April 9, 2016
Plant some brassicas. This means the cabbage family, not fancy underwear: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, and bok choi from transplants; turnips, rutabagas, and radishes from seeds. All these crops love cold soil and cool temperatures. They are, in turn, loved by certain bugs, and we'll talk about each of them in season. Right now, the offenders are aphids - the soft-bodied gray-blue blobs sucking the juices out of the nooks and crannies of your plants. If you find any ladybugs lurking elsewhere in the garden, pick them up gently and drop them off to eat at the aphid smorgasbord.
January 1, 2016 |
At the stroke of midnight Thursday, a 500-pound mushroom will fall from the Pennsylvania sky. So will a jumbo strawberry, an 85-pound Peeps chick, and a giant, edible hunk of bologna. Of course, as 2015 turns into 2016, that iconic ball in Times Square will drop as usual. And other spots will celebrate their own quirky drops - a peach for Georgia, cheese for Wisconsin. But by at least one count - the one touted by Pennsylvania officials - more objects are lowered or raised in the Keystone State to count down the arrival of the new year than in any other.
August 2, 2015 |
Grease may not be the word, after all, as Joe Ponessa, emeritus professor of housing, indoor environment, and health at Rutgers Cooperative Extension, sees it. Ponessa was responding to a recent column in which a reader reported what looked like "light grease stains on a portion of vinyl siding in the rear of the house. " The professor says: "If the 'grease stains' on siding are not slippery but in the form of small, hard black dots, they are most likely spores from artillery fungus.
April 22, 2014 |
They have voracious appetites. Each can devour more than 1,000 insects an hour, up to its entire body weight in a single night. They eat pests that damage farm crops and gobble up mosquitoes that can infect animals and humans with the West Nile virus. But cave and mine-dwelling bats are now themselves under attack by Geomyces destructans , a fungus causing white-nose syndrome. The disease has killed millions of bats across at least 25 states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, federal and state officials say. Some local populations - the most common species is little brown bats - have been reduced by 70 percent to 95 percent, and many caves and mines have been posted and even gated to prevent humans from disturbing or contaminating the places where they hibernate, called hibernacula.
April 9, 2013 |
It was a typically cold winter day when Greg Turner, a wildlife biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, unlocked the gate at the historic Durham Mine in upper Bucks County and stepped into the darkness. He expected things to be bad. And they were. The long-shuttered iron ore mine - an important site for bats - typically had about 8,000 of the mammals hibernating every winter. But in 2009, biologists discovered that white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats throughout the Northeast, had come to Durham Mine.
January 18, 2013 |
AN UPPER DARBY man lured a 12-year-old boy into his house, where he covered the child's feet with athlete's-foot spray, tickled them and then examined the boy as if he were a doctor, according to police. When Paul Simon Jamrozik, 63, was done, he made the boy promise to bring his friends along the next time so he could examine them, too, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. Instead, the boy told his dad, who called police. Jamrozik was charged with indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful restraint and luring.
December 18, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH - More than 99 percent of Pennsylvania's bats have died from white-nose syndrome, prompting state and federal authorities to consider listing several species as endangered. The state's timber, oil, and gas industries fear giving bats protected status would hurt business and lead to job loss. "I'm not sure that it can get much worse than what's already happened in Pennsylvania. The state has had more losses of bats than any other state in the country," said Katie Gillis, a biologist for Bat Conservation International in Austin, Texas.
August 7, 2012 |
The Wharton School teaches a lot about finance, less about fungus. Graham Phillips grew up in Philadelphia, collected several degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, including from Wharton, and started his professional life with a Wall Street firm. But Phillips grew plants indoors as a child and developed an entrepreneurial outlook as an adult. So after time in New York, Boston and Los Angeles, in July he moved his wife and two children to a 100-acre farm formerly owned by his grandparents in New Hope.
December 27, 2011
This is the story of Quorn. If you've never heard of it, check Whole Foods, Wegmans, or other grocers' freezers. The story begins in the 1960s. British scientists, worried that population growth would lead to global famine, searched for novel food sources. Sawdust and coal didn't pan out, but dirt did. A Bucking- hamshire soil mold was found to be a good - albeit microscopic - source of protein, according to Quorn's website. The discoverers figured out how to grow the fungus in fermenters, extract the protein, heat-treat it, mix it with an egg-based binder, and make it look and taste like meat.