May 2013 Almanac
May is one of the most beautiful months of the year, and it also happens to be the month that celebrates mothers on May 12th in the United States. Mother's Day was first observed in 1908 and was designated so by a Presidential proclamation, and recognized by Congress and the President in 1914. I love being a mom. Mother's rock! Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing mothers out there!
Let's help make this a huge event! Mark your calendars ahead of time and join me and many other moms in marching in Moms against GMO's on July 4th-find one near you.
GMOs have been linked to numerous health problems, and are harmful to the environment. Buy non-GMO food and be part of the movement of change to healthier food now and for future generations.
Did you hear the great news for the Amazon rainforest? The Brazilian association of supermarkets signed an agreement that they will no longer sell beef from cattle raised on land clear cut from the rainforest - The Amazon rainforest has a cooling effect on the global climate, because the trees absorb a huge amount of heat from the sun.
I love New York City! One of my most favorite places to visit there is the Natural History Museum. I used to go there often when I was little and I took my daughters whenever we visited the city. There is a wonderful show there right now and up untill August 11th called Our Global Kitchen, about food, culture and nature. I enjoyed it especially because my daughter Arielle came with me to see it: see my blog post.
Did you read about the 30-year study on Organic Farming versus Conventional Farming done at the Rodale Institute? It's fantastic news for all of us who support organic farming practices: They have proved that organic farming outperforms conventional farming from performing better in years of drought, to reducing water run-off and building up the organic matter in the soil rather than depleting as is with conventional farming. Support your local organic farmer whenever you can, and help make organic food the norm rather than the exception.
When I was in NYC, I also attended the Green Festival. These kinds of earthy festivals are always interesting to me and I love going. Everyone is always very friendly and it's energizes me to be around so many like-minded people. See my blog about the Green Festival.
I only recently came across the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and it's just so wonderful. Adopted by the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia, the Bolivian government has submitted it to the United Nations for consideration. Please read it: See my Blog post.
Our planet earth, Mother Earth needs our help to heal and I'm going to do whatever I can to make it happen. My passion for the environment whether it’s the bees, the trees, our food, everyone's health and well-being, recycling and repurposing in order to reduce waste all, and helping our animal friends is the reason that I write my Almanac Blog every month! We all have it in us to be a powerful force for change. Just turn it on!
I hope Andrew Brown is successful with his brilliant idea of how to save the millions of gallons of water lost down city drains. Clearly, the infrastructure in many of our cities is aging, and the roads in many areas weren't built with flooding in mind or that water in other areas is so scarce that it needs to be saved and reused.
May 27th: Happy Birthday Rachel Carson, who warned the world 50 years ago of the dire environmental impact of fertilizers and pesticides in her influential work, Silent Spring and helped shape a growing environmental consciousness.
I'm always looking for ways to use natural products in my beauty regime and saving money as well is an added benefit. One way is to make your own natural scrub for the shower, which is really easy. Learn how to in my latest tip featured in Peaceful Daily Blog.
I'm so happy to have been featured in a story recently in Vogue.co by Evelyn Crowley which was posted on Earth Day. Called The Way of the West: California's Eco-Conscious Entrepreneurs. I was great company along with my friend David de Rothschild, Danielle Fong, Marina Storm, Sarah Buscho and Chris Del Moro.
Wishing you a wonderful month!
Kunle Adeyemi's Floating Schools
Increasingly areas of the world are becoming susceptible to flooding. A story I read recently in INHABITOTS is so inspiring. The community of Makoko of Lagos, Nigeria is prone to flooding and they have learned to take these periodic inundations in their stride. Over generations, they have adapted their lifestyle by building their houses on stilts. Transportation is by canoe! Nigerian-born architect, Kunle Adeyemi has sustainable living on his mind and he hopes to build a floating school, many more homes and a hospital for the communities living along the coast in Africa. The more you think about it, the more it makes sense since the tides are rising and instead of fighting against them, learn how to live with them.
Wings of Life
Wings of Life directed by Louie Schwartzberg and narrated by Meryl Streep, has the most incredible close-up footage I've ever seen. It's not only astonishing but fascinating as well. Watch up close the intricate world of butterflies, bees, birds and bats and learn how essential they are to health of our planet. This film will knock your socks off! Can't wait to watch it again!
Canadian artist Penelope Stewart, known for her large sensory beeswax creations participated in a show recently at Lotusland, California called Swarm. Inspired by the extraordinary gardens at Lotusland, her fragrant and sensual beeswax room was constructed from 1,000 pounds of beeswax, incorporating the shapes of succulents and lotus pods seen in the gardens. The show was just beautiful. Swarm was meant to draw attention to the serious plight of the honeybee which is very close to being given an early warning alert as an endangered species.
Previously profiled artists in the news:
Patrick Dougherty's "Wiggle in its walk" stick art sculpture's viewing has been extended till December 2013 at the Wegerzyn Garden in Dayton, Ohio.
Andy Goldsworthy has created one of the installations being featured at Oliver Ranch in Sonoma, California, part of a benefit for the Sonoma County Library.
Christiane Löhr has a new show opening at the Jason McCoy Gallery in New York City from May 8th till June 28th.
Bryan Nash Gill has a show at The Hotchkiss School's Tremaine Gallery till May 5th
Environmentalist Yvon Chouinard, is a passionate outdoorsman and founder of environmentally responsible Patagonia, Inc. His respect for nature and the planet has inspired him to use his business to encourage better business practices such as reducing waste through recycling programs at his stores. Patagonia was the first major retailer to switch all its cotton to organic because Yvon Chouinard found out that growing cotton the conventional way is very damaging to the environment. His work ethic is also very inspiring, as he believes in a healthy work environment, even encouraging his team to take surfing lunch breaks, which he is only too happy to join! Read his memoir "Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman," a book I loved and inspired me when I started my own business 5 years ago.
He co-founded 1% For The Planet, an alliance of businesses, such as mine, that contribute at least 1% of their annual revenues to environmental causes.
Last month, he was awarded the Wilderness Legacy Award for his lifelong commitment to protecting the environment along the Central Coast of California and throughout the world.
"I believe the accepted model of capitalism that demands endless growth deserves the blame for the destruction of nature, and it should be displaced. Failing that, I try to work with those companies and help them change the way they think about our resources."
Eco Garden - May 2013
MOON GARDENING BY PRISCILLA WOOLWORTH
Please check out my blog about Gardening according to the phases of the Moon, where I explain it in more detail.
MAY MOON PHASE SCHEDULE:
May 2nd to 8th: Waning
Garden Chores for May
Buy Tomato seedlings- Go to tomatomania.com and find out where you can still buy seedlings in your area up till the end of May. A favorite tomato is the 'Better Bush,' if you want to plant just one variety. When you plant tomatoes, do not add extra nitrogen to the soil as tomatoes don't like it and won't produce fruit.
PLANT PLANT PLANT all your vegetables by the end of May so the plants can establish deep roots before the heat of the summer.
We should all plant as many bee loving flowers as we can: http://nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens/list.html
The month of May is a great time to feed actively growing plants with fish emulsion, and especially the ones that are container grown will appreciate this. You can dilute it in your watering can even more than the bottle says to.
Deadhead, pinch and prune for bushier growth, especially hibiscus, which can get too leggy.
Thin out the peaches and nectarines and allow 4 to 6 inches between each fruit.
In your flower garden:
Plant alyssum, calendula, carnation, chrysanthemum, columbine, coneflower, cosmos, cockscomb, cornflower, delphinium, foxglove, geranium, globe amaranth, hollyhock, impatiens, larkspur, lavender, morning glory, marigold, nasturtium, nigella, penstemon, poppy, rudbeckia, salvia, statice, sticky monkey flower, sunflower, yarrow, zinnia.
In your vegetable garden, plant tomato, beans, pepper, eggplant, squash, cucumber, lettuce, leeks, corn, okra, pumpkin, spinach, basil, melon, chard, celery, turnips, carrots, beets, parsnip, radish, and cilantro.
This is the best time to plant bananas, cherimoyas and other subtropical fruit such as avocados, and citrus, such as the gorgeous and delicious Meyer Lemon.
Thin out your carrots, beets, green onions and lettuce seedlings now.
Make sure tomatoes and peas have tall support.
Wash aphids off tender new growth by filling a spray bottle with water and spray the aphids right off the plant. You can also buy Ladybugs and release them at dusk. They love to eat aphids.
Following is a Moon Gardening calendar for May and which days are best for specific chores:
May 1st and 2nd: Harvest, cultivate, and weed and control pests
May 3rd and 4th: Prune, water, compost and fertilize
May 5th, 6th and 7th: Harvest, cultivate, weed and control pests
May 8th and 9th: Water, compost and fertilize
May 9th: New Moon
From May 2nd till may 8th, the Moon is Waning, and the energy of the earth is drawn down but the gravitational pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil and this energy goes into the roots making it a good time of the month to sow crops that produce their yield below ground and control plant growth by pruning, weeding, and controlling garden pests, as well as dividing perennials. This is the best time for garden maintenance because the growth cycle of plants decreases. Fruit trees do best planted at this time of the month because the position of the moon encourages development of root growth and tree bark, essential to their success. This is also the best time to cut wood, because it resists parasites and cures better. Farmers pick their apples, cabbages, potatoes and onions at the Waning Moon, when water content is lowest and so the harvest stores better and keeps longer. Best time to dry herbs, flowers and fruit and the herbs are at their most potent. Also, add potassium fertilizer to plants that need it because it will be better absorbed at this time. Mow your lawn to slow growth. First time composting, start your composting during this period because the Waning Moon phase helps aid in the decomposition of plant matter.
Recommended days for these garden chores:
May 12th: Mother's Day!
May 13th and 14th: Plant above ground annuals, especially cabbages and leafy vegetables
May 18th, 19th and 20th: Plant flowering vines
May 21st and 22nd: Plant above ground annuals especially flowers and herbs
May 22nd, 23rd and 24th: Plant above ground annuals
May 24th: Full Moon
May 24th and 25th: Harvest and cultivate; plant tubers and fruit trees
May 27th and 28th: Plant for root growth
May 29th and 30th: Harvest, cultivate, weed and control pests.
May 30th and 31st: Prune, water, compost and fertilize
May 10th till the 23rd: the Moon is in the Waxing phase, when the lunar gravitational pull brings the water up, which makes it a good time of the month to encourage plant growth and proliferation. Plant seeds, transplant, re-pot, trim and prune for growth. Also, fruits and vegetables that are tender and should be eaten immediately are at their best when gathered at the Waxing Moon, because the water content is higher, salads are crunchier, and juicier.
The 4 days before and also 4 days after the Full Moon is the best time to prune, plant seeds (they germinate faster when planted at the full moon because they absorb more water) and fertilize plants as close to the Full Moon as possible. Cut bamboo and sow a lawn or put down sod.
The Full Moon is when water is at the highest level in the month. Best time to pick tomatoes. Harvest grapes to be used in winemaking as close to the full moon as possible because the grapes will retain more juice and bouquet. Gather any herbs to be used for their essential oils at the Full Moon because oil content is more concentrated at this time.
Get ready for June 2013 Gardening according to the phases of the Moon! Subscribe to my Almanac and get your monthly update every month from me.
Valentina Wooden Composter
Start composting with a Valentina Wooden outdoor composter by Priscilla Woolworth.
Eco Books - May 2013
From Above and Below: Man and the Sea by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Brian Skerry. This stunning book is by one of my favorite photographers Yann Arthus-Bertrand, founder of Good Planet Foundation. In this book her teams up with underwater photographer Brian Skerry to observe our relationship to the sea. I'm sure this book will be gorgeous and I can't wait to have my own copy.
The Tree-Meaning and Myth by Frances Carey, is a fascinating book that surveys the meaning and purpose of trees: historic, cultural, scientific, and artistic. It's lavishly illustrated with works of art and artifacts from the extensive collection of the British Museum. I have a copy on my desk that I keep on picking up and looking through. It has so many interesting stories about trees, so I'm looking forward to sitting down with it in a quieter moment. Trees are a passion of mine and I have always felt very grounded when I'm near them.
Peace Salad - (100 tips to Inspire a Peaceful Life) by Sandy Corso Sandy Corso's, "Think Good. Eat Whole. Walk Far," is a mantra that inspires me. Her wonderful daily blog promotes compassion and connectivity. Every page of Peace Salad is inspiring! There are so many wonderful tips and ideas on all easy ways you can make changes in your life to make it healthier and happier. I love it!
Product of the Month - May 2013
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
Last week, I was working on a chapter for my new book L.O.L.A. about food and healthy eating and I learned that spinach and strawberries are a match made in heaven! Eating them together is excellent for your health because the vitamin C in the strawberries increases the amount of bio-available iron from the spinach, which also increases the amount of iron your body can absorb. At first, I didn't like the idea of eating spinach and strawberries together but to my surprise, they make quite the delectable salad… and are both in season this month. Eat for your health!
1 lb of fresh spinach
1 pint of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of toasted pecans
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave
- make the dressing in a bowl and set aside
- clean the spinach and remove the stems, cutting up larger leaves in bite size portions and add to bowl with dressing
- remove the stems from the strawberries and slice in half, add to the salad
- Add the toasted pecans and toss the salad.
The avocado has been declared the world's most perfect food because of it's many health benefits. Many nutritionists claim that it contains everything a person needs to survive, and it has been found to contribute to the prevention of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes and other health conditions.
My favorite resource for information relating to health and the environment, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) has just released their latest Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list, a comprehensive list of the foods you can buy conventionally grown and the foods that you should buy organically grown.