The Urban Almanac: March 2018
A monthly compendium of random wisdom for the natural world and beyond.
Mar 1 Full Moon at 5:51pm Worm Moon: the Worm Moon, because the ground begins to thaw and earthworms reappear, soon followed by the return of robins. Sunrise: 7:01am; sunset: 6:18pm.
Mar 2 Holika, or Holi for short, the Hindu Festival of Colors, celebrates the transition into spring. It’s a day to laugh and play and to forgive and forget. In Utah, it will be celebrated at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork on March 24-25.
Mar 3 If you tilled your garden last year, there’s probably no need to till it again this year. Over-tilling breaks down the soil structure, eventually turning even this healthiest soil into dust. If you do till, be sure to add lots of compost.
Mar 4 In observance of National Grammar Day, take an online quiz to test your grammar, listen to the funny/snide “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” or haul out the Scrabble board.
Mar 5 Loosen, but don’t remove, mulch around spring bulbs and hardy perennials.
Mar 6 Start your warm-weather seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) under grow-lights now.
Mar 7 Prune fruit trees and summer-blooming shrubs only until the buds start to swell, or you won’t get any flowers (or fruit) this year.
Mar 8 International Women’s’ Day! Attend a peacful rally inside the State Capitol. Amplifying Women’s Voices is hosted by KRCL’s Lara Jones and Eugenie Hero Jaffe. The purpose is to encourage women to run for public office, inspire all women to vote and to support legislation for equality for all.
Mar 9 From sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow, join in National Day of Unplugging (https://www.nationaldayofunplugging.com/), a 24-hour global respite from technology, to highlight the value of disconnecting from digital devices to connect with ourselves, our loved ones and our communities in real time.
Mar 10 Corn mache is a hardy, fast-growing, nutty-tasting green that can be planted in early spring and again in fall. Tatsoi, a member of the mustard family, is also cold hardy and quick to grow.
Mar 11 Daylight Saving Time Begins: 11 (Turn Ahead 1 Hour) @2:00 am. Spring ahead!
Mar 12 National Napping Day is observed annually the day following the return of daylight saving time. Mid-afternoon naps are an integral part of most cultures, and scientifically proven to be good for you.
Mar 13 March’s snowfall varies a lot from year to year in Salt Lake City. Three to 10 inches (8 to 26 cm) of fresh snow arrives in half the years. Less new snow lands in one out of four Marches, while another 25% are snowier.
Mar 14 As if you didn’t already have great reasons to play in the garden: Research shows ongoing exposure to Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria normally found in dirt, strengths the immune system and also acts as an antidepressant, boosting serotonin production.
Mar 15 For 20 days of March, the temperature is 50 °F max. or more. For 12 days of the month, it’s 32 °F min. or less (0 °C).
Mar 16 Freedom of Information (FOI) Day is celebrated today, the birthday of James Madison, who is widely regarded as the Father of the Constitution and the foremost advocate for openness in government.
Mar 17 New Moon 7:11am. Ever wondered what’s the difference between a new moon and a lunar eclipse? Basically, new moons happen when the moon is between the sun and Earth. Lunar eclipses occur when Earth is between the sun and the moon.
Mar 18 Half the time, Salt Lake City receives 1.1 to 2.4 inches (28 to 60 mm) of precipitation in March. One in four years has drier weather, while another one in four is wetter.
Mar 19 Spring-related words we love: ozone, petrichor and geosmin. When the ground is thawing and it starts to rain, there’s this great smell….
Mar 20 First day of Spring. March Equinox (Vernal Equinox) is at 10:15 am.
Mar 21 The latest on fats: Trans fats (aka partially hydrogenated oils) are still bad. But healthily rendered saturated fats are now finally revealed to be neutral or beneficial. On everyone’s “great” list: avocados, nuts, olives & olive oil, flax, salmon, tuna, dark chocolate, eggs and seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin).
Mar 22 “Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.” @WorldDayofMetta
Mar 23 Those yellow bulges you see on both ends of a worm are cocoons, and they contain eggs. The worm wriggles them off into the soil, post coitus. The baby worms hatch a couple week later, tiny, but fully formed.
Mar 24: Earth Hour 2018: 8:30-9:30pm. Switch off your lights in solidarity with global efforts to protect our planet and its biodiversity. EarthHour.org
Mar 25 Why might you find new rocks in your garden every spring? Because soil freezes around the top of subsurface rocks first—then as it expands, it pulls the rocks upward. The loose, unfrozen soil around the base then fills in the cavity, so the rock remains in the new, higher position.
Mar 26 Yet another reason to exercise aerobically: It can lessen your risk of developing age-related cataracts and macular degeneration.
Mar 27 Rhubarb is delicious and nutritious; just remember to eat the stalks only, as the leaves are loaded with oxalic acid, which is hard on the kidneys. Avoid muting its tart taste with loads of sugar; instead, stevia or other fruit makes a safely sweeter sauce. Plant rhubarb starts now.
Mar 28 If you can safely reach your rain gutters this would be a good time to clean out the moldering leaves and gunk deposited over the winter.
Mar 29 Start planting beets, broccoli, Brussles sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes, spinach and turnips if the soil is dry enough
Mar 30 Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Germany, dancing and horse racing are prohibited today.
Mar 31 Full Pink Moon. So-called because it marked the appearance of a flower called the moss pink, or phlox. Sunrise: 7:12am. Sunset: 7:51pm. Today also commemorates the kind and fearless labor leader, Cesar Chavez.