Spiders Scare Me, But I Also Find Them Fascinating

Spiders Scare Me, But I Also Find Them FascinatingEight schools in London have closed this month because of an infestation of spiders. The schools reported that they were concerned for the children’s well-being so they sent their pupils home – in one case for a whole month.

Wasps, Aphids And Ants And The Other Honey Makers

Wasps, Aphids And Ants And The Other Honey Makers
There are seven species of Apis honey bee in the world, all of them native to Asia, Europe and Africa. Apis mellifera, the western honey bee, is the species recognised globally as “the honey bee”. But it’s not the only insect that makes honey. Many other bee, ant and wasp species make and store honey. Many of these insects have been used as a natural sugar source for centuries by indigenous cultures around the world.

Do Butterflies Remember Being Caterpillars?

Do Butterflies Remember Being Caterpillars?It is highly unlikely that a butterfly or moth remembers being a caterpillar. However, it may well remember some experiences it learned as a caterpillar.

That fact in itself is especially amazing because inside the pupa (or chrysalis), the caterpillar actually turns to liquid as it transforms into a butterfly or moth (the adult stage).

Why You Can Smell Rain

Why You Can Smell Rain
When those first fat drops of summer rain fall to the hot, dry ground, have you ever noticed a distinctive odor? I have childhood memories of family members who were farmers describing how they could always “smell rain” right before a storm. Of course rain itself...

Are They Watching You? Bees And Wasps Can Recognize Your Face

Are They Watching You? Bees And Wasps Can Recognize Your FaceRecognizing faces is essential for how we interact in complex societies, and is often thought to be an ability that requires the sophistication of the large human brain. But new evidence we published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that insects such as the honeybee (Apis mellifera) and the European wasp (Vespula vulgaris) use visual processing mechanisms that are similar to humans’, which enables reliable face recognition.

The Language of Flowers for the New Prince

The Language of Flowers for the New Prince
While you may be familiar with your zodiac sign and maybe even the precious stone associated with the month of your birth, did you know that The Language of Flowers shares with us blossoms connected with not only the month, but also the day and even land of your birth?

Permaculture and the Myth of Scarcity

Permaculture and the Myth of Scarcity
When it is done properly, organic growing methods can deliver two to three times the yield of conventional methods. Of course if you take two fields and plant each with a monocrop, then the one without pesticides will do worse than the one with, but that isn't really what organic farming is.

How Healthy Soils Make For A Healthy Life

How Healthy Soils Make For A Healthy Life

The next time you bite into an apple, spare a thought for the soils that helped to produce it. Soils play a vital role, not just in an apple’s growth, but in our own health too. The Conversation

A Revolution Disguised As Organic Gardening

A Revolution Disguised As Organic GardeningIt is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Bill Mollison on Saturday, September 24 (1928-2016). He was one of the true pioneers of the modern environmental movement, not just in Australia but globally.

The Science Says Gardening Is Good For You

The Science Says Gardening Is Good For YouAs the weather warms and days lengthen, your attention may be turning to that forgotten patch of your backyard. This week we’ve asked our experts to share the science behind gardening. So grab a trowel and your green thumbs, and dig in.

Alleycat Acres Puts New Twist on Community Gardens

community gardens 8 16On a recent Monday evening in Seattle’s Central District, a handful of people gathered to work on a community farm. They pulled weeds, talked about the best ways to string up tomatoes, checked the progress of the greens and beans, harvested radishes and planted wildflowers.

Why Don't Plants Get Sunburn?

Why Don't Plants Get Sunburn?The one fact about plants that most people probably remember from school is that they use sunlight to make their own food. That process, photosynthesis, means that plants are dependent on sunlight.

How Your Garden Could Help Stop City Flooding

urban gardening1 5 14Urban flooding represents the most common yet severe environmental threat to cities and towns worldwide. Future changes in rainfall extremes are likely to increase this threat, even in areas that could become drier.

Organic Farming Techniques Are Closing Gap On Conventional Yields

Organic Farming Techniques Are Closing Gap On Conventional Yields

Some farmers have turned to less chemically-intensive techniques to reduce the negative impact of agriculture, such as organic farming, which has been shown to outperform conventional farming by many standards of environmental sustainability. The question is whether we can meet the demand for food, which is predicted to rise substantially in the next 50 years.

Preserving and Foraging: Depending on Nature for Food

Depending on Nature for Food: Preserving and ForagingLife, for foragers, can be more secure for the simple fact that they understand crop failures happen. Thus, we learn not to depend wholly on one type of food. The lovely thing about foraging is that there are always alternatives. In nature, there are usually plenty of options, and all of them are free.

Helping Plants Fight Off Pathogens By Enhancing Their Immune Systems

Helping Plants Fight Off Pathogens By Enhancing Their Immune SystemsMost people have never heard of Norman Borlaug. He is, thus far, the only agricultural scientist ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. His work in the development of high-yielding and disease-resistant cereal crops saved more than one billion (yes, billion) people from starvation.

Beyond Compost: 5 Ways to Get Your Soil Ready

The key to gardening is dirt. If you can grow good dirt now, you can grow good vegetables this spring. And you don’t have to run to the garden store to load up on boxes and bags of stuff to do it if you start early and think of it as a year-round project.The key to gardening is dirt. If you can grow good dirt now, you can grow good vegetables this spring. And you don’t have to run to the garden store to load up on boxes and bags of stuff to do it if you start early and think of it as a year-round project.

The Wonder of Worms In The Garden

The Wonder of Worms In The GardenThe key characteristic of the loving landscape is healthy, living soils which foster plant and animal health without artificial inputs. Compost, mulch and worms form the holy trinity of organic soil health.

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?

Urban Farming Is Booming, But What Does It Really Yield?Midway through spring, the nearly bare planting beds of Carolyn Leadley’s Rising Pheasant Farms, in the Poletown neighborhood of Detroit, barely foreshadow the cornucopian abundance to come. It will be many months before Leadley is selling produce from this one-fifth-acre plot.

Back to the Garden: Mulch, Mulch, and More Mulch

Back to the Garden: Mulch, Mulch, and More MulchBoth compost and mulch foster the life of the soil, and both are important components of the loving landscape. Sometimes they are confused for one another, but they are quite different animals.  Compost, which we talked about last week, is more nutrient rich than mulch. It’s full of life, and inoculates soil with that life.

Just What Does The Loving Landscape Look Like?

Just What Does The Loving Landscape Look Like?So, let’s say we want to play nice with the rest of nature. Let’s say we want public parks, yards and gardens which exist for more than show, spaces which support a diversity of life, steward our resources wisely and are a joy to the eye. We’ve got to change the existing lifeless paradigm of lawn and hedge and disposable annual flowers.

Can Planting Flowers Help Bees Fight Parasites?

Can Planting Flowers Help Bees Fight Parasites?A growing body of research suggests some animals may derive medicinal benefit from plant chemistry, and perhaps even seek out these chemicals when sick. Could naturally occurring plant chemicals in flowers be part of a solution to the worrying declines of wild and managed bees?

The Miracles Created by Nature (and Goats)

The Miracles Created by Nature (and Goats)The Posey homestead probably wouldn't strike most Americans as a vision of paradise. We lived on dunes dotted with creosote and mesquite bushes, cactus and yucca. Mostly, the land was bare sand. We had seven or eight inches of total precipitation a year...

The First Step of Foraging: Know What Grows Where

The First Step of Foraging: Know What Grows WhereWhen foraging, as with gardening, it is important to know what is available where one lives. The best way to forage is to simply get outside, slow down and walk around, listening and looking. This is really the only way to get to know an area, but when driving anywhere, we will...

New Wiki Will Help You Grow a Better Garden

New Wiki Will Help You Grow a Better Garden

Have you ever tried to grow your favorite summer vegetable or garden herb and something went wrong? Maybe it was poor planting, a disease, or a pesky insect. Maybe you need to troubleshoot problems or want definitive answers to questions like when to plant for your area or exactly when to fertilize.

A Pledge that Promises to Keep Seeds Free For All to Use

Photo courtesy USDA

For years, many of us have kept an eye out for organic and pesticide free vendors at our local farmers markets. Thanks to a new movement hitting the American food scene, we may soon be looking for another important environmental marker: open source seeds. At least, that is the goal of...

Beginning Foraging: Eating from the Wild and the Suburbs

Beginning Foraging: Eating from the Wild and the Suburbs

Once we decided to really make foraging a part of our life rather than just some summer-day hobby, like picking trail nibbles when on a hike, we became keenly aware of how little we really knew. We realized that there will always be more to learn about local plants and...

In Partnership with the Earth: Biodynamic Gardening

In Partnership with the Earth: 
Biodynamic GardeningBiodynamic farming offers us a way to both cherish the Earth and attend to the process of growing foods and raising animals properly. According to activist and CSA owner and educator Allan Balliett, biodynamic farming is “a spiritual approach to growing.” Biodynamic farmers “try to take into account all of the forces that affect plant growth and their nutritional value.”

Making Quality Compost: Ensure Your Garden is Nutritious

Making Quality Compost: Ensure Your Garden is Nutritious

The major lack in most home-garden compost is nitrogen. This deficiency almost always happens because the decomposition process doesn't go far enough. So when this pseudo-compost is mixed into soil, it does not release an abundance of plant nutrients...

Growing Some Conflict When You're Gardening?

Growing Some Conflict in the Garden?

Conflict in a garden is all too easy to generate. I remember planting a couple of Bauhinia galpinii shrubs in a garden bed near one of our car ports. When, after five years, it proved difficult to find the entrance to the car port...

The Garden as a Metaphor for Life

The Garden as a Metaphor for Life

I know a fair bit about a lot in the garden, most of it practical, but my great fascination is with the metaphysical aspect, that forever-unfolding energy of life expressing in the garden. For me, a garden is a place to connect with Nature, life, and living...

One Man Transforms 1360 Acres into a Lush Forest

One Man Turns 1360 acres in a forest

The Power of One: One man in India transformed 1,360-acres (approx. 2 square miles) of barren sand into a lush jungle which harbors not only birds, butterflies, and miscellaneous flora, also provides a home for rhinos, tigers and elephants.

Sweet Basil: Things You Need to Know About This Herb

Sweet Basil - Everything You Need To Know

Sweet basil’s many herbal uses include culinary, landscaping, medicinal, and spiritual, and the essential oil can be found in fragrances and insect repellents. Cultivated largely as a culinary herb and often associated with Italian cuisine, basil is excellent in tomato-based dishes. It is also used cooked or raw in...

Growing Community with Community Gardens

Growing Community with Community Gardens by Peter Ladner

One of my first awakenings to the myriad benefits of community gardens was when the community police officer in a troubled neighborhood in Vancouver helped get one started. She wanted a project for the homeless people hanging around the neighborhood. They embraced it eagerly...

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