By Brian Barth
Virtually all fruiting trees, shrubs and vines can be planted during their winter dormancy as long as the ground isn't frozen. But when it comes to smaller edibles — the sort that can fit in an average garden bed — the options are more limited. The following crops can not only survive being planted while dormant but also thrive.
Plant them as soon as the ground thaws in your area and deep freezes are no longer expected. They can go in the ground about a month before other garden vegetables because you'll be planting them as dormant roots. If you can't find these crops locally at this time of year, purchase them online from a mail-order supplier. It's best to cover them with a two-inch layer of straw mulch after planting to protect the roots in case of an unexpected late freeze. The first leaves will begin to poke through the mulch in early spring.
You can order dormant strawberry plants in winter for much cheaper than you can buy potted ones in spring. Simply bury the spidery roots and leave the leafless tops poking just above the soil. They will produce strawberries for two or three years before replanting is required.
Asparagus is rarely grown from seed and usually planted as dormant "crowns" — a gangly bunch of roots — in late winter. Plant the roots at the bottom of 10-inch-deep trenches, with the buds at the center of each crown pointed upward. Cover with a couple inches of soil, as well as mulch. In spring, remove the mulch and fill in the trenches as the spears grow skyward. They won't be big enough to harvest in the first year, but you won't have to repeat this laborious process again anytime soon because the planting will produce spears for over a decade.
Rhubarb roots look like an intertwined clump of brown carrots. Simply plant them in a shallow hole with the stems at the top, sticking out just above the ground. You can harvest the stems for five years or longer before the crop peters out and must be replanted.
Plant this white fleshy root an inch or two below the soil and it will quickly grow into a massive clump of horseradish. Once established, you can dig a portion of the roots from one side of the plant whenever needed. The clump will soon recover and continue to expand (horseradish can be somewhat invasive, so plant it in a pot or wherever it has room to spread). This perennial crop will produce indefinitely without replanting.
Cut store-bought potatoes into one- to two-inch chunks (choose organic ones because they aren't treated with growth inhibitors), with at least one "eye" on each. Plant them in a six- to eight-inch-deep trench, with the eye facing up. As with asparagus, fill in the soil as they grow. Potatoes are an annual crop that must be replanted each year.
Onions and Garlic
If you're growing these crops from seed, you must wait until spring. However, you'll have a much earlier harvest if you plant them as bulblets — often referred to as "sets" — in late winter. Plant them with the pointy tip even with the surface of the soil. These are annual crops.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.