Scorchio shocker or torrential downpour, there are sensible ways to keep your plot protected and thriving. We ask Lucy Chamberlain for her top tips on growing fruit and veg whatever the weather…
Weatherproof Your Plot
In times of a changing climate, we’re not sure whether summer will bring us deluge or dearth. But come rain or shine, we can take action to ‘weatherproof’ our fruit and veg via careful soil management, says Lucy.
Protect From The Wet
So you want to weatherproof your plot. Great! First of all, add bulky organic matter (such as composted bark or well-rotted farmyard manure) to your plot – it makes light soils more moisture-retentive and heavy plots less claggy.
Dig gullies alongside your crops, plugging them up to catch your irrigation water in a drought or opening them up in times of heavy rain.
Grow a little bit of everything –for instance, try drought-tolerant asparagus and globe artichokes alongside moisture-loving rhubarb and Oriental leaves.
Choose raised beds on low-lying areas, but grow on the flat if your plot is on the upper slopes.
And add plenty of water butts to capture rainfall. This way, Mother Nature can throw her worst at you, and your crops will survive!
Article written for Amateur Gardening by Janey Goulding
Note: FYI the water butt referred to in the article would be called a rain barrel in the U.S.
Looking for an easy but healthy addition to your diet? You might want to try blueberries, and here’s why.
Blueberries: Why You Need Them In Your Diet
Now more than ever, we need to take good care of our bodies and follow a healthy diet as much as possible, what with pandemics and viruses coming here and there. Unfortunately, while there are literally no cons in following a healthy diet, it’s easier said than done for most people since a lot of them end up abandoning it or failing altogether.
But that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying. Taking little steps is a good strategy when it comes to having better health, and one such little step we can take is adding blueberries in our grocery list.
They may be small, but they pack quite a punch when it comes to antioxidant content. In fact, blueberries have more antioxidants than almost any other food, which your body can then use to fight free radicals and reduce the risk of many cancers and diseases.
Additionally, blueberries are also a good source of vitamin K, which works alongside calcium to ensure your bones are healthy and strong. In addition, vitamin K also plays a role in maintaining blood circulation and contributing to heart health.
Per studies, eating blueberries has also been shown to help improve brain function in older individuals, even helping delay mental aging by over two years. Blueberries do this via their antioxidants, which help fight the free radicals that accelerate our brain’s aging processes, resulting in cognitive impairments.
Blood Pressure and Heart Health
The same antioxidants we just mentioned can also help lower and regulate our blood pressure, which in turn makes the 24/7 job of our heart a little more easier. In fact, research shows that regular intake of anthocyanins (the main antioxidant in blueberries) can reduce heart attack risk by 32 percent.
High in fiber and water, blueberries are also a great weight loss snack since they only have 40 calories per half a cup.
On May 18, a TV ad announced the arrival of a new Las Vegas. In it, a couple kisses at a bar. They hike in the desert. At night, illuminated by dazzling lights, they stroll in front of the Strip’s Bellagio fountains. Absent are the pool parties, glamorous crowds huddled over cr*ps tables, and roaring nightlife the destination was known for prior to its mid-March shuttering. “Things will be a little different,” says a voiceover, “A new Vegas for a new reality.”
The sheer scale of the city makes Vegas’s reopening trickier than elsewhere, though. Here, crowds are as much a part of the city’s DNA as the neon signs. Fifty thousand visitors dropped into Caesars Palace daily before the pandemic, Caesars says, with 10,000 lingering on the casino floors alone. Last year, the city’s 156,000 hotel rooms enjoyed a near-90 percent occupancy rate, according to the LVCTB. To control crowds, entire swaths of Vegas will be drastically reimagined in this first phase of reopening; other elements will remain closed altogether.
Individual resorts and casinos have outlined their plans for ensuring guest safety upon reopening. When MGM Resorts International reopens four of its 14 properties on Las Vegas Boulevard next week, which include The Bellagio, New York New York, and The NoMad, its seven-point safety plan will have all employees in masks, floor attendants enforcing six feet of distance between guests and staff, and routine temperature checks for workers. At the Venetian, guests will find personal care kits packed with gloves, masks, and disinfectant wipes in their suites upon arrival. The Cosmopolitan, smack in the middle of the Strip, is transforming all self-service stands—the coffee bar, snack counters, breakfast buffets—into manned stations.
The most visible adjustment will be at casinos, though, which account for roughly 40 percent of Vegas’s total tourism dollars. Now required to cut their capacity in half, a number of gaming tables and slot machines will be removed. Only three individuals will be allowed at blackjack tables at any one time, dealers will wear masks, and players will not be allowed to touch their own cards. Casinos will also be introducing sanitizing technology like Elite Chip Care, which uses an antimicrobial cleanser to keep chips germ-free for sixty days. And don’t expect to lean over a roulette table to watch as a stranger wins big: According to the New York Times, crowds will be promptly broken up.
As for the city’s massive events—well, those won’t be back anytime soon. In addition to restricting crowds, the current phase of the Las Vegas reopening bans all live entertainment, from Cirque du Soleil shows to concerts from the likes of Gwen Stefani and Afrojack. And there is no set date for when they may return. “We don’t know when it will be possible to host large scale events again,” said a spokesperson from Caesars, where Mariah Carey is usually a star attraction. Pool parties and all-you-can-eat buffets, another Vegas show pony, are also on hold. At the restaurants that do reopen on June 4, such as the upscale Restaurant Guy Savoy inside Caesars, tables will be removed and repositioned to cut capacity to 50 percent, and online or disposable menus will become mandatory. And though, technically, the main drag through the city—the Strip—will be open, crowds won’t be allowed to gather (and the buskers that draw them will also be banned under the live entertainment restrictions).
Despite the unique challenges of reopening Las Vegas, there’s a heightened sense of urgency. According to LVCTB, the leisure and hospitality industry is the number one economic driver in southern Nevada, and creates more than 40 percent of the region’s jobs. Last year, the city of Las Vegas raked in $58 billion in tourism dollars. (Los Angeles brought in $27 billion from tourism during the same time period, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.) The now-mandated cuts in capacity mean an inevitable cut in profits. And while there is some talk that casinos will soften the blow by upping minimum bets, the tourism board has yet to share concrete details on how they plan to make up for such losses. “(For now) it’s about guests enjoying experiences they have not been able to have at home,” says Brunelle of LVCTB. Like so much in this uncertain era, it sounds like we’ll have to wait and see.
Naturally, there are plenty of people hesitant to resume traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has already caused many travel restrictions and the closure of popular tourist destinations. The lack of tourism is financially devastating many businesses in the travel industry, so many destinations such as the Keys have decided to cautiously reopen to visitors.
In an interview with TravelPulse, the president of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, Stacey Mitchell, reassures travelers that the safety of tourists, locals and employees will be the Key’s top priority upon reopening.
In fact, it is because of safety concerns that the Monroe County TDC decided to reopen on June 1 rather than a popular tourism time period like Memorial Day Weekend.
“We are opening up per the state guidelines, in phases,” said Mitchell. “And right now we’re in Phase 2, which allows businesses to open at 50 percent maximum whether it be restaurants or retail shops, and we really wanted to give residents a chance to get used to being out and about. Rather than just go ahead and open up the entire county to residents and visitors, we are doing so in a measured slow roll.”
While many businesses are eager to make up for lost time, Mitchell made it clear that businesses that are hesitant to reopen at this time are not required to do so.
“The private sector can determine when they feel comfortable reopening or not,” said Mitchell.
Additionally, hotels, restaurants and stores will continue to enforce social distancing to both employees and guests and have updated their cleaning procedures and disinfecting measures to ensure that COVID-19 will not spread. Visitors will also be expected to continue to wear face masks.
Luckily for travelers, many of the activities that draw visitors to the Keys such as snorkeling and scuba diving allow them to follow safety guidelines.
As Mitchell pointed out, “The lifestyle [in Monroe County] is conducive to activities like riding a bike and when you’re under the water scuba diving, you’re basically socially distancing!”
Unlike other areas in Florida, Mitchell is not worried about the beaches in the Keys being packed with overzealous guests as the Keys’ beaches tend to draw more watersport enthusiasts than sunbathers.
“The Florida Keys aren’t really known for our beaches. We’re known for our nearshore waters, but not for traditional beaches like you’d see in California or the Jersey Shore. We have great water access for watersport activities and our natural resources are conducive to practicing social distancing measures,” said Mitchell.
“People who come down here want to go snorkeling, they want to go scuba diving, they want to go fishing, they want to go paddle-boarding, they want to go kayaking out in the mangroves. Because we have such interactive marine resources, our visitors aren’t apt to just lie on the beach like a traditional beachgoer. There’s just so much more to see and do.”
Through phased reopening and enhanced safety initiatives, the Florida Keys can begin its tourism rebound under a new normal.
The brutal killing of one black man has morphed into mass demonstrations all over America. That’s not such a bad idea at all. However, Dr. King is probably spinning in his grave at how his non-violent approach to racism has been corrupted into a sporting event of looting, burning and violence. Is this the justice for George we were expecting. No, justice was hijacked so stores could be emptied, business’ set on fire and grudges against police and society in general could be acted out.
If that’s not heartbreaking enough, here is the gut-kick. This past weekend, 27 people were killed and 92 shot all unrelated to the protests going on. This is black-on-black violence that white America doesn’t want to hear about, let alone protest against. I wonder why they chose to ignore this every weekend event when tv camera’s aren’t present. Where are the mass protests ?