Newsy Outdoorsy Notes of Interest

Yes, today is Monday and Newsy Notes usually runs on Friday … or at the latest Saturday … but better late than never.

20080214_35 Researchers from the University of Essex in the U.K. offer some scientific evidence to back up what most gardeners and nature lovers know – getting outside for even a few minutes improves one’s mood. When they grouped data from 10 studies that included more than 1200 people whose moods were evaluated using standard research scales, the investigators found just five minutes of outdoor activity improved mood. Continued outdoor activity continued to up mental health scales, but to a lesser degree, and a full day outside brought an additional mental health spike. Maybe that’s why I recently saw so many calm and happy visitors enjoying Boston Public Gardens.

If gardening is the activity you choose to do when heading outside for a mental health boost, don’t forget to use ergonomic tools. But beware – all ergonomic tools are not equal says Paula Kramer, PhD, from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Read her suggestions – padded handles, spring-action sheers, etc. Umm … all good excuses for buying new gardening tools.

Dermatologists at MD Anderson Cancer Center suggest we use parasols to protect our skin while outdoors. I haven’t yet figured out how to hold a parasol while I’m weeding – and please don’t suggest one of those silly hats with a small umbrella perched above – but a wide-brimmed hat could work. Still the parasol idea is intriguing.  I can see myself strolling along a tropical beach coyly holding a parasol to shield my shoulders from the sun – check out But dressed in blue jeans, a work shirt and work boots, with shovel or pruners in hand? Can’t quite wrap my head around that vision.

chives2 Woo-hoo for CT farms and all Nutmeggers who love farm-fresh goodies. It’s now – thanks to the Pickle Bill – okay for Connecticut’s family farms to bottle and sell acidified foods (pickles, relishes, etc. with a pH of 4.6 or less). Maybe there’s an outlet for my chive vinegar? Made the season’s first batch this morning.

The Weed Science  Society of America (WSSA) is expressing concern over the elimination of federal funds for the study of weeds. Weed research may seem minor on the surface, but dig deeper to understand funding is needed to continue research into herbicide resistant weeds, invasive weeds, effective organic weed control – sometimes you can’t just pull ‘em – and other weed management issues. Read more about the WSSA’s appeal.

An example of interesting weed-related research comes from scientists at the Agricultural Research Service and their investigations into using growth regulator herbicides to control broadleaf weeds through sterilization. Growth regulators, applied at the proper time to annual weeds, significantly minimizes the number of weed seeds produced which, over time, reduces the number of sprouting weeds. Fewer seeds, fewer weeds.

2 comments for “Newsy Outdoorsy Notes of Interest

  1. May 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Joene, Thanks for the chive vinegar suggestion and recipe. I am always looking for ways to use my abundance of chives, and the beauty of making chive vinegar from the flowers is that they won’t make seed and self-sow still more chives!

  2. joenesgarden
    May 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Chive flowers are also good in salads of greens, potatoes, chicken, and tuna.

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