Saturday, March 15, 2014

Podcast episode 4!

I'm talking plant scientific name changes -- why they happen, and why we should be glad they happen -- this week on the podcast. Check it out:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Links

I will have some real new things to post soon... but here are some of the cool things I've been reading on-line this week. (Let me know if you like these posts... I kinda have fun collecting things to share, but if you are totally bored, let me know)

Not garden related, AT ALL, but freakishly cool: The solar system to scale if the moon were one pixel.

This is a very inspiring video on the radical ways reintroducing wolves changes every aspect of an ecosystem.

And then... another, quite different take on the exact same subject from the amazing Emma Marris (her book The Rambunctious Garden is one of my favorites)

This is a cool announcement of an effort to sequence the DNA of soil microbes. Basically, this is just an announcement that they've figured out the technology to actually do this, but there should be some really fascinating data coming out of this soon, comparing the biology of soil which has been farmed to soil from a virgin prairie. Super exciting because soil is incredibly complex, notoriously hard to study, and of course fundamental to farming and gardening.

From Jessica Walliser over at Savvy Gardening, really terrific information on creating habitat for beneficial beetles in your garden. I love this because it goes beyond the usual advice to give you something very specific that has academic research behind it that will help you garden better with help from good insects.

And speaking of insects, this caught my eye, a new study found even higher levels of insect diversity in tropics than scientists had expected, and all thanks to incredibly complex relationships between flies and wasps.

Friday, March 7, 2014

What I've been reading elsewhere

Okay, so this first one is about stink bug spit, but it is pretty cool. These nasty pests need their specialized saliva in order to feed, so it might be possible to design a spray that would stop their spit from working without harming other insects. These invasive pests haven't really gotten to Michigan yet, at least not in a serious way, but they're moving fast and are NASTY. Hopefully we see practical results from this research soon, because we need a good, safe, way to control these insects.

This piece caught my eye because someone tweeted it, calling Monsanto 'sneaky' because they're doing conventional (non-GMO) breeding for traits like flavor in vegetables. I find that a little odd... Monsanto isn't anyone's idea of an admirable company, but I'm afraid I can only see big companies finally breeding for traits like flavor rather than just yield and shipping as a good thing. Related: Why does everyone hate Monsanto?

Slow motion of popcorn popping, the technical details of what is going on, AND super magnified images of what it actually looks like. I'm by way of becoming a total corn addict (link to corn blog) so... yeah.

Totally off topic of gardening, but I'm totally fascinated by this... archaeological evidence is telling us more every year about just how massive, complex, and advanced native American civilizations were before Europeans came along with small pox and devastated them, and this is some new research on that topic.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thrift store Wardian Case!

Stopped today at the thrift store on my way home from lunch with a friend, and saw this awesome well, I THINK it was originally supposed to be part of a lamp, but I'm totally going to turn it into a Wardian case/terrarium

 I can just see it full of teeny begonias and whatnot that like high humidity. Okay, so I haven't thought the plant material through yet. But I'm going to start shopping for cool, small things to go in this. Though I want to try and paint the gold parts black first, I think...

Monday, March 3, 2014

A garden without cats...

This is how I cope with the ANNOYING winter that won't die... reading Beverly Nichols and playing with photo editing software.