Today, we marked Earth Day by exploring two topics that have grown in popularity during the pandemic: gardening and birding.

Last year, home gardening took off as people searched for ways to keep busy in lockdown.

Now the lockdown hobby is sticking around even as the state opens back up and more people get vaccinated.

Gardening groups noticed more interest in learning the craft starting last year, according to JoAnne Palmer of the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association.

Palmer said there are a few important tips to keep in mind for those looking to start their gardens back up this year or start gardening for the first time.. First, porch or deck gardens are much easier for beginners. Second, whether the garden is on a porch, in a raised bed or in the ground, the plants will need full sun and easy access to water. Third, start with easy-to-grow plants like tomatoes and herbs. Lastly, it doesn't hurt to invest in a water meter so you don't over water your plants.

Palmer said one of the Gardener Association's main missions is to help gardeners of all levels succeed by answering questions and providing advice.

We also heard from Ray Brown, host of the Talkin' Birds show and podcast. As the weather is warming up, migratory birds are starting to make their way back up to the region. Brown discussed which species he's most looking forward to seeing and hearing this year.

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full episode.


Ray Brown - 1:59
JoAnne Palmer - 15:05