Urban Almanac

Urban Almanac for March 2020

By Greta Belanger deJong

Mar 1  Average temps today: high 49º, low 32º. Sunrise:  7:00am. Sunset:   6:19pm.

Mar 2  The National Pest Management Association predicts that our wetter winter will be followed by a warmer and drier summer, with increased cockroach, ant and fly populations.

Mar 3  Protect migrating songbirds—turn off unnecessary outdoor electric lights 11pm-6am during March, April and May. Two thirds of all songbird species migrate at night because of calmer weather, cooler temperatures and the fact that predators like hawks and falcons are less active. Light pollution disorients birds. If it is not an option to turn off lights, use warm yellow or red-colored light bulbs, shield your bulbs to direct light downward or install motion sensors. At night, close the curtains to keep birds away from windows. tracyaviaryconservation.org/lightsoutsaltlake

Mar 4  Want to encourage native pollinators in your garden? Make a “bee block “ nest site out of scrap wood. Instructions:  “Gardening With Native Bees, “ March 2012 CATALYST.

Mar 5  Loosen, but don’t remove, mulch around spring bulbs and hardy perennials.

Mar 6  “Enter each day with the expectation that the happenings of the day may contain a clandestine message addressed to you personally. Expect omens, epiphanies, casual blessings, and teachers who unknowingly speak to your condition.“ —Sam Keen

Mar 7  Daylight saving time in Utah begins at 2am on Sunday, March 8. Turn your clock one hour forward tonight.

Mar 8  Food is biodegradable. But if you toss it, it likely won’t biodegrade in the landfill. Tightly packed landfills create an oxygen-free environment. And even if your leftovers do biodegrade in a landfill, they’ll release methane, which is a way more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 100 year timeframe. One easy answer? A compost bin. Many types are available for purchase or to build.

Mar 9  FULL MOON @ 11:48am. This is the second of four supermoons for 2020. The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

Mar 10  Plant and transplant shade and fruit trees, shrubs, grape vines, strawberries, raspberries and roses.

Mar 11  Plant seeds of cool season vegetables as soon as garden soil is workable. Consider planting peas in the garden every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to extend the harvest.

Mar 12  It seems like an ecological action. But don’t reuse single-use water bottles. Even those labeled  “BPA free “ will leach BPA, an endocrine disruptor, into the water after a few reuses. A better choice is to carry your own refillable water bottle made of #2, 4 or 5 plastic, or glass or stainless steel.

Mar 13  Want to learn more about American kestrals, the smallest of falcons? Hawkwatch international offers a talk, tonight, on American Kestrel ecology in various Northern Utah landscapes. 6-7:30pm (and again tomorrow, 10:30-12) at their headquarters, 2240 S 900 E.

Mar 14  Go for a walk in your yard looking for microclimates—the places that are hotter, cooler, wetter or drier than others, perhaps because of their proximity to heat-absorbing materials such as concrete or brick, or because of shade or a pond. You may even have different USDA winter hardiness zones. Keep this in mind when planting!

Mar 15  Give some unused grassy areas to natives: Chokecherry, elderberry, serviceberry and currant require little water, once established. You don’t have to mow them. And…fruit!

Mar 16  Fly maggots can transform lean meat into fat and essential amino acids. They are considered, in some traditions, a superfood, which  “predigests “ (vs.  “spoils “) its host food.

Mar 17  Prune berries and fruit trees such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums and apricots

Mar 18  Window washing solution: 2 cups cold water, 1/4 cup each white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Mix in a spray bottle. Use on an overcast day so you can see the streaks better.

Mar 19   “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.“ —Margaret Atwood. Spring Equinox is tonight at 9:50pm.

Mar 20  International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911. This year’s theme:  “I am Generation Equality. “

Mar 21  Thinking of a spring detox? You can find arugula, kale, mustard and other bitter leafy greens at the downtown Winter Market behind the Rio Grande station.

Mar 22  America’s 83 million pet dogs produce an estimated 10.6 million tons of poop every year. The jury is still out on the best way to dispose of it.

Mar 23  Itching to plant something that looks good soon and tastes good later? Pot up a piece of organic ginger from the store. Choose a piece with at least two cone-shaped bumps (eyes). Soak overnight, then plant two inches deep in a wide, shallow container. Place in bright indirect light; water often. You’ll see sprouts in two weeks and can begin harvesting in four months.

Mar 24  NEW MOON @  3:29am. What do you choose to begin today?

Mar 25  In 1919, Utah’s Zion National Park received 1,814 visitors. When I first visited, in March 1978, I was one of 1,193,212 who came to gape at the beauty. In 2019, the park was visited by 4,320,000 million human beings—more than the combined population of Utah and Montana.

Mar 26  Think cat fights sound bad? Wait till you hear raccoons mating—it’s a sound fit for a horror movie. Listen carefully at night (any place in town where you’ve spotted one) and you just might hear it. Count to nine weeks and expect to see two to six kits soon following mama through your yard or along a broad fence.

Mar 27  Spider venom has been used in medical research and has helped in creating painkillers, cancer treatments and even male contraceptives.

Mar 28  Around the world tonight, 8:30-9:30pm local time, lights will be dimmed for the 14th Annual Earth Hour. Even the Eiffel tower goes dark. More: EarthHour.org/

Mar 29  Weed Appreciation Day. Dandelions attract beneficial ladybugs. Milkweed is food for the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly. Mourning doves enjoy lamb’s quarter seeds, finches delight in shepherd’s purse seeds. Bees make great honey from clover. And dandelion greens are good for us!

Mar 30  My love for plants and flowers began as a little girl when the Easter bunny brought me (along with the usual goodies) a flowering potted plant—an azalea, tiny rose or (my favorite) a cyclamen. Might you start a similar tradition this year with a child you know?

Mar 31  Average temps today: high 58º, low 38º. Sunrise:  7:11am. Sunset:   7:51pm.

This article was originally published on February 26, 2020.