A monthly compendium of random wisdom for the natural world and beyond.
July 1 Sunrise; 6:00am Sunset: 9:02pm The average high in SLC is 90 F.; low is 69. Av. Precipitation: .59 in.
July 2 Forget the nonstick spray: A raw potato preps the grill just as well. Cut it in half and rub it on the hot grate.
July 3 On average, plastic bags are in use for 25 minutes. It takes from 100 to 500 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate, depending on the type of plastic.
July 4 Last year on July 4 in Salt Lake County, fire department dispatchers reported more than 65 fireworks-related calls. Especially with more and more people allowing their lawns to go brown and dry in the summer, it’s time to ban aerial fireworks in the city. In the meantime, if you’re the one with the crunchy lawn, have a long hose ready around the 4th and the 24th
July 5 Time to plant late-summer crops of beets, beans, Chinese cabbage, carrots, collards, cucumbers, kale, lettuce and radishes. Plant seeds 2” deep to protect them from the heat.
July 6 Earth reaches aphelion, its annual farthest point from the sun today. It’s the tilt of the planet that determines the seasons, not the distance from the sun.
July 7 Who needs a mate? The earthworm is hermaphroditic, so if it can’t find a partner, it just doubles up and services itself.
July 8 Don’t worry if your plants wilt during the heat of the day. Wilting is simply an adaptation. Drooping or curling leaves catch less sun and transpire less water.
July 9 King of (slug) beers: Slugs prefer nonalcoholic Kingsbury malt beverage. Michelob and Bud place second and third. Put a half-bottle out for the slimy guys in your garden.
July 10 Unsure about your garden soil? Start with a soil test. A basic soil test from the Utah State University analytical lab, $14, can make a difference in your gardening outcomes. usual.usu.edu.
July 11 Utah’s Midsummer Renaissance Faire starts today, running through July 14. In Cedar City, of course. Catch a Shakespeare play while you’re at it. http://www.umrf.net
July 12 NEW MOON – 8:47 pm Set your intentions for the coming four weeks. Need a place to find things to look forward to? Check out our calendar online.
July 13 Dandelions and dock in the lawn indicate compaction and acidic soil. Add mulch.
July 14 Pinch that plant! Want a great herb garden? Harvesting frequently stimulates further growth, resulting in a bushier plant.
July 15 Culinary legend has it that the Caesar Salad was invented in Mexico in July of 1924. It’s a great summer salad that classically contains raw eggs and anchovies. Only one in 20,000 eggs may carry salmonella, not a fatal affliction. But you can assure safety by pasturizing: Carefully submerge eggs into 140-degree water. Remove after three minutes. Cool before using. They keep in the fridge 6-8 weeks.
July 16 Due to climate change, the USDA plant hardiness zones are shifting. The average wintertime temperature has risen by as much as 8 degrees since the 1960s in some parts of the country.
July 17 Have a yard sale! Visit other people’s yard sales in the weeks before yours, to get a feel for pricing in your neighborhood. Pick a date. Gather your goods—declutter your house. Create an ad for KSL.com and Craigslist. Makes your signs. Get supplies: tables for display, change, stickers for prices. Sort, price, organize and arrange your items. Situate your chair in a shady spot. Greet everyone. Enjoy the day!
July 18 Dragonfly or damselfly? At rest, dragonflies hold their wings horizontally; damselflies, vertically.
July 19 Bug zappers are useless against mosquitoes. The devices attract and kill beneficial and harmless insects like moths and have no effect on the overall mosquito population. Bats and purple martins, once thought to be big mosquito eaters, are equally ineffective. What does work: Gambusia fish in a pond; dragonflies and mosquito traps (the Mega-catch brand was used successfully in a large study).
July 20 In astrology language, your Sun sign dictates your zodiac personality, while your Moon sign, the second most important influence in your horoscope chart after the Sun, represents your emotions, your inner mood. And the two together strongly influence your emotional mode of operation.
July 21 Glory in the beauty of native wildflowers at the Wasatch Wildflower Festival (Big Cottonwood Canyon July 21-22; Little Cottonwood on July 28-29). Cinquefoil, lupine, phlox, flax, monkey flowers, paintbrush, penstemon, and many more are at peak gorgeousness.
July 22 Hammock suspension system ($15-35) makes your hammock more useful by enabling you to hang it easily in a lot more places —on the porch, in the park or take it camping.
July 23 While admiring the wildflowers, keep an eye out for moose, mountain goats, mule deer, yellow-bellied marmots, pika and golden-mantled ground squirrels.
July 24: On this date on 2001, Denver’s 10th Circuit Court declared Utah’s liquor laws unconstitutional. Beer signs were finally allowed in bar windows instead of just “Cold Ones.” Restaurant servers could ask, for the first time, “Would you like to see a drink menu?” And bottles came out from hiding for all to see. CATALYST, along with Junior’s Tavern, was a plaintiff in that case, which was pending for over three years.
July 25 Disease-carrying ticks are not a big thing in Utah, but they do exist, primarily in spring and fall. Two things to know: Ticks do not fly, jump or descend out of trees. And ticks are usually found from ground level to three feet up. So wear long pants when hiking in the foothills or higher, and perform a tick check afterward.
July 26 Float citrus peels in bird baths and other water features to discourage mosquitoes from laying their eggs there.
July 27 FULL MOON – 2:20 pm. The Buck Moon. Male deer, or bucks, shed their antlers and grow new ones every year.
July 28 Feed potted veggies and ornamentals with liquid fertilizer every two weeks, as frequent watering leaches out needed nutrients. A good local product: Turboganic My Garden. Available at the Downtown Farmers Market.
July 29 Some bee colonies are teetotalers, punishing members who bring back fermented nectar. Caffeine, found in citrus flowers, and nicotine-tinged nectars are okay.
July 30 You can start planting fall crops of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and peas now.
July 30 Mormon crickets, a type of katydid, swarm in drought years and go on the march in search of protein and salt. Favored foods include carrion, flowers and seed pods, mammal feces, soil soaked in cattle urine, and each other.