential food and shelter for pollinators.

“If we all work together—individuals, communities, farmers, land managers, and local, state, and federal agencies—we can ensure that every American child has a chance to enjoy the beauty of creatures like bees, monarch butterflies, and hummingbirds,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife

Federation. “By joining forces with the National Pollinator Garden Network on the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, the National Wildlife Federation and our affiliates are amplifying these collective efforts to address the growing threats affecting so much of America’s treasured wildlife.”

Pollinators Gardens should do the following:

• use plants that provide nectar and pollen sources

• provide a water source

• be situated in sunny areas with wind breaks

• create large “pollinator targets” of native or non-invasive plants

• establish continuous bloom throughout the growing season

• eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides.

Learn more at www.millionpollinatorgardens.org and join the discussion on Twitter through the hashtag #PolliNation.

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EarthTalk®

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From the Editors of E – The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How is that being around trees and other plants can help us feel good?

  – Amy Mola, Greenville, SC

Trees are known to improve air quality by capturing six common air pollutants and toxic gases: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead. In fact, a single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants per year. In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.

“We found that, in general, the greater the tree cover, the greater the pollution removal, and the greater the removal and population density, the greater the value of human health benefits,” says Dave Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service.

More recently a 2015 study from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona, Spain found that children exposed to more greenery—as measured by satellite imagery of their schools and neighborhoods—demonstrated better attention skills and memory development. While the association was partly mediated by reductions in air pollution, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, one of the study’s authors, noted that he and the study’s other researchers don’t think it’s all air pollution: “I think it’s also some kind of direct effect… you see quite a beneficial effect of green space on mental health.”

Numerous recent studies have focused on the positive effects that exposure to trees and nature has on our mental health. A recent study published in the journal Nature combined satellite imagery, individual tree data, and health surveys from 31,109 residents of the greater Toronto, Canada area, and found that people who live in areas with higher street tree density report better health perception compared with their peers living in areas with lower street tree density.

“People have sort of neglected the psychological benefits of the environment,” says Marc G. Berman, an author of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. “I’m very interested in how the physical environment affects the brain and behavior.”

Such studies correlate to the “biophilia hypothesis” associated with German-born American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and Harvard evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson. The hypothesis proposes that humans have evolutionary biological and psychological needs attached with the natural world. According to the book, The Biophilia Hypothesis, co-edited by Wilson and Yale social ecology professor Stephen R. Kellert, relentless environmental destruction could have a significant impact on our psychological and spiritual quality of life.

“Why do people bring flowers to the hospital all the time? Is it just superficial? Is it just a nice gesture, nice but not important? I would suggest that it is a much deeper recognition of the healing effects associated with affirming life,” Kellert told Yale 360. With over 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas, this newer research implies an indispensable need for growth and implementation in urban tree planting, urban greening and biophilic design in educational institutions and places of business for enriched physical and mental health.

EarthTalk® is produced by Doug Moss & Roddy Scheer and is a registered trademark of Earth Action Network Inc. View past columns at: www.earthtalk.org. Or e-mail us your question: earthtalk@emagazine.com. 

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Raspberries 

BLOOM-Raspberries

It’s that time of year again, when one of nature’s treats is ripe on the vine and bursting with flavor—raspberries! They are a little sweet, a little tart, and a delicious summertime treat.

Selecting and Storing

* Raspberries are best picked early in the morning for the best flavor.

* Only select ripe berries; they will not ripen further once picked.

* Use berries as soon as possible after picking. You may refrigerate them on a paper towel-lined container overnight.

* Don’t wash raspberries until you are ready to use them. Wet berries are more likely to spoil.

* For longer storage, you can freeze raspberries. Place them on a cookie sheet, place in freezer until partially frozen, then transfer to an airtight freezer bag. You can add a small amount of sugar, if desired. Mix gently with berries to dissolve before freezing.

* Eat a room temperature for the best flavor.

Fun facts

* Raspberries are actually a cluster of many small individual fruits, called drupelets, which each contain their own seed.

*Red isn’t the only color of raspberries. There are also black, purple, and gold varieties. There are also summer-fruiting and fall-fruiting varieties.

* Raspberries are a type of bramble and are known as cane berries.

* The little “hairs” on raspberries help protect the fruit from insect damage.

* The U.S. is the third largest producer of raspberries in the world.

* Raspberries grow best in the cooler climates, where winter temperatures don’t fluctuate as much.

Nutritional Information

*Raspberries are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and photochemicals. They are a good source of Vitamin C, iron, folate, potassium, Vitamin A and calcium. They have 10 times more antioxidants than tomatoes or broccoli. One cup of raspberries will provide you with 50 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin C.

* Raspberries have proven to reduce high blood cholesterol levels and slow the release of carbohydrates in the blood stream of diabetics.

*They also contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic compound.

BLOOM-Raspberries-recipe-Peach-of-a-raspberry-cobblerA Peach of a Raspberry Cobbler

Recipe from Midwest Living.com

This homey dessert combines raspberries and peaches to make a juicy filling for a flaky pie crust. A woven crust topping completes the pretty cobbler.

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter-flavored shortening or shortening

1/3-1/2 cup ice-cold water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 cups peeled and sliced peaches

3 cups fresh red raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon sugar

Light cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Directions

For cobbler crust, in a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually pour in water and blend to form a dough. Divide into two portions of one-third and two-thirds.

On waxed paper, pat or roll the larger portion of dough to form a 12-inch square. Fit into the bottom and up the sides of an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Trim pastry even with top of the dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the 1-1/2 cups sugar, the cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in peaches and berries. Transfer to pastry-lined baking dish. Dot with butter or margarine.

Roll remaining pastry into a 9×8-inch rectangle. Cut into eight 1-inch-wide strips. Arrange over fruit in a lattice. Trim to fit dish or tuck under bottom pastry.

Mix the yolk with the milk. Brush the mixture over pastry. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 1 hour or until crust browns and filling is bubbly. Serve warm with cream or ice cream, if you like. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

www.midwestliving.com/recipe/cobbler/a-peach-of-a-raspberry-cobbler

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Eco-friendly mosquito control  

 

Weeding the garden, adding some birdhouses, eliminating standing water and using fans and citronella candles are just a few of the eco-friendly ways to keep mosquitoes at bay this season.  Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

Weeding the garden, adding some birdhouses, eliminating standing water and using fans and citronella candles are just a few of the eco-friendly ways to keep mosquitoes at bay this season.
Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

By Melinda Myers

Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

Don’t let mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your garden and outdoor parties. Look for environmentally sound ways to manage these pests in your garden and landscape.

Start by eliminating standing water in the yard. Buckets, old tires and clogged gutters and downspouts that hold water make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Drain water that collects in these as well as kids’ toys, tarps and pool covers. Store these items in the garage or turn them over to keep them from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed.

Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Consider installing a small pump to keep water moving to prevent mosquito breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control like Mosquito Dunks and Bits (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both certified organic and safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.

Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. These pests are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach your skin through loose clothing. And be sure to cover as much of your skin as possible with long sleeves and pants.

Add a few birdhouses to the landscape to bring in the birds. You’ll enjoy their beauty and benefit from their diet of insects, including many garden pests and mosquitoes.

Keep the garden weeded. Mosquitoes rest in shrubs, trees and weeds during the day. Removing weeds and managing neglected garden spaces will make your landscape less inviting to these pests.

Consider using a personal repellent to protect you against disease-carrying mosquitoes. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin (found in Skin so Soft products), IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellents, as you need to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent.

Add a bit more protection while sitting or eating outdoors. Use a fan to create a gentle breeze that keeps the weak flying mosquitoes away from you and your guests. Some gardeners even take a small fan into the garden, while weeding.

Then add a bit of ambience to your next party by lighting a few citronella candles for your evening events. Citronella oil and the scented candles do have some mosquito repelling properties. Scatter lots of candles throughout your entertainment space. Position the candles within a few feet of your guests. This can provide some short term relief from these pests for you and your guests.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening book. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

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Enjoy backyard family time

 

BLOOM-Backyard1-webFamily Features

A lush, healthy landscape is the perfect setting for making family memories. In fact, more than half of Americans say their yard is their favorite place at home to spend quality time with family.

In a recent survey commissioned by TruGreen, two-thirds of Americans said their fondest family memories involve spending time together with friends and family in their yard, often in the form of barbecues and cookouts.

“A beautiful lawn inspires beautiful connections, which often become our fondest memories and can even lead to creating new traditions,” said David Alexander, TruGreen president and CEO. “A happier, more connected life lived outside starts with a healthy, beautiful lawn as the foundation.”

Indeed, having a yard you’re proud to share may make creating family memories easier. Nearly half of the survey’s participants said if they had a greener, more maintained and healthier lawn, they would spend more time outside.

BLOOM-Backyard2-webFollow these tips from the lawn care experts at TruGreen to work your way toward a greener, healthier yard you and your family can enjoy all season long:

• Mow and water your lawn regularly. Basic maintenance can be tedious, but it is absolutely necessary in order to give your lawn the chance to thrive. One of the most common mistakes is not mowing frequently enough. Knowing when and how to mow – and doing so regularly – minimizes the chances of damaging your lawn.

• Irrigation. Watering your lawn is perhaps the easiest step to take care of on your own. Proper watering is an important factor; it’s not just about how much water to use, but when to water as well. Be sure to water your lawn weekly, as well as at the first sign of drought.

• Keep your lawn free from debris. Another part of lawn care that is often overlooked is removing dead leaves and other debris to give room for the lawn to breathe and grow properly. Grass clippings and other debris can lead to heavy thatch accumulation, which can keep your lawn from receiving the right amount of water and nutrients, and can prevent your lawn from growing.

• Watch out for lawn damaging insects. Most species are at their peak around summertime, when the weather is warm and they come out to wreak havoc. Unfortunately, while some lawn damaging insects are only interested in your lawn, other pests – like fire ants – may be more interested in your summer get-together guests. So before guests arrive, be sure that your backyard is properly treated for lawn damaging insects that could put a damper on your festivities and cause harm to your guests.

• Fertilize regularly. Fertilization is one of the most important parts of lawn care, providing much needed nutrients to your soil and allowing your grass to grow green and lush. Therefore, it’s important to find a company, such as TruGreen, that includes fertilization among its regularly scheduled lawn care services.

For more lawn care and maintenance advice, visit www.trugreen.com.

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Want to teach your children to be good stewards? 

BLOOM-Garden1

Time to get your hands dirty

(BPT) – Growing your own garden is a popular pastime that cuts grocery bills and puts fresh produce within arm’s reach. But to parents it’s so much more than that. Gardening is a trending family activity that provides plenty of teachable moments, and it also promotes positive characteristics like self reliance and stewardship of the earth.

“You don’t have to be a green thumb to start a garden at home,” says Kevin Bryant, a garden enthusiast and director of national marketing at Tractor Supply Company. “It’s a fantastic activity for families to do together that also lets parents teach valuable lessons to their children. Whether it’s just a few garden boxes on the deck or a full plot with backyard chickens, families everywhere are embracing the adventure of gardening together and learning so much about nature and each other in the process.”

BLOOM-Garden2The recent self-reliant movement sweeping the country is highly appealing to families. Plus, growing basic vegetables, fruits and herbs at home is a viable option whether in the city, suburbs or rural areas. In fact, 29 percent of Americans obtained locally grown food in the past year from a home garden, according to a national Tractor Supply survey – and interest appears to be on the rise.

Furthermore, many families have a deep desire to improve their children’s comprehension of nutrition and food resources. A whopping 89 percent of American parents agree with the statement “My children need a better understanding of where their food comes from,” the survey found.

Now is the ideal time to start planning your garden. Consider these four steps to ensure your family gets the most out of their gardening time together:

1. Research plants

The region where you live will dictate which seeds you should plant and when. It’s best to select high-yielding plants that you know will be successful, particularly if you have a small garden. Your local extension service is a great resource.

2. Decide on size

If you have a large backyard, a bigger plot might be a good option and allow you to grow a wider variety of plants. If you live in the city or a restricted area, container gardens or garden boxes are a great option for herbs, flowers and some vegetables. Don’t bite off more than you can chew during the first year; starting small increases the likelihood of success, and you can always increase the size next year.

3. Go shopping

Once you have a general idea of your garden’s size, location and types of plants you’d like to grow, it’s time to take the family shopping. Visit a store, such as your local Tractor Supply, for seasoned advice, tools, soil, seeds, fertilizers and pest control. You can also find all the supplies necessary for raising backyard chickens, which offer a great way to eliminate backyard pests and boost the health of your garden. Additionally, the kids will love tending to the flock.

4. Make time together

Children love to get their hands dirty, so involve them in every step of the gardening process, from tilling the soil to harvesting the produce. Set a schedule for watering and weeding to teach kids responsibility. Be sure to keep an open conversation about their observations and try to answer their questions. If you don’t know all the answers, explore and learn together.

“Getting outdoors, growing a garden and learning about the land is one of the best things families can do during the warm-weather months,” says Bryant. “Plus, kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they help grow them in their own backyard. That’s a win all around.”

Gardening tips for every season are available online at TractorSupply.com/KnowHow.

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Mulching Can Keep Your Lawn Healthy

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(StatePoint) When working in the yard, you may be tempted to simply bag your yard clippings and set them out to the curb for pick-up. But experts say that mulching grass clippings is a much better alternative for the health of your lawn and the health of the planet.

“Mulching is hands down one of the best ways to maintain a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn,” says Daryn Walters, at Exmark Manufacturing, a manufacturer of turf care equipment. “It’s free and it’s great for lawn health.”

Furthermore, mulching can help you greatly reduce your family’s contribution to landfill waste, points out Walters. Of all the municipal solid waste collected in the United States, 13.5 percent of it is comprised of yard trimmings, according to the EPA.

For best results, try these lawn care tips:

• Practice the 1/3rd Rule: Never cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass blade when mowing, to avoid clippings accumulating on the surface and making your lawn susceptible to disease. Additionally, this will improve the productivity of your mower, as cutting more than that can bog it down with clippings.

• Use a Mulching Mower: Consider investing in a commercial mower to regain productivity that can decrease when mulching. Manufacturers such as Exmark offer mulching-specific blades on both their walk-behind and zero-turn riding mowers, designed to deliver maximum productivity and cut-quality when mulching.

• Ditch the Chemicals: There’s no need to pay for chemical fertilizers to give your lawn what it needs to thrive. Mulching feeds the lawn nutrients and organic material, and can even help with moisture retention — which can significantly reduce the time and expense you spend on watering the lawn.

More information about mulching, lawn care and mowers can be found at www.Exmark.com.

“Your yard trimmings are not trash — they are an effective, natural and free fertilizer,” says Walters. “For a healthy lawn, drop the bag and let the mulch do more for you.”

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Simple tips to get growing at home 

Burpee offers a wide range of flowers, vegetables and herbs to grow at home.

Burpee offers a wide range of flowers, vegetables and herbs to grow at home.

(NAPS)—There may be few things more satisfying than growing colorful flowers or eating vegetables picked fresh from the garden. That might seem ambitious if you haven’t gardened before, but getting started this year need not be difficult. Just follow these simple gardening tips to enjoy the benefits of fresh air, gentle exercise and healthy produce:

1) Pick your spot with care. Plants need sun and water to survive. Vegetables and most flowers need full sun—at least six hours of sunlight every day during the growing season. Plant close to an outdoor water source to make hot weather watering easier.

2) Start with the soil. Because plants live by their roots, the most important part of any garden is below ground. Most soil around houses isn’t ideal for plants but can be improved by adding nutrient-rich organic matter, usually in the form of compost, shredded leaves or composted manure. Bagged soil mixes marked specifically for growing vegetables are ideal for containers.

3) Keep your first garden manageable. For beginners, try a plot 4 feet by 8 feet, or half a dozen good-sized (24–36”) containers. That’s enough to provide a satisfying harvest of herbs, greens or a few tomato plants while you get a feel for the amount of time and effort it takes to water and weed. Pots are the easiest to control soil, water and light. Creating a container garden of vegetables, herbs and patio flowers is a good place for novices to start.

4) Get a head start. Some vegetables and flowers may need to be started from seed 6–8 weeks before it’s safe to plant them outside. You’ll need to do this for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and petunias. But other favorites like zucchini, cucumbers, beans and sunflowers are easily sown in the ground with seed. You can learn more about starting and sowing seeds at www.burpee.com. Planting time will vary in each growing zone, but is generally best in the late spring.

5) Watch your garden grow. It’s fun for the whole family to observe seeds taking root and growing into plants. Be sure to water and weed regularly as you wait for the bounty of your first harvest.

Burpee’s free Garden Time Planner app makes planting in specific garden regions easy. To download the app, buy non-GMO seeds and plants, or to access helpful “how-to” articles and videos, visit www.burpee.com or call (800) 888-1447.

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Old fuel can be hard on lawn mowers

BLOOM-Old-fuel-can-be-hard-on-mowers

(BPT) – Nothing says summer like neighborhoods coming alive with the sounds of lawn mowers and the smell of fresh-cut grass. But getting the lawn mower out of the shed and running properly can be a struggle early in the season.  You turn the key and the riding lawn mower roars to life. Then the engine promptly sputters and dies. Before tearing apart the engine or calling a mechanic, look inside the gas tank.

“Every spring, we see issues with mowers caused by homeowners using gasoline left over from the year before,” says Dwight Grosz, a small engine mechanic near Bismarck, N.D. “Over time, untreated fuel begins to break down, which leads to hard starting, poor performance or an engine that won’t start at all.”

Why gasoline goes bad                                                                                          

What causes gasoline to break down? The first thing to go is gasoline’s volatility. The lightest chemicals evaporate first, leaving a heavier gasoline that doesn’t combust properly. The engine will probably still run, just not as well.

“A more serious problem is oxidization,” says Paul Herskind, a refined fuels expert at CHS, which refines and sells Cenex-brand fuels at more than 1,400 fueling locations. “When inspecting fuel that has sat unused over the winter, watch for signs that it is darker in color and smells sour. It might have small pieces of gum floating in it. These are all signs the fuel has oxidized. You don’t want that in your engine.”

Oxidization is the result of hydrocarbons in the fuel reacting with oxygen to produce new compounds, explains Herskind. This results in gum, which can clog gas lines and filters and create deposits in the fuel system. Gummed-up carburetors can be expensive to fix and may not run properly until deposits are removed.

“Finally, there’s the issue of water contamination,” adds Herskind. Water usually finds its way into fuel tanks through condensation caused by fluctuating temperatures. Water in your engine will lead to hard starting and sputtering.

How to fix it

If your mower won’t start because you’ve been using old gasoline, you’ll need to remove the old fuel and any built-up residue in the engine. Begin by referring to the owner’s manual for service procedures.

Next, siphon out the old gasoline into a container for proper disposal. Then, if the lawn mower runs for a few seconds and dies, the carburetor might be clogged or have old fuel in the float bowl.

“When the volatile ingredients in fuel evaporate, it leaves a sticky, varnish-like substance that clogs the small jets in carburetors,” says Grosz. “Once that happens, the only solution is to use a carburetor cleaner to remove varnish deposits.”

After cleaning the carburetor, add fresh fuel and a fuel stabilizer to help keep the system clean.

After treating the fuel

Grosz advises going through a quick checklist to ensure your mower’s ready for the season. Consult your owner’s manual for maintenance recommendations.

First, change the oil to remove contaminants, sludge and acids. Drain the old oil out and refill the crankcase. Grosz recommends using oil manufactured specifically for smaller engines and lawn mowers, such as Cenex 2-Cycle Oil. Consult your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Next, replace the air filter. Last, don’t forget to sharpen the mower blade and remove any grass that’s caked to the underside of the motor deck.

How to avoid future issues

“To avoid future issues with stale fuel, try not to store gasoline in tanks or containers for more than two months,” says Herskind. “If you know gasoline will be sitting for longer than that, add a fuel stabilizer. This will help prevent oxidization.” At the end of the season, use a fuel stabilizer rather than draining the gas tank, which exposes carburetors and fuel lines to water and air.

“A quality fuel stabilizer can keep gas fresh for as long as 12 to 15 months. But the stabilizer needs to be added to new gasoline,” says Herskind. “It won’t bring stale fuel back to life.”

For more helpful information, Herskind recommends reading the blog on cenex.com. “Readers are also given an opportunity to nominate someone they know for free fuel,” adds Herskind. “It is always easier to get the lawn mower started with a fresh tank of gasoline, especially if it’s free.”

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Ten ways to help bees and butterflies thrive

 

You can help bees and butterflies thrive by creating natural habitats.

You can help bees and butterflies thrive by creating natural habitats.

(NAPS)—Here’s news that’s created a buzz. Three-quarters of the world’s flowering plants and food crops rely on pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies to help them reproduce.

Unfortunately, bee populations are being threatened by a range of issues, such as colony collapse disorder, pesticides, mites, disease and climate change. Butterfly populations are also at risk.

The good news is that gardeners can help restore balance by creating habitats that encourage pollinators to thrive.

Bees and butterflies need places to live and breed in, and food to eat. The plants that provide this food also need pollinators to help them reproduce, so planting gardens that are friendly to bees and butterflies is a win-win situation.

Pollination occurs naturally as small creatures forage for food, carrying pollen from plant to plant as they go. That is why it’s important to offer them a “buffet” of attractive flowers throughout the seasons, and to have sufficient natural habitats so that they don’t have to travel far to find what they need.

Here are 10 easy ways to help:

1) BEE friendly to bees! Honeybees are not aggressive; they sting only as a defense mechanism.

2) Plant trees, shrubs and flowering plants to increase food and shelter for bees and butterflies.

3) Create a seasonal buffet for pollinators by planting perennial flowers with a mix of colors, shapes and scents in containers, window boxes and plant beds.

4) Choose perennials with simple, single rather than double flowers to make nectar and pollen more accessible to bees and butterflies.

5) Cut and use garden flowers for bouquets to encourage re-blooming and to prolong the foraging window for pollinators.

6) Use beautiful native plants such as echinacea, coreopsis, sunflowers and butterfly milkweed for at least 75 percent of your garden.

7) Water, weed and fertilize soil appropriately to create a healthy garden that minimizes pests and diseases.

8) Provide clean water for insects in shallow bowls, birdbaths and ponds, or let fresh water drip over stones.

9) Imperfection is OK! Bees and butterflies may damage leaves and flowers while breeding and feeding. Create areas of natural habitat with old stumps, fallen branches and tall grass for nesting.

10) Help convert small parcels of land into community gardens and green spaces to create closely linked areas for bees and butterflies to visit.

Burpee offers a wide range of seeds and plants that are attractive to bees and butterflies. All of Burpee’s seeds are Non-GMO.

To learn more about protecting pollinators, visit the website www.burpee.com/pollinators or call Burpee at (800) 888-1447.

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